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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Other Types of Ancient Coins (Moderators: Bacchus, crawforde)  |  Topic: Northern Song Gorny Variations 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Northern Song Gorny Variations  (Read 153 times)
Stkp
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« on: January 09, 2021, 10:41:44 am »

Back in 2011 I posted a Northern Song 1 cash 祥符元寳 Xiang Fu Yuan Bao (ordinary script), cast 1008-1016, to my gallery:
https://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-71186

I recently acquired Norman Gorny's Northern Song Dynasty Cash Variety Guide (2016), and revisited that coin as well as my "extra" coins of the type. As far as I can discern, I have four varieties. The distinctions are difficult to discern and match to the catalog. I am posting all four coins.

Does anybody have experience working with Gorny? I aspire to go through all of my Northern Song coins with reference to this book, albeit slowly.

Stkp


* NS H.16.52 Xiang Fu G.07.3 Zeno # 265949.jpg (111.28 KB, 945x472 - viewed 8 times.)

* NS H.16.52 Xiang Fu G.07.7 Zeno # 265950.JPG (95.37 KB, 857x444 - viewed 8 times.)

* NS H.16.52 Xiang Fu G.07.9 Zeno # 265951.jpg (108.1 KB, 938x473 - viewed 8 times.)

* NS H.16.52 Xiang Fu G.07.12 Zeno # 265948.jpg (121.37 KB, 941x480 - viewed 8 times.)
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otlichnik
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2021, 06:18:01 pm »

I have gone through Gorny with some of my N Song coins, but not the Xiang Fu Yuan Bao yet.

But it might be even more difficult depending on where your coins came from.

The Xiang Fu Yuan Bao type was also cast in Japan for domestic use (though many of these were later exported back to China when they were obsolete in Japan), cast in Japan for export (primarily to Vietnam), cast in Vietnam and cast in Java.

Outer diameter, inner diameter, hole size and weight are all important and sadly not addressed often by Gorny.

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SC
(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2021, 08:05:11 pm »

Shawn,

These aren’t Japanese: (a) the Bita Sen (Hartill 2.55) is too rare for me to have acquired five of them in a lot of Northern Song coins; (b) they are all larger than 24 mm. whereas Kyushu coins (Hartill 3.90 to 3.103) are around 22 mm.; and (c) the style of the Nagasaki trade coin (Hartill 3.195) is clearly different. These are also larger than Vietnamese Turon Phu Nguyen Bao coins (Barker 87.1 to 87.9), which have a differently styled bao. I don’t have Hartill’s Guide to Cash coins, which should address the Indonesian imitations. Someday …

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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2021, 02:32:19 am »

It's always difficult. Gorny looks for the rims and the placement of the characters, disregarding the diameter. But I think you are on the right track, e.g. your attribution of the first coin as G.07.3 seems to be a perfect match. Others are more difficult. The third coin, your G.07.9 might be G.07.8 with the Xiang touching the rim, and the second coin, your G,07.12 is possibly G.07.10, due to the broad rim.
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otlichnik
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2021, 07:31:16 am »

Didn't mean to imply those four you posted fall into any of those odd categories - just that there are options beyond Gorny depending on what one's coins are like.

I have many smaller and cruder coins amongst mine so I suspect there are many non-official /non-Chinese coins in my collection.

The lack of size and weight data in Hartill and other sources is a bit of a handicap.

I have started to mine my N Song volume of the Great China Numismatic Dictionary (Zhongguo Qianbi Dacidian) for sizes and weights.  I can't read any of the text, as it is in Chinese, but it is easy to get the diameter, hole size, thickness and weight.

The problem is that they include a few underweight and crude examples and, not being able to read the text, I can't tell what they say they are.  As Japanese Bitasen and Vietnamese cash both made their way back to China and circulated maybe it is those, or maybe just local illicit mint products. 

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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2021, 09:27:15 am »

Didn't mean to imply those four you posted fall into any of those odd categories - just that there are options beyond Gorny depending on what one's coins are like.

Shawn, I didn't read your messages as implying anything. I read it as suggesting that there were possibilities that should be ruled out in order to make a firm attribution. And to be honest, I had not ruled out these non-Chinese possibilities as I had initially attributed these coins a decade ago before I was aware of the possibilities. That being said, I notice that Gorny does in fact have a very brief discussion of the Indonesian copies of Northern Song cash, and states that they are "very small (19 mm - 22 mm) module." This permits me to rule out the Indonesian possibility for these coins as well.

The lack of size and weight data in Hartill and other sources is a bit of a handicap.
I have started to mine my N Song volume of the Great China Numismatic Dictionary (Zhongguo Qianbi Dacidian) for sizes and weights.  I can't read any of the text, as it is in Chinese, but it is easy to get the diameter, hole size, thickness and weight.

You will find this same handicap to exist when attributing Japanese cash coins based solely on Hartill. Unfortunately, I don't have access to any resources that provide that data.

By the way, last night I discovered another Xiang Fu Yuan Bao, which appears to represent yet another Gorny variety. An image is attached. I acquired six of these in a single lot and now assign them to five different varieties (the last of them is not clear enough for me to assign to a variety). I keep asking myself: (1) Is my assignment of each of these to a different variety "wishful thinking" in the sense that I am finding distinctions that don't make a difference? and (2) How accurate is my match of a given coin to a Gorny variety?

Stkp



* NS H.16.52 Xiang Fu G.07.10 Zeno #.jpg (110.86 KB, 959x479 - viewed 4 times.)
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2021, 05:55:09 am »

I will try to take a look at this issue using Gorny when I get a bit of time.

Gorny does drive me nuts.  I think the fundamental problem is that he didn't create his own divisions - he drew from older Japanese books.  His variety names are usually just direct translations of the Japanese typology if I understand correctly.

In some cases his image gives a good clear clue.  In other cases though it is hard to see what is going on and the names don't always help.  At times what appears to be a visible difference might not actually be the difference that matters between two types.  When I took my first crack at using Gorny I went only by the images. Like I said, drives me nuts.

Then when you add in the effect of wear....  For example the Xiang and Fu in your 2nd and 3rd examples - is one meant to have thicker strokes than the other - or is that just due to wear??

Did you get the Matthew Dick book on the Tang QYZBs?  While it has a huge number of sub-types, at least his divisions are usually based on more specific criteria - he provides examples of the character differences.  I would like to see the same technique applied to N Song cash one day.

I have been reading everything I can find on KYTBs and merging it into notes.  It raises many of these same questions.

I might put something up on numiswiki soon so other can comment, correct, develop, etc.

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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2021, 11:35:32 am »

Gorny has been driving me nuts as well. I got the book in June and after working with it briefly put it down until last week. The translations of the variety names are distinctly unhelpful, and I suspect that my focus is often on the wrong details. The wear on the coins also makes distinguishing subtle differences problematic.

I have not bought the Dick book because I don't have the coins to which it applies. Taking inventory, I believe that I added nine coin books to my library in 2020. It is getting difficult to keep up, yet there is the risk that they will go out of print and you will regret not grabbing them when you can.

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otlichnik
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2021, 04:05:43 pm »

Yup.  I am trying to find copies of Barker's Historical Cash Coins of Vietnam and of Burger's Ch'ing Cash (which appears to now list for $6000!!!!!) myself.

Dick's book is worth the (low) price even just for the methodology.  He has a couple of pages where he gives several examples (little drawings - possibly cut from his rubbings) of each of the key variations he uses as sorting criteria.  So when he says something like wide-leg Yuan you can refer to the picture and see what he means.  Simple but effective.  Other things like giving an inner diameter (within the rims) is useful too.

I have been hopping around forums trying to find active discussion of Asian cash with no real luck.  Zeno is a great resource but not a discussion forum.

Hopefully we can get things going more in this area at the forum!

Joe wants to see more on numiswiki this year so i will try to do some cash-related pages, hoping more knowledgeable people will jump in and edit.

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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2021, 04:39:50 pm »

I wonder, am I the only Forum member that thinks of Beatle George Harrison whenever this thread title pops-up?
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Stkp
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2021, 05:01:22 pm »

Barker was one of my 2020 acquisitions.

I have Berger's old Ch'ing Cash Until 1735, but that is a different work entirely.

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otlichnik
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« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2021, 05:02:51 pm »

Yes, I am looking for the 2016 two volume set.  I was wrong it is $800-950 online.  The 6000 was a different currency.

I suspect Hartill's Qing Cash is better than Burger's early book, but I might be wrong.

And no, I wasn't thinking of George Harrison though I admit it does make me think of River Song, if anyone is a DW fan.

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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)
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