Vintage coins come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and conditions. The method of photography depends on the desired result. For catalog and online sales, a photo should represent the coin accurately.
Vintage coins will show wear in many ways, and capturing the fine detail requires skillful lighting and photography. Showing a coin in its best light is not always the best approach, especially when the coin is potentially to be sold to a discerning clientele.
This 1964 Kennedy half-dollar shows some tarnishing, indicative of the high silver content. Getting the correct color of a coin's metal and patina requires a high level of control over the lighting and the imaging workflow. Color-reference targets are used to calibrate the camera and software for true-to-life color-rendition. This only works, however, with proper control over color temperature throughout the photographic process.