Naturally, we all want to see what our coins actually look like, but that only happens under controlled light, reflection, contrast and color saturation, and that's almost never in the palm of my hand. To better illustrate my viewpoint, I have put together a few images below, taken within 10 minutes of each other, to show the differences. All the images are of the same coin, a 1797, 2 pence coin, commonly known as a Cartwheel. It’s a heavy coin with an interesting backstory. Check it out if you don’t already know about it. For reference, the first image is the coin scanned on an Epson scanner at 300 ppi. It’s scanned at real size. This scanner will scan bank notes with fantastic clarity and color, but for coins, the flat frontal light makes this about as sad an image as you can get. The next shot is the same coin in hand, under a daylight balanced, diffused light, shot with my iPhone. Glare and high contrast. Uneven saturation. Suppressed tonality. I can turn it in any direction and it looks the same. This is how this coin looks in hand. I don't want to use that as my bench mark. Below is the same coin photographed in studio. My lighting set up uses the same light as both side light for the texture, and front light for even illumination. Happily, it looks nothing like the coin in hand. I positioned the coin in my setup so the side light falls from the "sky" onto the face for highlights, relief and texture, and turned the glass plate a few degrees in the opposite direction to illuminate the coin itself. You can't do this "in hand". Now, this is what the coin looks like when you can see all of it at once. Some of you might be screaming this is Photoshopped!, but I've done nothing more than shine light in the right places when I took the shot. This is what it looks like, and if I were to try to tweak this image to look like the one in hand, I'm not doing this coin any justice. Finally, to make the image more presentable to me, I added a textured background and deep drop shadow to give it depth and dimension. You'll notice the colors in the coin below seem more intense here. It's the same coin image as above, but the larger crop, added dimension and complimentary background makes the coin stand out. So, is striving for the “in hand” look a good idea? Personally, I don’t think it usually is, but I’d like to hear from others. Let's dig down into this. What aspects of the "in hand" look do you try to capture? What does it mean to you? Post your “in hand” comparison shots and show me what you're thinking.