LESS KNOWLEDGEABLE people call press releases “free publicity.” But they are not free, of course, because preparing a good one is time consuming. A better term would be “controlled publicity,” as you can control what is said about your products and services in the media.
Medallic Art Company is extremely fortunate to have its publicity so readily popular. For three reasons.
- New medal issues are newsworthy. The first issue of a new medal is a legitimate news item.
- A large base of medal collectors, and an even larger population of numismatists are interested in the news, since medals fall within the overall collecting classification of numismatics. This is despite the fact that the majority of those numismatists are interested in coins only.
- A moderate number of specialized numismatic publications are easy to reach and their editors look favorably on Medallic Art, which has a reputation that has taken years to build and an active effort to maintain. I will append a list of these publications and their contact data at the end of this report.
Publicity is not advertising. Publicity is pictures and text. You do not pay to have it published in any media. But you must provide the editor with an appealing and acceptable release. The editor is the gate-keeper and you must meet his approval to get published.
In an advertisement you can say pretty much what you wish to sell your produce or service. It can be hard sell. Publicity is not intended to be such hard sell, but rather facts about an event, a newsworthy event. So tone down the exaggerated claims.
In the old days a release included a black-and-white photo with a one or two pages of copy. Today the photo should be in color. In the old days the photo and release were sent by mail. Today they are sent by email. The length is however long it takes to tell the complete story.
So imagine the editor at work. His inbox is full every morning. Make your press release shine to stand out. Sharp, colorful, professional photos should accompany carefully written text. Begin with a good first paragraph with supplemental points in the paragraphs that follow. Use short, punchy sentences with good grammar — no rambling paragraphs.
If you can, be aware of his deadlines. Try not to send your release at the last minute before he goes to press. Often – when he has the time – he can come up with some creative way of treating your story, perhaps you didn’t even think of. But he can’t do this on deadline day.
Here are some tips for your text. Use numismatic terms in describing a medal. Use obverse and reverse, not front and back. Don’t say reverse side, that’s redundant.
Lettering has a name for where it is located. Call it legend when it follows the perimeter around the curve of the edge. All other lettering is inscription. Edge lettering, obviously, occurs on the edge.
The device is the main design element. Any additional design elements, are called subsidiary devices. The area at the bottom of a circular item between the edge and any device or line across is called the exergue.
Border, edge and rim are often confused. Border is the design element framing the design. Edge is the third side, the thickness of the medal.
Rim is the outermost element of the border. I don’t want to get technical, but right at the rim-edge juncture.
The design is formed by the rise and fall of relief. Please use a term I coined: modulated relief. The sculptural term is bas-relief (the “S” is silent, pronounced BAA-releaf).
A numismatist would call the area on the face of a medal not occupied by the device as the field, the designer calls it background, an engraver calls it the table or matrix. Which term to use depends upon who you are talking to.
Now for taboo words.
These words are legitimate for everyday use, but not in a news release. The list is short.
Unique. In numismatics this means one only, period. Do not use it for an exclusive feature.
Brass. Do not use this unless the item is in brassy-gold color. Most of our medals are brown, they are bronze. Use that. (I know the difference is a tiny bit extra copper in the formulation, but the color makes the difference.) Brass sounds cheap, bronze is more éclat.
Medallic Arts. No “s” is used in the name Medallic Art Company. The Art is singular as is “medallic art” and “Medallic Art.” The use of the plural was a serious problem when the firm was located in New York. Another firm – Metal Arts – also made medals and was located in Rochester (active 1919-1980). We were often confused with that firm. They are no longer in the metal business, or medal making, so it is less of a problem now. But my habit of not using the term “Medallic Arts” is deeply entrenched in my mind. It is still necessary, however, for describing medals of the past to use precise names. Still, it would be best not to use the plural – or the possessive “Medallic Art’s” – in press releases.
Rev. Would you believe “Rev.” for Reverend, a Protestant minister, was once confused with “rev.” for a numismatic reverse. Okay, forget using this abreviation.
Pr. This abbreviation should always be spelled out as Proof in numismatics. It has been confused with the condition at the opposite extreme, “poor.”
Insight on the publications.
Coin World. Has a new editor, Steve Roach, less than a year on the job. His administration has launched a plan of a once-a-month super issue covering all phases of the field, with regular size issues the other weeks of the month.
I was the founding editor of Coin World, and it has survived now in its 53rd year. On their 50th anniversary they did an article on this founding and the early years. But this does not mean I have any influence over anyone else. My articles or releases are judged just as any other.
Coin World started in tabloid newspaper format, printed at a daily newspaper’s in-house newspaper press. Over the years it has morphed into a magazine size and format, now printed on specialized presses in full color. Your release will be delegated to a staff writer who will rewrite your article to their standards and requirements.
Numismatic News. I have lost the argument with the editors of Numismatic News. They believe in departmentalizing their articles. Medal news is placed under the banner of Exonumia (which I feel is more for token-like medals – not art medals). However, they will run your article pretty much without any rewriting. NN is but one periodical among forty collectors’ publications and books, now owned by F+W Media, Inc.
The Numismatist. Magazine format now in its 125th year. Members of the nation organization (ANA) can receive either the print version or the internet version. Pays for articles and photos, which are well edited, but obviously no payment for news releases.
TAMS Journal. Also has a new editor in Fred Reed, who is breathing life into a formerly staid publication. Welcomes new releases on new medals.
MCA Advisory. For medal collectors only, with a small but enthusiastic readership.
The other numismatic publications are somewhat specialized including AMSA Members Exchange for medallic sculptors, JOMSA for military medal collectors, and The Clarion, edited by a collector with strong medal interests.
Other media for publicity. Occasional releases can be sent, when appropriate, to the metal trade publications, or local press in areas where plants or offices are located. Use a little imagination and thinking to answer the question: Who else would like to know about this medal event?
Numismatic Press Release List For Medal News
Compiled by D. WAYNE JOHNSON, Medallic Art Corporate Historian
Coin World weekly news magazine
Steve Roach, Editor
911 Vandermak Road
Sidney, OH 45367
Phone: (937) 498-0800
Fax: (888) 304-8388
Numismatic News weekly newspaper
David C. Harper, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
700 East State Street
Iola, WI 54990
Phone: (715) 445-2214
Fax: (714) 445-4087
The Numismatist monthly magazine
American Numismatic Association
Barbara Gregory, Editor
818 N. Cascade Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80903-3279
Phone: (719) 632-2646
Fax: (719) 634-4085
TAMS Journal six issues a year magazine
Fred Reed, Editor
Token And Medal Society
5030 North May Avenue #254
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
MCA Advisory monthly newsletter
John Adams, Editor
Medal Collectors of America
162 Farm Street
Dover, MA 02030
Phone: (508) 785-1014
ANS Magazine three issues a year magazine
Ute Wartenberg-Kagan, Editor
American Numismatic Society
96 Fulton Street
New York, NY 10038
Phone: (212) 571-4470 x 110
Fax: (212) 571-4479
Coinage Magazine monthly news stand magazine
P.O. Box 6925
Ventura, CA 93006-9899
Phone: (805) 644-3824 x 122
American Medallic Sculpture Society
AMSA Members Exchange quarterly newsletter
P.O. Box 6626
Kamuela, Hawaii 96743
For Print Newsletter:
Andrew Perala, Editor
For Email Distribution: As needed
Anne-Lise Deering email@example.com
P.O. Box 1201
Edmonds, WA 98020
Phone: (206) 542-0608
E-Sylum weekly on internet
Wayne Homren, Editor
21288 Arcadia Court
Ashburn, VA 20147
Phone: (703) 729-9786
JOMSA six issues a year magazine
Richard A. Flory, Editor
Orders and Medals Society military medals only
P.O. Box 120
Chino, CA 95927-0120
Phone: (530) 345-0824
The Clarion three issues a year magazine
Richard C. Jewell, Editor
Pennsylvania Assn of Numismatists
2543 Glenwood Drive
Wexford, PA 15090
Phone: (412) 877-0318
Book and Internet Listings
Private Mint issues are listed as “Unusual World Coins” by KP Publications in book form by that name updated every 3 years.
Internet subscribers to NumisMaster:
George Cuhaj, New Issue Editor
Unusual World Coins constantly updated
70 East State Street
Iola, WI 54990-0001
Phone: (715) 445- 2214
Supply: Photo with data: size, weight, composition, quantity struck, mint, mintmark, artist, price (if for sale).
All medallic and related items, both cast and diestruck are listed in
Dick Johnson’s Databank:
[To go online early 2013.]
Dick Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Databank Editor constantly updated
139 Thompson Drive
Torrington, CT 06790-6646
Phone: (360) 482-1103
Supply: Name of item, year first issued, artist (s) names, catalog or identification number (if any); additional information if award medal, or any special feature.