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Monday, March 15, 2010

What is a Pathtag and What is a Geocoin?

There are two different types of "coins" that can be found in the geocaching world.
Note, I am not including personally made, wooden or other signature coins in this discussion.

These coins are very popular and work slightly different from each other. They are Pathtags and Geocoins.


Pathtags are about the size of a dime and have a hole in them. The front is a very customizable enamel face which can hold a lot of detail and colors. On the back is an ID number that can be logged at the Pathtags website http://www.pathtags.com.

Pathtags are affordable trade items that are meant to be kept in a geocachers personal collection. In other words you can keep them. Unlike geocoins that are the property of individuals and move from one geocache to the next.

To design your own pathtag you go to the pathtag website and for about $99.00US get one of their starter kits. When complete you receive 50 pathtags to start trading. That's about $2.00US a pathtag. After that you may refill your pathtags for about $1.00US each. They are not as expensive because they already have your design on file.

Once you start trading there is a complete trading manager that takes over for you where people can ask if you want to trade pathtags and who sent what to whom. A world map is also available so you can see roughly where your pathtags are in other collectors possession.


Geocoins to me are the "shiny objects" that first put the word treasure in geocaching "treasure hunts". They range in size from about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. The first time I found a geocoin my eyes got wide and the feel of a well made geocoin made me drool just holding it. Then when I found out that you could track it on geocaching.com and actually see all the places it has been I was hooked.

Now the big difference between pathtags and geocoins is that geocoins is someone else's property. They are not meant to be kept but instead move from one geocache to the next. As heartbreaking as it is to find some you would really like to keep for yourself they are to roam free on the geocaching game-board.

Geocoin Personal Collections

Now can you have a personal geocoin collection? Sure you can but you have to either buy them from one of the many geocoin stores on the internet or trade them with other goecachers. I usually do that when attending geocaching events. The cost of a geocoin can range from about $8.00USD and up. There are a couple in my collection I paid $30.00USD at an auction. It's all about how much a geocoin is worth to you.

So can you make your own geocoins to sell and or trade? Sure, there are several companies out there that will make a geocoin that you designed but don't get sticker shock when you see the final price. Depending on the quality and weight of the geocoin itself and the minimal amount that needs to be made for an order you can be looking at some big time financial commitment $$$

To sum things up I have found that pathtags have become the best bang for the buck when it comes to personal trading items for geocachers. They are less expensive to create and fit many a geocacher's budget. Geocoins on the otherhand are the wandering nomads and the kings of the geocaching coin. They are prized when shown in collections and bring that amazing "wow" factor when found and released.

The choice of what works best with these treasures is of course entirely up to you. My advice is to take your time designing them to exactly what you want because you will be investing some of your hard earned cash in their making.

GeoCache: I'm NOT Obsessed... Right?
Twitter me at @headhardhat

Please don't forget to visit our GeoSnippits Geocaching Tutorial Videos Website at http://www.geosnippits.com


Dale Sutton said...

This was a VERY helpful post for a new geocacher. Thank you!

Ralph said...

I agree... Very helpful. Thanks for taking time to explain it.

Anonymous said...

very interesting, just found a path tag for the first time and was curious as to what to do with it, thanks :)