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Frank Baxley

Frank Baxley aka Sir Frank - Master of the Mint - worked for Shroud of the Avatar (SotA) and created some remarkable SotA-related coins. Because of the overlap between the game lore of SotA and Ultima, Frank is also very well known among Ultima fans. All coins created by him are of exquisite quality and popular collector's items.

Frank Baxley was kind enough to write the following article for my homepage. Thank you, Sir Frank.

Sir Frank Baxley
Sir Frank Baxley

The idea of challenge coins for SotA came from two places. In the military, challenge coins are common to represent organizations, bases, and deployments. In the civilian world, I work for a company that makes GPS devices. Geocaching is a popular hobby that uses GPS, and Lord British is a fan of geocaching. It is common to use coins and metal tags as rewards for finding geocaches, so it occurred to me to make SotA coins and put them in geocaches to promote the game.

I contacted Richard 'Lord British' Garriott to ask permission and he was enthusiastic with his support. He asked Stephen Daniele to help me with artwork, so honestly, the design of the first coin was Stephen's work. It featured the SotA logo with runic around the rim on one side, and on the reverse it features the game name in English. The founders edition of the coin was nearly the same, but with Founders Edition replacing Forsaken Virtures on the reverse. The coins I had made were all 3 mm thick and were made of brass. Portalarium coins were thinner and made of the cheaper and lighter metal zinc.

The process was fairly easy. There are many companies that make custom coins. I just shopped on the internet for a good price and turn-around time. There were troubles with the first few coins I had made, so I tried several suppliers until I found a reliable source. When I received the coins, I realized I didn't have a way to get them into geocaches around the country, so I sent them to Portalarium and they sold them on their website.

To order coins, artwork is needed. I use a free program called Inkscape which allows me to draw a coin, add text, and scale the drawing to a good size for the coin manufacturer. They usually want 300 dpi or better. I typically use 600 dpi.

Sir Frank Baxley
Sir Frank Baxley

Sometimes I wanted to feature objects from the game, and in those cases I took a screenshot of the object and sent it to the coin manufacturer and asked if they could put it on a coin. Most manufacturers have an art department that can help, so that's how I was able to use the Oracle Confirmatory, Scotties face, and other 3D images on coins. If the drawing was simple, such as on the Lum coin, I just did that myself. I traced the shepherd from the virtue cards that came with Ultima IX, in other words, I stole it ;-)

Then, after I had coins made, I sent a few to Lord British, and he was delighted. He finally just told me I could do whatever I wanted and he would support it, since it was clear I was trying to promote the game and was using good judgement.

So, just a brief line or two about the blue and gold coin. The front of the coin is the same logo from the original coin. The reverse features a logo that is meant to represent the game community. The logo was drawn by Scott Jones for a cloak in the game that was awarded for community events, so I used the same symbol for a community coin in real life. I first made a community coin that was black and silver. The blue and gold version was made as a trinket for people who attended the SotA convention in Austin.

The pictures of Sir Frank shown here were taken by Edward Vitralis aka Rustic Dragon.