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Author Topic: Finding books from abbreviations  (Read 439 times)

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Offline Graham S

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Finding books from abbreviations
« on: February 15, 2021, 06:24:22 pm »
I just bought a Himyarite coin, but its not an area I know anything about. So I look for references and find most Himyarite coins given a reference which is either 'SNG ANS xxx' or 'GIC xxx'. I have no idea what either SNG ANS or GIC is, or how to find out. This is quite a common experience for me as I like to buy out-of-the way coins, but I have never found a general way to identify what text is meant by the abbreviations numismatists use.

Is there a list of abbreviations and the texts they refer to anywhere? Probably somewhere on this site, but I can't find one!


Thanks for any advice

Graham

Offline Stkp

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Re: Finding books from abbreviations
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2021, 09:30:12 pm »
Graham,

A good place to start is by running a search on the NumisWiki page of this site.

For SNG ANS, see https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=SNG%20ANS.

GIC, in this context, refers to David Sear's Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values

Stkp

Offline Altamura

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Re: Finding books from abbreviations
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2021, 03:49:47 am »
If you are googeling a bit you will quite a number of lists of such abbreviations, here are some examples:
http://numismatics.org/basslibrary/abbreviations/
https://www.wildwinds.com/coins/refs.html
https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195305746.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780195305746-miscMatter-6

But no list does contain everything, and even worse, for one and the same book you can find different abbreviations in use :-\.

Regards

Altamura


Offline JBF

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Re: Finding books from abbreviations
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2021, 05:23:40 pm »
I would venture to guess that the abbreviations originate from the need to condense information on a little piece of paper that goes in a flip (or on a small envelope).  There is no master plan for abbreviations.  Generally if you collect in a particular field, you know or can figure out the abbreviations.  I would not expect a convenient list, unless of course, you want to make one.  I have a friend who spells out all of a reference works' names, but he is a master at making little tags.  Most abbreviations are simple truncations. SNG ANS for Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum American Numismatic Society, SG for Sear, Greek coins and their Values, or sometimes just 'S' and the appropriate number. You already know the coin is Greek, so this 'S' means Sear, Greek Coins and their Values.  You can see how people, short of space, do abbreviations instead of the full names.  Especially since more than one reference may be cited on a flip.  Sometimes a particular abbreviation is more a function of the font size that you chose ahead of time, not giving yourself enough room for a more extended version of the name.

I am serious about doing your own list if you have the time and inclination.  If you are inclined, please share it too.

Offline Anaximander

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Re: Finding books from abbreviations
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2021, 04:26:31 pm »
Good advice, all.  I'll refer Graham to the work of Wayne Sales, Ancient Coin Collecting. These five slim volumes pack lots of good coin collecting information in a small package. The 4th volume is exclusively on 'Non-Classical Cultures' and has a section on the Arabian Peninsula, of which the Himyarites have one page. Each of the more than 20 sections has its own bibliography. Very useful! 

Among those works cited for the Arabian Peninsula: B.V. Head "On Himyarite and other Arabian Imitations of Coins of Athens" found in the Numismatic Chronicle, 1878, pp. 273-284.  The Numiswiki can lead you to the Numismatic Chronicle website and from there to the JSTOR site that hosts limited free access to their back issues. I get six free articles a month just for registering.

There are other works cited by the Celator, whose back issues are also available. 

Chris “Anaximander” Thomsen. Member Since 2019.
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Offline helvetica

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Re: Finding books from abbreviations
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2021, 09:46:41 am »
The RPC online website often cites coins with an abbreviation, which is not listed in their bibliography.
I noticed one last week where the source of the coin was given as
N         SNG (and a number).
So what does the N denote ? Newcastle ? Norway ? somewhere else ? (it's not New York which is abbreviated as NY or ANS)
I can't remember what coin it was but in the past, on RPC online, I have seen similar obscure abbreviations which are not in the Bibliography list.

Offline Joe Sermarini

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Re: Finding books from abbreviations
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2021, 02:03:00 pm »
Notice that SNG ANS and GIC are blue text. That indicates they are links. When you see links here, you might find the answer you are looking for. In the Forum shop, the references used are often listed at the bottom of each page.
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Offline Altamura

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Re: Finding books from abbreviations
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2021, 02:10:28 am »
... So what does the N denote ? Newcastle ? Norway ? somewhere else ? ...
Or perhaps just some sort of typo?

Regards

Altamura

Offline Joe Sermarini

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Re: Finding books from abbreviations
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2021, 07:51:10 am »
No way to know unless you can match the number in a reference. The reason I try so hard to make the references I use completely clear is my frustration trying to interpret the abbreviations used by others. Unfortunately any abbreviation less than four letters is not suitable for a link. I don't know what this N is.
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Offline Altamura

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Re: Finding books from abbreviations
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2021, 11:37:21 am »
... No way to know unless you can match the number in a reference. ...
And this is quite hard without knowing the coin in question :).

Regards

Altamura

Offline esnible

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Re: Finding books from abbreviations
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2021, 07:09:06 am »
When I see an abbreviation I don't know I check it on CNG's Bibliography Lookup: https://cngcoins.com/Bibliography.aspx

Many books, as well as RPC Online, refer to collections with letter codes.  This was a great idea in the age of paper but today it is better to spell them out.  RPC Online does a good job, though!  For example https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/2/1 gives the two specimens as being in museums "L" and "P" but if you click on the individual code the museum is decoded (London and Paris in this case).

If anyone struggles but eventually decodes a tough abbreviation, add the abbreviation to the NumisWiki page for the work.

Offline otlichnik

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Re: Finding books from abbreviations
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2021, 07:47:59 am »
Interesting discussion.

Of course, some of us will never really abandon the short forms will we.  Especially if we use hand written paper tags.  Some of my late Roman AE4s are in leuchtrum trays with the smallest hole sizes, so my tags are only about 10mm x 10mm and my references for those coins are limited to R### and L#### for the RIC and LRBC references.

What this discussion has highlighted to me, however, is the need for me to provide a key for my own collection - or perhaps for each tray - for the time when I am no longer around.

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