"Early World Coins & Early Weight
Standards" by Robert
Tye, York, 2009.
My copy of this book arrived and I have spent the last few days enjoying it. I recommend it highly to anyone who collects Early World Coins and anyone who is willing to admit that there are coins worth studying that are neither Greek nor Roman
I am a coin photographer. The book has one excellent photograph on the cover and not a single one inside. The author states that for many coins covered by the book that line drawings are better. He's right! The book contains some reasonable quality
line drawings of ancient coins
salvaged from old books and very high quality
drawings of medieval Asian coins
drawn by the author. Considering the state of striking of many of these issues, line drawings are much more clear than any photo. The coins are organized and numbered in a catalog
with rather little information on the entries but includes all the most common coins one is likely to see from the periods covered. The periods covered vary as to date since the term 'Early' as opposed to 'Modern' did not change over simultaneously around the world. The catalog
seems a bit
skimpy at just 59 pages but is extremely useful when it comes
to identifying common coins.
At the end of the catalog
, the book changes gears from good
to great as the format changes to text discussions of coin types
that defined the periods in which they were issued. Emphasis is placed on common coins that supported commerce in their regions rather than rarities
that seem to attract the attention of many authors. The catalog
lists 1248 coin types
(I would have omitted the ancients altogether and allowed more space to the later material which is obviously the author's area
of expertise). Out of these, a collector might expect to find at least a thousand without looking too hard and those coins would form a great collection
. The text section discusses all the who, where, when and why aspects of the major coinage groups and compensates completely for any brevity you might notice in the catalog
The book ends with a discussion of 'Early Weight
Standards' (note the title of the book) which links the various coin issuing authorities with each other and world economy. If you ever wondered why so many coins seem to weigh 3-4g. this section will be fascinating. Anyone who buys the book and fails to read the last part
really missed out on the meat. Robert
Tye shows a great ability to make clear subjects that could be considered confusing whether he is using his
well crafted words or his
exceptional line drawings. The book is certainly one to be read cover to cover but will also serve as a crutch in identifying many coins that are more than a little confusing, especially to Western collectors.
Buy it. If you are a dealer in coins or coin books, sell it (if you can). This book deserves wide distribution.