Monday Morning Brief: Is it ‘Proof’ or ‘proof’?

Coin World’s editor-at-large Steve Roach taught a class on numismatic writing and publications at the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar and he chatted with one of his students, Paige Dannreuther. Paige is helping with research for a series of books on Proof coins from the U.S. Mint written by her father, PCGS co-founder John Dannreuther. Here, Paige gives some pointers on editing and answers the burning question: Do you capitalize “Proof” (and do you need an exclamation point?).

Full video transcript:

Steve Roach: Hey Coin World readers, it's Steve Roach, editor at large. I'm here at the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs, where I've been teaching a week-long class helping people become better coin writers.

And here I am with Paige Dannreuther. Now Paige is one of the superstars in my class and she's going to talk a little bit about coin writing. Paige, what are you working on for your project?

Paige Dannreuther: Well right now I'm doing a lot of research for my dad's book which is [about] Proof gold coins, all U.S. gold coins from 1793 to 1916 and all of the varieties that are included in there. There's a lot of technical research involved that would bore a lot people. 

SR: That's a massive book. It's going to be four volumes, right?

PD: Yes. The gold is one volume, which is going to be about 700 pages, and then there's silver, copper and nickel.

SR: What's been the trickiest part of putting a book project like that together?

PD: Not enough pictures and examples of coins that I need — coins that are too rare and I cannot access the coins that I need for my research. That's been very frustrating. 

SR: Now, if someone's looking to take a technical topic like Proof coins and make it accessible — understandable — to readers, what would be one hint that you would give that person?

PD: To explain why Proof coins matter; why people want to collect them. You could explain that pretty easily to most people. 

SR: Now one debate we've had in our class is whether or not you should capitalize "Proof," like Proof with a capital "P," or a lower-case "P" for "Proof." What do you think? Where do you stand on that?

PD: It has been capitalized when talking about specific coins, and I think we should stick with that. Then obviously, if you're saying the whole set or series of Proof coins, there are places where it can be lower-case when you're talking about multiple coins. When you're talking about a specfiic coin, I think it should be capital.

SR: And I think there should be an exclamation point, so it's Proof! Because Proof coins are awesome. Thanks for watching everyone. Bye bye.

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