Northern Song Dynasty Cash Variety Guide, Volume 3
Translated into English, with parallel Chinese (Pinyin Romanisation), and provided with a variety numbering system.
by Norman F. Gorny
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Volume 3, Kosen Daizen, Huang Song to Xi Ning, published in large easy-to-read 8-1/2 x 11" (21 x 28cm) format, 40 pages, stapled binding.
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Excerpted from the
Introduction to Volume 3
In this third volume of Northern Song Cash Variety Guide we encounter for the first time "multiple" cash, that is, cash coins which have an intended value of two or more standard cash. Although multiple cash are recorded for reign titles previous to the Qing Li period, all these are quite rare or have not been found. Many coins purporting to be multiple cash of earlier reigns are cleverly made fakes. Based on Kosen Daizen, we have described in Volume 2 multiple cash for the following reigns: Song Yuan, Jing De, Xiang Fu, Tian Xi, Tian Sheng, and Jing You. None of these have rarity indicators, which means that the average collector will probably never find them. On the other hand, beginning with Qing Li and continuing through the rest of the Northern Song dynasty, multiple cash will be obtainable and in many cases in very plentiful amounts, thereby permitting the formation of a very presentable variety collection for at least some reigns.
The back of a cash coin is normally blank, with a recessed field and raised inner and outer rim. A variety of pictographic marks can also appear there, as well as characters for mint name (though rarely encountered in Northern Song). Three types of standard marks appear: crescent/moon, dot/star, and bar. These occur singly or in combinations with each other, especially crescent and dot. Their presence signifies a variety. A carry-over from Tang dynasty times is the "rain cloud" mark, also of varietal significance.
Another mark, though it is often called a crescent, is the nail mark. This looks like the mark of an actual finger nail. Nail marks are probably a type of control mark, but their appearance is sporadic and inconsistent and does NOT have varietal significance. Do not confuse the nail mark with the crescent.
The position of a reverse mark or a nail mark is described relative to the center hole (above, below, left, right) or by compass location (NW, NE, SW, SE). Crescents and nailmarks are also described by orientation (Up Above, Down Below, Out Left, Out Right; Down Above, Up Below, In Left, In Right; Out or In NW, NE, etc.). Randomly placed nail marks and dots are also described relative to the center hole and the rims by 12 hour clock (e.g., Dot near outer rim, 7:00).
A slipped mould is an accident caused by careless mating of the obverse and reverse moulds, resulting (commonly on the reverse, but occasionally on the obverse) in a cash coin with a correctly punched hole and misaligned inner and outer rims. The outlines of the inner and outer rims will be visible in the field of the coin. Some examples show the outlines of both misaligned and correctly positioned moulds, demonstrating that an effort was made to correct the problem. Slipped moulds are not uncommon, but the greater the slippage, the more interesting and, hence, the scarcer the piece.
Hole and Inner Rim Variants
A roseate hole is a common and interesting feature found in two variations:
(1) The hole appears to have been punched at a 45° angle relative to the inner rim. This is noticeably perfect and appears intentional.
(2) The hole seems to be sloppily punched, just enough to produce an indistinct shape. These can be regarded as accidental.
Reverse inner and outer rims exist with many variations.