Author Topic: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993  (Read 97681 times)

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Offline SANDAC

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Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« on: November 26, 2011, 09:37:29 PM »
The Historical Figures are 40 silver coins and 10 gold coins minted from 1984 to 1993.  Except the four coins issued in 1992, most silver coins can be purchased today raw for $60-$90 if one shop around.  They (the silver coins) are relatively inexpensive, have a great deal of cultural significance, modestly low mintage (from ~6000 of 1989 to 20K of 1984/1991/1993), and lastly they have a remarkable number of variation.  My recent study shows that at least 30% of the 40 coins have significant varieties, many of them have multiple varieties.  These varieties are significant enough to pass the "fuzzy picture test".  That is to say they can be easily identified even with poor quality photos so frequently encountered on eBay auctions.

Some of the varieties have been discussed here already, but the purpose of this thread is to post these varieties side-by-side with high resolution photos.  Judging by my rate of discovery, I believe there are a lot more varieties out there.  I hope the CCF community can enrich this thread with their own comments and photos.

I will start off with 1990 LiZicheng.  DiggingNorway first mention this coin here.  http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=2880.0   Furthur study shows there are at least 4 varieties that meet the "fuzzy picture test".  They are:
picture 1.  short robe, big gap.  The robe refers to the length of the robe that covers Li Zicheng's right arm.  The gap refers to the space between Li Zicheng's right arm and the group of men & horses.
picture 2.  short robe, small gap.

There are actual a number of varieties within the short robe group, but they are not readily identifiable in low quality pictures.

picture 3.  medium robe, big gap.  I surmise there is also a medium robe, small gap out there somewhere.

picture 4.  Long robe, big gap.  Once again, I surmise there is also a long robe, small gap out there, but I've not find one.

Offline DiggingNorway

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2011, 09:58:16 PM »
Here are two medium/short robe, small gap

Followed by two medium robe, small gap (I have one more, but no need to post another similar coin)

the two first have shorter robes, but are not as short as the really short version...


Offline YoungC

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2011, 10:06:40 PM »
> short robe, big gap.  The robe refers to the length of the robe that covers Li Zicheng's right arm

It took me a while to realize you actually mean Li Zicheng's LEFT arm. The arm with hand on the hilt of the sword. :)

Offline DiggingNorway

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2011, 10:08:03 PM »
I.e what I am suggesting is that the really short robe (SANDAC Photo #1) and the really long robe (where the robe actually connects with the handkerchief) is easily distinguished, but inbetween those etremes there are different degrees of "medium" lenght of the robe.

Clearly the robe is a variety that is consistent, our challenge will be to categorize coins according to the robe and try to find out how many varities in the lenght there are.

The gap variety is easier to define.

So we have two clear indiations: Robe lenght and Gap.
If we assume two varities of gaps and 4 varities of robe lenght. That can be an indicator of number of varities...

Offline SANDAC

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2011, 10:17:47 PM »
> short robe, big gap.  The robe refers to the length of the robe that covers Li Zicheng's right arm

It took me a while to realize you actually mean Li Zicheng's LEFT arm. The arm with hand on the hilt of the sword. :)

Oops, thank you for pointing that out.  Yes, it is the length of the robe that covers Li Zicheng's LEFT arm.

Offline SANDAC

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2011, 10:19:48 PM »
Next coin is the 1985 SunWu:
There are shades of variation in the details of the flag between SunWu and the last horseman, but the difference is not obvious in fuzzy pictures.  What is obvious is the length of the flag. 
Picture 1 is the normal length flag
Picture 2 is the short flag

Offline DiggingNorway

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2011, 10:29:03 PM »
This one was new for me :) cool.

Well here are two long flags, with quite good details. Too me, these coins do not look like restrikes. The relief is high, the details are clear, and the relief is not sandy.


Offline SANDAC

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2011, 10:30:46 PM »
OK, I'll do another one tonight.
This is the 1987 Chen Wen, it is back to the length of the cape (I call it cape, because it is flowing and fluttering like the Caped Crusader :laugh:).
picture 1 is the normal cape
picture 2 is the short cape

Offline DiggingNorway

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2011, 10:43:01 PM »
Great!! I only had two of these, and they were both normal cape. Now I know there is a short one too.
And as it stands today it is more rare  :cursing:

Offline DiggingNorway

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2011, 10:44:54 PM »
what grade did you get on the short cape? and I know its getting late, but I guess the year is 1985, not 1987... its called Chen Sheng and Wu Guang...

Offline SANDAC

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2011, 11:06:34 PM »
You are right, it is 1985 Chen Sheng and Wu Guang.  That was graded PF68 by NGC

Offline badon

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2011, 02:01:15 AM »
Time to figure out these varieties using the finest coin information resource ever created, don't you think?

Coin Compendium testing begins!

http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=4588.0

Offline SANDAC

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2011, 10:32:22 AM »
I am aware of 3 varieties of the 1987 Li Chun:
Picture 1 is the more common “puffy sleeve” Li Chun standing on a solid base.
Picture 2 shows a tight sleeve circled in red.  It is also my experience that tighter the sleeve, greater the separation between Li Chun’s right shoulder and the background bridge (red trapezoid).
Picture 3 shows the vanishing base.  This is not a photographic artifact.  The relief of the base is shallow and become mirror-like, like it is melting into the background field.

Offline DiggingNorway

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2011, 10:39:19 AM »
Cool. I dont have any coins to compare with, but if I were to guess, I would guess that coin #1 is a restrike.

This based on the sandy relief and the lack of details in the face.

It seems to me that the restrikes were made "hastly", they should grade lower as all patterns and details are more visible on coin 2 and 3. Also the relief has a more mirror-finish on the 2 and 3. This is a rare coin in Norway at least... I have not a single one...

Offline SANDAC

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Re: Varieties of silver Historical Figures, 1984 to 1993
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2011, 10:50:43 AM »
The subject of “vanishing” something is a recurrent theme with the historical series.  I know of 5 vanishing acts including the 1987 Li Chun above.  I’ll present two more and waiting for better samples of the two others before talking about them.

The 1987 DuFu has a “vanishing hut” variety.  
Picture 1 is the normal hut.  By “normal”, I don’t mean it is more common than the other variety.  It refers to the way the hut should appear normally.
Picture 2 shows the vanishing hut circle in red.  It is more than a weak strike, many components of the hut disappeared altogather.