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Beginners' Approach to Collection by Huang Ruiyong

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I am translating the online lecture series by Huang Ruiyong. This is the first lecture, for beginners (like me). The same text was included in his book "Ode to Grace in a Properous Time" with slight adaption. The lecture was given in 2007, from the link below:

Due to my limited time, this post has about 1/3 of the lecture. I will continue to translate this and other lectures in the next few days (weeks?).

Beginners'  Approach to Collection by Huang Ruiyong

Good evening everyone. gave me a grand title. I do not feel quite up to it, though.

Honestly, the overall research in the MCC coin field looks weaker than in other coin segments. But just because of this, a historical opportunity presents itself to us. Let’s collect with pleasure, put our hearts to research, and we will have a splendid future.

The three lectures starting from today cover the following topics:

1.   Beginners'  Approach to Collection

2.   Transition to Intermediate Collectors

3.   Top Choices for Advanced Collectors

Let's take a look at the topic today, which is directed at new collectors.

Many new collectors get to know precious metal coins and medals of the PRC, and feel deeply impressed. But they have no reference books, no access to the markets in Beijing and Shanghai, and no teachers to learn from. They grope the way all by themselves, like walking in darkness, with extreme difficulty. So I will provide the many new collectors with some suggestions, from the perspective of collection.

“A job can be completed more easily with sharp tools.”

In coin collection, one will definitely gain success if the DIRECTION and APPROACH are correct.

A new collector must adopt the right methodology from the very beginning, focusing on the following aspects: affinity with the coins, logic reasoning, coin knowledge, awareness of the real gems, making friends, and receiving correct information.

If we manage all these aspects successfully, we can pass the beginner phase with success and no hassle. Now let me expand these aspects in detail.

First let’s talk about coin affinity.

What is coin affinity? It is directly “fall in love at first sight.” You fall in love with a coin at first sight, intoxicated by it, applauding it loudly with admiration. This comes from pure appreciation, without any consideration of material gain.

For example, the first set of Bronze ware gold coins were crafted by Tong Youming and Sun Qiling, two top sculptors of Shanghai Mint, who put all their heart and soul into these coins. You set them out in a row under spotlights, and watch them beaming out dazzling lights and colors, simply gorgeous and beautiful. It is hard to imagine anyone resisting their temptation.

Another coin is the 2001 2oz Dunhuang silver coin. The sacred image of the buddha in high relief from the prosperous Tang Dynasty is absolutely stately and life-like. The ingenious use of frosting and anti-frosting on the coin endears it to many collectors.

This is coin affinity. If you are a collector and you can pick out the coin you like at first sight from a pile of coins, congratulations! This comes from your coin affinity. It is absolutely a wonderful thing to feel this affinity to a coin.

Most collectors start from appreciating modern precious metal coins due to coin affinity, and then go out of their way to search for and collect these coins.

We all say that there are no cheap or expensive collections, meaning for an item, if you can appreciate its merits, it is worth collecting. But wait! Although we do not distinguish between cheap and expensive collections, there are degrees of sophistication in collection.

For modern precious metal coins issued by the PRC, nobody has the financial power or market channels to collect them all. A newbie should avoid trying to grab at everything in order to advance their own collection. Do not covet every coin that comes in sight. Otherwise your pocket will always be empty, and you be enslaved by coins. Learning what to go after and when to give up, picking coins that you feel affinity for from your own perspective: these are the basis for a newbie to move up to more advanced levels.     

(to be continued)

Thank you, fwang2450, for providing this great public service. Google could definitely use your expertise in improving its translation. Looking forward to your future pieces.

Thanks for sharing. :thumbup1:

Thanks for sharing

Thank you for the translation.  As I read along I have two thoughts:
1.  This is a beginner collector materials. Great mathematicians don't teach freshman Calculus, so why is a distinguished collector teaching it? 
2.  This poignant sentence, "the first set of Bronze ware gold coins were crafted by Tong Youming and Sun Qiling, two top sculptors of Shanghai Mint, who put all their heart and soul into these coins."

It rekindles the thoughts I had in 1982 and recent visit to China, that China is like a awkward teenager going through a painful maturing period.  She is brand new and modern in some aspects, but backward and weighted down with past sins in other aspects;  She is incredibly energetic, the energy flows everywhere, sometimes barriers/obstacle are overcame, but other time it damaged worthy institutions.  This is an incredible period in China.  You can see beauty and ugliness all in the same time, and then they'll all be gone in the span of one lifetime.

Circling back to the two thoughts.  I believe the anwser to 1. is that coin collecting of MCC is a new hobby, there are no intermediate collectors to teach the beginners.  So the beginners are being taught by the great collector getting that fresh insights and energy directly.  How lucky to be these beginners!  The second thought reminded me of the paper cuts, silver platter and miniature ivory carvings I bought in 1982.  They are the handcraft of masters, but sold for a pittance.  It is beautiful and tragic all at the same time.  The MCC of the early period embodies these diametrically opposed characteristics.  The artistry is breathtaking, but the minting is inconsistent and flawed;  They were wonderful numismatic works, but few records are kept; They are cultural treasures, but nobody in China can afford it them, so they were sold to foreigners at bullion price.  The tide is now turning, we collectors standing outside the door of China felt the energy flowed out and now back in, snagging a few treasures as they fluttered out and back in, and then they will all be gone.

I want to illustrate my monologue with the miniature carving I bought in 1982.  A wonderous work, 102 characters on ivory the size of a grain of rice, all for 100 yuan.


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