Help me find a Mint!
August 24, 2009 4:26 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone help me find a place to make my own "play" gold & silver coins for a Live RPG?

I am a member of a Live Fantasy RPG that uses fake coins (fake gold and silver, in varying sizes for varying denominations) as treasure. We've been purchasing them online, but have several issues: 1) Some of the coin is missing due to attrition (lost, player never came back, etc.), needing we need to purchase more to send out as treasure; 2) the gold coloring is rubbing off the coins, resulting in them becoming silver in appearance; and 3) with the sudden popularity of pirates, the specific kind of coins we're using are becoming very easy to find online, and people are cheating by buying them online themselves, and bringing them into the game.

I'd ideally like to find a way to mint my own coins in fake gold and silver, with my own emblem on them, as cheaply and economically as possible. I googled custom coins, but came up with commemorative coins that would be at least $1 a pop, which is WAY too expensive. Any advice or leads would be appreciated!
posted by GJSchaller to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Custom is probably going to be too expensive. Maybe you could find a better way to officially mark them with your own seal - like a sticker only you can print, or some other way of making sure every coin has passed through the official mint handler. Maybe have serial numbers and incorporate forgery inspectors into the game or something.

Also, you should definitely try to keep track of all transactions in your lrpg - these microeconomies that people create are fascinating
posted by Think_Long at 4:33 PM on August 24, 2009

Maybe this is too crafty and rustic and, well, fake, but what about wooden or metal discs? Spray paint them gold or silver, then add denomination as desired. You could perhaps get a custom stamp made for the obverse/reverse, or carve your own.
posted by Janta at 4:39 PM on August 24, 2009

Response by poster: Sadly, keeping track of the transactions 200 people in the woods is not going to happen, especially when a thief picks someone's pockets at 3:00 AM... ;-)

One of the major goals we also have is making them look good. We used to use casino coins, but they were... casino coins, and blatantly so. Plastic, and you could tell. When we began to get in the metal ones that replaced them, they looked much better, and they FELT better, meaning you felt like you just found a gold coin on that slain goblin, not something from Atlantic City. This had major appeal to our players / customers. The more "realistic" / In-Game they look, the better.
posted by GJSchaller at 4:42 PM on August 24, 2009

Have you tried reaching out to your players and asking them if the know anyone that could help with the design / melting / casting, etc. that goes into this sort of thing? It sounds like you have enough people that someone will know somebody or be interested in taking up the challenge themselves.

Maybe throw in some incentives and/or make it a good way for someone to get into a new hobby.
posted by june made him a gemini at 5:00 PM on August 24, 2009

How much cheaper than a dollar per do you need? And how many of them? Places like Osborne Coins will get your prices down to half that if you're buying them 10K at a time.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:06 PM on August 24, 2009

What about arcade tokens?

I did a Google search for "arcade tokens" and found a couple of places that do shiny gold or silver metal coins for significantly less than $1 each, and offer custom artwork. One place had a few generic styles ("parking", "laundromat", etc) for $0.13/each in quantites of 1000. I didn't do enough clicking to see if this pricing is cheap/expensive/typical for this sort of thing, or how much more they charge for custom art, but it is clearly a lot cheaper than the commemorative coins you were looking at, so probably worth your time to investigate.
posted by Anoplura at 5:16 PM on August 24, 2009

Response by poster: Arcade Tokens is a good lead, thank you.

As an example of what we are currently using (and why we need to make our own):
posted by GJSchaller at 5:20 PM on August 24, 2009

Best answer: Both much less than $1/ea:
Tokens Direct
Custom Tokens
posted by Joannalaine at 5:23 PM on August 24, 2009

We use pachislo tokens in our LARP. Sometimes you can find bags on Ebay marked with dragons, or other larping appropriate symbols. I think we paid $50 for about 500.
posted by deadtrouble at 5:34 PM on August 24, 2009

Response by poster: I was about to post that I saw Tokens Direct, but Joannalaine beat me to it. They do brass and custom dies, which looks like it'll do what we're looking for.

Thank you for all the help!
posted by GJSchaller at 5:34 PM on August 24, 2009

Some time ago, we helped a friend make some tokens for a group he's part of. We engraved a (negative) of what they wanted on both sides of the token into two pieces of soapstone, along with a small channel and funnel shape to pour the metal through, and added a couple of alignment pins to keep it registered correctly. He took it home, rubber-banded the halves together, and poured it full of whatever passes as pewter these days (i.e. no lead) that he melted over the stove. The coins were beautiful; all he had to do was snap off the sprue and they were good to go. I think he said he made several hundred in a few days. We used a small CNC machine to engrave the molds, but you could also do it by hand with simple carving tools; soapstone is very soft. You might consider something like that. I don't know if there's something you can add to pewter to color it gold, or if there's a similar low-melting-point metal that's gold or brass colored, but it's something to consider.
posted by Death by Ugabooga at 7:19 PM on August 26, 2009

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