January 2008

Tsunrisebey, a Helena geocacher, has been geocaching since December 2006, but her reputation as a geocacher extends beyond the Prickly Pear Valley, she is one of today's top geocoin designers. Her coins, tags and tokens have traveled to nearly every continent on earth and are spoken of with respect and honor by every serious geocoin collector.

As of this posting, Tsun has designed and produced nine geocoins, which she has offered either through her website, or on various forums, and all of which are very sought after. Many of her coins sell on ebay for twice or triple the price of many other geocoins. The reason being, they are beautiful pieces of art, with exquisite detail, subtle symbolism, and wonderful eye-catching colors. They are a joy to own, and even more exciting to find while caching. Tsunrisebey has raised the bar on current geocoin designs, and excellence, leading the way for many other geocachers to follow, yet she continues to stand in a class of her own. Now, in her own words, a little bit more about the lady behind the coins.

"How did you get involved with geocaching?"
I got involved in geocaching when I saw a newspaper article in the Helena Independent Record. I had done a little research and thought it looked like fun. I actually didn't start caching right away, it was about six months after reading the article that I heard a friend talking about caching, so I started asking questions. The next day I had an eTrex Legend CX in hand and was out looking for my first cache.

"Can you explain your geoname?"
My caching name come from a horse I used to have. He was an Arabian. His registered name was T SUNRISE BEY, but his nickname was Max; figured I'd go with tsunrisebey beause it was unique and I knew no one would have that id.

"You are a pretty well-known name in the geocoin community, what was the first geocoin that you designed, and why? Was it a personal signature item, or were you looking to create an item to trade for other geocoins?"
My first design was actually a 'geotoken' called the Petroglyph Series. I gave most of them away to both US and International cachers; the only requirement being that the tokens had to be place in caches. I handmade and painted each one individually, boy was that a long project, but they were really well received. It didn't take long before I knew I had to have my own geocoin. Since I wasn't sure how things worked in the beginning, I had a graphic artist help me put my ideas together. The coin, "Raiders of the Lost Cache - Staff of Ra," was based on the Indiana Jones movie series. I had to glue all the gems onto the geocoins myself. Having my own geocoin gave me the opportunity to start trading within the geocoin community. That coin was done because I love the Indiana Jones movies; I'm close to having a degree, with Anthropolgy as a minor, and I've always loved adventure. One of my dreams is to go on an archaeological dig in Egypt. So the my personal geocoin was representative of those things.

"Can you give a complete list of all the geocoins that you've designed and have had produced?"
Wow, in order they would be: tsunrisebey geotag, tsunrisebey Raiders of the Lost Cache (these two I used a graphic artist to put my ideas to mint artwork). All the rest I have hand-drawn; Whale-Trail, Belize ToucanEarth TurtleNotorious GeocacherLilypad CacheTatanka Pejulaand the Rainforest Jewel.

"What has been your personal favorite design so far?"
That is a really tough question because each design represents something personal that I either experienced or is part of my lifestyle. I think the most meaningful coin is the Tatanka Pejula which means Buffalo Medicine in Lakota. The reverse side states, 'le mita cola' which means 'my friend.' It is a very simple design, but it was done with the purpose of being gifted to our caching and noncaching friends. The white buffalo is very meaningful and powerful on so many different levels."

"A little birdie has whispered that there's a Helena Geocoin in the works; possibly due out sometime early summer 2008?"
Well that bird sings a true tune. I have the design done, and this past fall (2007), I worked with Jamie of Madhatters on it. To make a long story short, with the upcoming release of the 1st Montana Geocoin, I put this coin on the back burner so there wouldn't be a conflict of interest. I hope to have it available some time in the later part of this year (2008).

"For those geocachers who are considering creating their own geocoin, do you have any tips or advise on what to do, and what to avoid doing during the production process?"
Having a geocoin produced is a costly expenditure, especially if you want it to be trackable. I think some people get lost in the excitement and don't worry about the final cost until it's too late. I would say, take your time, ask a lot of questions and develope a clear idea of what you would like on your geocoin. I'm always happy to point people in the right direction and answer questions. I'd love to see more Montana cachers have geocoins made.

"Do you collect other geocoins? What is your favorite or most prized geocoin you own?"
I do collect geocoins, and have amassed quite a large collection, considering the short time I've been involved. I have around 400 geocoins, with many more that I am wanting to get, LOL. My most prized geocoin? Well, I would have to say all of the Mystery Coins I've received. These coins have either been dropped in geocaches or mailed-out anonymously. Most geocachers, and geocoin collectors alike, have no idea who produced the coins; they just show up mysteriously and no one takes credit for making them. Geocoin collectors love these coins. I have about seven Mystery Coins and I love them all, I would never trade or sell them."

"One last question - non-geocoin related, we all know that every geocache is everyone's favorite, but what type of geocache is your LEAST favorite?"
I don't like those tiny nano-caches, you can't put geocoins in them :)

Thanks for sharing Tsun, I know there are many geocachers out there that really enjoy your geocoins -- either finding them in caches, moving them along, or just adding them to their collection. You are a true Montana Geocachers favorite; keep up the great work!


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