Friday, July 8, 2011

When the ICE age started

The reason why I base this posting on content published earlier by another blog author, is that I felt this topic was important for scripophily collectors.

Vignette on the 100 Francs share of the
Usines et Visseries de Haren

Before the ICE age
I used to spend a lot of time in assembling a decent image from the separate scans made of the parts of large certificates. Summarized, this was my procedure for large certificates :
  1. Scan the upper half, sufficiently overlapping with the other half (1 - 3 cm).
  2. Similar, scan the lower half.
  3. With an Image Manipulation Program (IMP), crop the upper half so that the lower blurry border, is cut away. The blur appears in the generated image because that side of the certificate reaches beyond the scan surface.
  4. Straighten the upper half and save the image file.
  5. Similar, crop the lower half, so that the upper blurry border is cut away.
  6. Straigthen the lower half and save the image file.
  7. Import both cropped and straightened halves into the IMP.
  8. Align both halves, so they make up a nice whole again. This is a very accurate and time-consuming part of the procedure.
  9. Crop, sharpen, ... the final result and save.

When the ICE age started, things were never the same again.
ICE is a brilliant image stitching program that was probably designed for stitching together landscape photographs into landscape panoramas. But it also works great for stitching together the separately scanned parts of large shares and bonds.

My large certificate procedure now looks like this when using ICE:
  1. Scan the upper half, sufficiently overlapping with the other half.
  2. Similar, scan the lower half.
  3. Drop the set of images into ICE and save. You can even enable the creation of a thumbnail image.
  4. Crop, sharpen, ... the final result with an IMP and save.
Wow ! The stitching operation is accomplished in a few seconds.

Check this out on the Coxrail blog !
Working with ICE is straightforward. The software is free but there is a little software setup involved.
You can read all about it on the Coxrail blog, see here. Terry, a great  find ! Thank you.

Give it a try. You'll have no more excuses for not scanning your large ceriticates.

Usines et Visseries de Haren
Share of 100 Francs
Issued 1899, Haren, Belgium

(click to enlarge image)

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