May 23, 2011

Maybe 2012

Back in late 2009 I started working on a new and revised edition of my Northern Song Dynasty Cash Variety Guide (NSDCVG), originally planned to be republished as a one volume, comb or spiral bound edition, entirely revamped and edited to include new information as a result of my researches and acquisitions since the last editions.

I started work on this project and got quite a bit of it done, more than the downloadable sample pages show, but then health issues got in the way, and my poor eyesight on top of everything else made me announce that the project was indefinitely shelved. I agreed, therefore, to make the original edition available on request as needed and, in fact, have reprinted a few at a time and sold them on eBay.

Well, my health issues, though not my poor eyesight, have cleared up and so I have begun contemplating how to get the task done. I have started by redocumenting my Chinese cash collection, a vast ongoing project, making use not only of my catalog, but of new catalogs obtained from China, those which I have recommended elsewhere in my coin blogs. These are in Chinese, of course, but the ground breaking translations I provide in my catalog make using these new publications very easy.

What I have found is that the coverage of Northern Song is much better for some of the series in the new Chinese catalogs than in the old Kosen Daizen, which is the basis of my catalog. I have already started using both 北宋铜钱 Bei Song Tong Qian numbers (book cover, right) and my own catalog numbers in documenting my collection of reverse marked Songyuan. In the next edition of my catalog, the Schjöth numbers are abandoned (though still referenced) in favor of a new type number system based on the actual series themselves, combined with the original variety numbers. This can be seen in the sample pages.

I do not use the Hartill numbering at all, since it will not work very well with a full variety catalog. Hartill will work for a non-specialist in Northern Song, but will be very frustrating to one who wants to distinguish and collect all possible varieties.

My latest design concept is somewhat different, simpler and more direct than the sample pages you can look at here, but if interested, you will get a good idea of where I will be going with this. You can download PDF files of the front cover and intro pages, and of the first 15 catalog pages, covering Song Yuan, Tai Ping, and Chun Hua currencies, by clicking the links.

This sample is to provide you with an idea of what is coming, the new arrangement, layout, and type numbers. The 2012 edition will make use of the same rubbings, as well as the original variety numbers, so it can be used with existing, older collections. The new type number system is unique to NSDCVG, but provides a logical and consistent framework. Download the PDF of the cover and table of contents by clicking HERE. Download the first 15 pages of the catalog by clicking HERE.

I think that my catalog, though useful, may in the end yield to the new Chinese language catalogs. Time will tell. Previous catalogs coming out of China on this series were not, in my opinion, as good as Kosen Daizen, but the latest ones, particularly 北宋铜钱 Bei Song Tong Qian (Copper Coins of Northern Song) and 两宋铁钱 Liang Song Tie Qian (Iron Coins of Northern and Southern Song, book cover, left) are worthy of consideration and use. The latter catalog was the one I first acquired, and my entire collection of Song Dynasty iron coins is catalogued solely using its numbering and variety names. There are samples of cataloguing by LSTQ at my Northern Song Cash blog. I have also translated the map and list of furnace locations.

This is the latest news, and let's be optimistic and shoot for 2012.