I’m using a scanner to catalog my coins, and I’ve found that it gives quick and consistent results. The jury is still out though – would my camera give better results? I’ve had some problems with slabbed coins though, so you may want to compare your scan results to photographic results.
Here are some tips to improve your scan results:
1) Use the highest quality setting you can (ie; 1200 DPI instead of 200 DPI).
2) Resize the images to a smaller size before sharing them. This tends to magnify the apparent detail, and it also cuts down on server space use and reduces page load times. I’ve resized my photos to 450 pixels wide, but I have copies of the original scans available on request.
3) Clean the scanner bed. Any dust will show up as noise on the resulting image (or, worse, look like damage to the coin surface). Be careful to use non-abrasive cloth and avoid scratching the scanner surface for the same reason.
4) Use a dark background, perhaps even a complimentary color. Depending on the scanner, this helps calibrate the lens and results in a proper depth focus.