Author Topic: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint  (Read 6909 times)

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Offline fwang2450

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Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« on: May 18, 2015, 10:24:58 PM »
Several forum members asked me about hand engraved medals from Shanghai Mint (actually should be medals made from hand engraved dies). My latest post provides some information. As there are many pictures, I cannot post it here. Please click the link below.

http://modern-chinese-numismatic-info.blogspot.in/2015/05/medals-made-from-hand-engraved-dies-at.html

The post is based on my discussions with Zeng Chenghu, the engraver of the Pagoda set, and his article in Chinese: http://bbs.bqcoin.com/read-htm-tid-4867-toread-1-page-1.html

Another article on hand engraving is available in Chinese here: http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?sn=08d0024c4e4b51e0139534474049ab62&mid=208664537&idx=1&plg_auth=1&__biz=MzA5NjM2NTgxMw%3D%3D&ptlang=2052&ADUIN=937029036&ADSESSION=1429744527&ADTAG=CLIENT.QQ.5389_.0&ADPUBNO=26441#rd

Offline BobW

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2015, 11:11:32 PM »
Thank you Frank for the very informative articles.

Offline Hippanda

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2015, 11:27:08 PM »
Yes- Thank You Frank!

That is a valuable and intriguing background.

The artwork on many of these special medals is breathtaking and high among my favorites.


 N31
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Offline NBM

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2015, 02:53:31 PM »
Thank you for again sharing the fruit on your labors.  N48

Another informative post from earlier where some of this was discussed:

Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=10807.0

Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2015, 12:14:17 AM »
Several forum members asked me about hand engraved medals from Shanghai Mint (actually should be medals made from hand engraved dies). My latest post provides some information. As there are many pictures, I cannot post it here. Please click the link below.

http://modern-chinese-numismatic-info.blogspot.in/2015/05/medals-made-from-hand-engraved-dies-at.html

The post is based on my discussions with Zeng Chenghu, the engraver of the Pagoda set, and his article in Chinese: http://bbs.bqcoin.com/read-htm-tid-4867-toread-1-page-1.html

Another article on hand engraving is available in Chinese here: http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?sn=08d0024c4e4b51e0139534474049ab62&mid=208664537&idx=1&plg_auth=1&__biz=MzA5NjM2NTgxMw%3D%3D&ptlang=2052&ADUIN=937029036&ADSESSION=1429744527&ADTAG=CLIENT.QQ.5389_.0&ADPUBNO=26441#rd

Thanks for the articles. What is the place of gilt brass restrikes of these medals in a collection, in the absence of the original brass or silver medals? In other word are gilt brass and plated restrikes worth collecting? I note you said that the Famous Ancient Towers set is the only one that was produced only as a gilt version. Thanks for your response.
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Offline Hippanda

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2015, 12:40:12 AM »
Here are links to other interesting and informative articles about hand-engraving and Shanghai Mint:

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/862356.shtml

http://www.360doc.com/content/12/1019/09/363711_242362351.shtml

More than 12 designers and engravers work here. "Some of the younger engravers with an understanding of art progress quickly," said Yu.

The company today offers young employees a range of advanced study opportunities. Young Shanghai Mint designers like Zhu Xihua and Chen Yanwen have proven their worth by claiming major awards for their work.

And in recent years there has been fierce competition between engravers here and those working for other mint companies in Nanjing, Shenyang and Shenzhen.

"The quality of the design and engraving of commemorative coins is much higher nowdays. In the past, these tasks were designated to one artist, but now we have to compete for work," said Zeng Chenghu, a designer and craftsman with the company. "The competition also pushes the engravers to higher levels. Even though this is difficult work success is a great reward."

Almost impossible

Compared with the skills needed for machine-struck coins, the demands on the people who hand engrave coins are almost impossible. For this engravers work directly onto a die which is the same size as the coin.

The hand engraving skills of the Shanghai Mint were listed as an intangible cultural heritage in 2007.

Hand engraving was introduced to China about 100 years ago and the Shanghai Mint now has seven hand engravers. Fang Maosen and Huang Jian are the two senior engravers, who now work on commemorative bronze medals. "Hand engraving is completely different to machine engraving. The skills cannot cross over," said Zeng.

"Hand engraving is difficult to learn. You have to have great patience and most people who start to learn this give it up. Producing a commemorative medal can take many months of work," Zeng said.
"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

Confucius

Offline fwang2450

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2015, 12:54:18 AM »
Thanks for the articles. What is the place of gilt brass restrikes of these medals in a collection, in the absence of the original brass or silver medals? In other word are gilt brass and plated restrikes worth collecting? I note you said that the Famous Ancient Towers set is the only one that was produced only as a gilt version. Thanks for your response.
The order of collecting these hand engraved medals should be:

original strikes -> restrikes in brass -> restrikes in gold/silver plated versions

So the gilt/silver plated versions are at the bottom. Apart from loss of details, they are shiny, with no mirror-cameo contrast. That makes them less appealing artistically and less collectible.

If you are patient, and willing to pay some money, you can still have some of the original strikes. You need connections, of course. Getting to know some Chinese medal sellers on eBay will definitely help.

Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2015, 01:13:00 AM »
The order of collecting these hand engraved medals should be:

original strikes -> restrikes in brass -> restrikes in gold/silver plated versions

So the gilt/silver plated versions are at the bottom. Apart from loss of details, they are shiny, with no mirror-cameo contrast. That makes them less appealing artistically and less collectible.

If you are patient, and willing to pay some money, you can still have some of the original strikes. You need connections, of course. Getting to know some Chinese medal sellers on eBay will definitely help.
Thanks for your response.
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Offline pandamonium

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2015, 02:19:24 PM »
Lets not forget the only two silver from hand engraved dies - 1984 silver pagodas & 1984 silver goldfish.   Were there any other silver?.......What is the mintage difference and market price/availability for the Brass vs Silver?......

Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2015, 08:03:55 PM »
Lets not forget the only two silver from hand engraved dies - 1984 silver pagodas & 1984 silver goldfish.   Were there any other silver?.......What is the mintage difference and market price/availability for the Brass vs Silver?......
That makes the 1984 silver pagodas and golfish even more unique and special mint pieces. I have previously wondered if the brass versions weren't even more uncommon; didn't the mints produce copper coins first before the silver mintage then? I believe fewer brass 1984 pagodas and goldfish medals have been graded by NGC.

So, was the 1990 goldfish restrike fully hand engraved? Or was the goldfish side the only one that was minted with the plates from the 1984 minting?

I always find these issues interesting?
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Offline fwang2450

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2015, 08:19:24 PM »
Lets not forget the only two silver from hand engraved dies - 1984 silver pagodas & 1984 silver goldfish.   Were there any other silver?.......What is the mintage difference and market price/availability for the Brass vs Silver?......
I believe Li Qingzhao has a silver version, but it is rarely seen. The market availability of the original strike of the brass pagodas is a fraction of the silver version. It is more difficult to tell the restrikes from the original strikes with the brass goldfish. Not enough research has been done. RARMEDAL mentioned color of the metal, but under different lighting, it is difficult to tell.

Offline fwang2450

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2015, 08:32:22 PM »
That makes the 1984 silver pagodas and golfish even more unique and special mint pieces. I have previously wondered if the brass versions weren't even more uncommon; didn't the mints produce copper coins first before the silver mintage then? I believe fewer brass 1984 pagodas and goldfish medals have been graded by NGC.

So, was the 1990 goldfish restrike fully hand engraved? Or was the goldfish side the only one that was minted with the plates from the 1984 minting?

I always find these issues interesting?
The original strikes, restrikes and plated versions were all made from hand engraved dies. Please note, though, that unlike Plum, Orchid, Bamboo and Chrysanthemum and the Palace Lantern sets, only one side of of the pagodas and goldfish was hand engraved. The other side was etched.

The brass medals may have suffered a higher rate of loss due to the base metal they were made from. The Jianzhen brass set is even fewer than the silver version. There are four known brass sets, including one in the museum of Shanghai Mint. The silver version is extremely rare, too, but not this few.

Offline Russ 736

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2015, 12:42:41 PM »
I believe Li Qingzhao has a silver version, but it is rarely seen. The market availability of the original strike of the brass pagodas is a fraction of the silver version. It is more difficult to tell the restrikes from the original strikes with the brass goldfish. Not enough research has been done. RARMEDAL mentioned color of the metal, but under different lighting, it is difficult to tell.
I recently had a brass set of 1984 goldfish graded by NGC. When I purchased them from the dealer they were not identified as original or restrike. I have seen raw sets identified as original strike and they are priced accordingly. Does anyone have a surefire way to tell if a 84 brass goldfish is a restrike or not?

Russ

Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2015, 02:42:59 PM »
I recently had a brass set of 1984 goldfish graded by NGC. When I purchased them from the dealer they were not identified as original or restrike. I have seen raw sets identified as original strike and they are priced accordingly. Does anyone have a surefire way to tell if a 84 brass goldfish is a restrike or not?

Russ

Possibly, if medals are still in original packaging.
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Offline fwang2450

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Re: Medals from hand-engraved dies by Shanghai Mint
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2015, 03:08:32 PM »
I recently had a brass set of 1984 goldfish graded by NGC. When I purchased them from the dealer they were not identified as original or restrike. I have seen raw sets identified as original strike and they are priced accordingly. Does anyone have a surefire way to tell if a 84 brass goldfish is a restrike or not?

Russ
RAREMEDAL mentioned die defects with goldfish retrikes in his post , which I translated here: http://modern-chinese-numismatic-info.blogspot.com/2013/09/mr-feng-jingjings-work-on-goldfish.htm
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