Author Topic: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?  (Read 11576 times)

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Offline mmissinglink

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Is it just me that is still is a bit confused about the Great Wall medals?

I am specifically referring to the 3.3 oz (103 gm) silver Great Wall medals. I know there are 2 distinct designs:



and







So my confusion consists of:

Are both these designs 103 grams?

Are both these designs 1984?

Which is the design that was minted first?

Were any of these 2 designs re-minted in 1987?

Are the NGC labels accurate in describing the year of mintage for these two designs? (In other words, does NGC describe these both as 1984 medals?)

What is the actual mintage for each of these designs (in the proof variety)?


Is the following medal accurately described:  http://www.ebay.ca/itm/CHINA-1984-Great-Wall-Large-Silver-Medal-3-3-oz-999-Silver-First-In-Series-Rare-/371003786385

What is the design difference between these two medals:

http://www.ngccoin.com/coin-census/world/china-medals-scid-366/silver/1984-33oz-china-silver-great-wall-coinid-651988

and

http://www.ngccoin.com/coin-census/world/china-medals-scid-366/silver/1984-china-silver-the-great-wall-60mm-coinid-650323


Thanks for any help you can provide in setting the record straight for me.





.

Offline SANDAC

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2014, 12:11:10 AM »
I'm certainly not an expert of the 1984 Great Wall.  I do know 3.3 oz is NOT 103 grams but 3.3 tael = 103 grams.  Looking at my own database of the 1984 Great Wall, I see NGC made a number of mistakes labelling them as 3.3 oz and later (number 3684312-001 & 3692382-001) correct them to just 103 gram/60mm.  Here are the NGC numbers I have.  It is a trail of confusion.
 
1982287-005     
3260210-007     
3306854-003   
3324202-003     
3347564-005     
3553424-005     
3684312-001     
4153433-001     
3684312-001     
3692382-001   

Offline mmissinglink

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2014, 01:12:05 PM »
If you are confused Sandac, that actually makes me feel pretty good because I see you as someone who is far more knowledgeable about MCC than I.

NGC has in the past couple years hired some MCC experts, yes?

Is there an authoratative web page on the Great Wall medals which can clear up the confusion that so many of us seem to have? Or will we never really know certain things about these medals?







Offline SANDAC

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2014, 02:32:03 PM »
NGC did hire Peter Anthony (PandaCollector on CCF) as an consultant.  I think that is a great move and underscores NGC's desire to know the MCC market better.  I'm confident NGC's MCC knowledge will improve significantly as time goes on but the downside is there are only so many proof 1984 Great Wall medal in existence and many, if not most, are already graded with the various confusing labels and mixup in census report.  I don't see the existing graded specimen get straighten out anytime soon. 

I see the discussion you participated which had generated so much excitement (http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=4488.0) as the most detailed and informative discussion in English about the 1984 Great Wall medal.

Offline mmissinglink

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2014, 08:35:08 PM »
Thanks SANDAC. Yes that discussion was quite lively but it still left me very confused about the Great Wall Medals.

For example, I don't even know which silver version was the first minted, the one that is said to have been determined by the Shanghai Mint to be 'not artistic enough'? Does anyone know anything more concrete about the actual mintage numbers for both versions? I have seen some say that these were minted in 1984 but others say 1987.

So that thread still left a lot of confusion for me and I was hoping that in the 21 months time (since I found this forum and shared my story) and some attention to the Great Wall medals since then, some definitive clarity would have come forth.

Thanks.

Offline fwang2450

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2014, 10:34:21 PM »
I believe some of the facts are clear. Let's follow the Chinese conventions, to call the medal in the first picture "Plum Flower Great Wall", because of the plum flowers in the design, and the medal in the second picture "Beacon Tower Great Wall".

What we know includes:

1. Both these two medals were minted in Shanghai Mint.

2. Both these versions have brass/bronze versions, which actually preceded silver versions, as is the tradition with Shanghai Mint. Brass pagodas and goldfish were also struck before silver ones.

3. The "Plum Flower Great Wall" design first appeared in 1980, as a large (60 mm) brass medal, with "1980" on it. It is extremely rare. TKcoin on this forum showed one, and recently another auctioned off for about $6000 in China. But later on, "1980" was removed on restruck brass/bronze versions.

4. The Plum Flower Great Wall is also called an error medal, due to the missing "e" in "Heros".

5. The silver Plum Flower Great Wall has two strikes, a proof strike and a matte proof strike. The matte proof strike has been the target of counterfeiting, as Gilmore found out personally.

6. The Plum Flower Great Wall was replaced by the Beacon Tower Great Wall later, with the spelling error fixed. Again, by observing the die states, it can be concluded that the bronze version preceded the silver version.

7. There are no restrikes of the silver MIRROR proof versions, although the matte proof Plum Flower Great Wall is assumed to be a restrike.

What is uncertain about the Great Wall medals is:

1. When was the silver Plum Flower Great Wall released? Two years were given:1982 and 1984. Huang Ruiyong said 1982, while most other sources say 1984. If the first brass Plum Flower Great Wall medal was struck in 1980, it is not unlikely the silver medal was struck in 1982. The brass/bronze versions without "1980" are normally believed to be struck in 1985. It would be interesting to compare the die states of the silver version and the brass/bronze versions without "1980".

2. When was the silver Beacon Tower Great Wall struck? 1987 is said to be the year of this medal. There are no significant disagreement among collectors. This is also the year the bronze version was believed to be struck.

3. What is the mintage of the two silver medals? The 68 piece mintage is associated with the silver Plum Flower Great Wall. But does it include the matte proof version, which is said to be restrikes? There is even less information on the mintage of the silver Beacon Tower Great Wall. The COA of my silver Beacon Tower Great Wall does not have a mintage number on it.

The low mintage of both the Plum Flower Great Wall and the Beacon Tower Great Wall indicates they were intended for gifts, but this is only my guess.

Offline mmissinglink

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2014, 02:13:26 PM »
Great info as usual fwang. Your explanation has helped me with some of the confusion I have had. But I still have more confusion and perhaps you or others can help me understand this:

I have seen the terms "brass", "bronze", and "copper" being used to describe the Shanghai Mint Great Wall 60 mm medals....were these medals made in all three types of metal (aside from, of course, silver)?

If these medals were intended as gifts originally, did the Shanghai Mint actually never sell any? Instead, were these medals minted and then given by the Shanghai Mint (without sale) to dignitaries (or which special people would have been the recipients of these medals as gifts)?

Thanks for any help anyone can give to shedding more light on these.


Offline fwang2450

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 02:51:11 PM »
Great info as usual fwang. Your explanation has helped me with some of the confusion I have had. But I still have more confusion and perhaps you or others can help me understand this:

I have seen the terms "brass", "bronze", and "copper" being used to describe the Shanghai Mint Great Wall 60 mm medals....were these medals made in all three types of metal (aside from, of course, silver)?

If these medals were intended as gifts originally, did the Shanghai Mint actually never sell any? Instead, were these medals minted and then given by the Shanghai Mint (without sale) to dignitaries (or which special people would have been the recipients of these medals as gifts)?

Thanks for any help anyone can give to shedding more light on these.


"Bronze" is actually not very precise. The medal does have a bronze look, but in fact it is stained copper. "Bronze" is sometimes used as a shortcut.

"Intended gift" was my guess, although people from Shanghai Mint confirmed that even some of the brass/stained copper medals were used as gifts. The silver medals were not minted for retail, as no retail type of COA, which usually has mintage and a serial number, has been reported. If I remember correctly, your medal came in a wooden box with "People's Bank of China"on it, with no COA at all. That is likely to be a gift. Mine came in a retail type of silk box, with a COA typed on a typewriter, with no mintage or serial number. It is possible that the Mint found some leftover silver medals in the end, and decided to package them for retail. But since the number was very small, they did not even bother to have a formal COA printed. Instead they typed the COA up on a typewriter and made photocopies of it.

Offline bonke

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2014, 05:26:06 PM »
Are there rim numbers on the Plum Flower Great Wall 3.3oz silver proof medals?

[I know that there are rim numbers on the 1984 Plum Flower Great Wall 3.3oz silver medals which are graded Mint State by NGC.  I think these are the same medals which fwang2450 calls "matte proof" medals.]

I own one of the silver proof medals.  Unfortunately, it is in an older NGC slab and the rim is not visible.  If there are rim numbers, I would send my medal back to NGC for a new holder which shows the rim number.

Any information will be appreciated.

Mark Bonke 


Offline fwang2450

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2014, 08:05:11 PM »
Are there rim numbers on the Plum Flower Great Wall 3.3oz silver proof medals?

[I know that there are rim numbers on the 1984 Plum Flower Great Wall 3.3oz silver medals which are graded Mint State by NGC.  I think these are the same medals which fwang2450 calls "matte proof" medals.]

I own one of the silver proof medals.  Unfortunately, it is in an older NGC slab and the rim is not visible.  If there are rim numbers, I would send my medal back to NGC for a new holder which shows the rim number.

Any information will be appreciated.

Mark Bonke  


I do not have the 1984 Plum Flower Great Wall silver medal, but according to RAREMEDAL, there are edge letters "Ag 999, 3两3" (which is 3.3 tael) on the medal.

Offline bonke

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2014, 09:12:50 PM »
The edge letters on the Plum Flower Great Wall silver "matte proof" medal say "Ag 999" and "the medal number".  NGC is now grading these as mint state ("MS") medals and not as matte proof ("Matte PF") medals.  I do not know if they have consistently done this or if there are any medals from the past with a "matte proof" designation on the NGC slab.   I do not know how many were minted or the numbers used on them.   

Does anyone on this forum own one of the Plum Flower Great wall silver proof medals with an NGC slab showing edge letters?

If the silver proof medal was minted before the matte proof medal, it will be surprising if the matte proof medal has edge letters (including a medal number) and the proof medal does not.

I find it difficult to talk about proof and matte proof medals.  It is easier for me to refer to proof and mint state medals. 

Mark Bonke

Offline mmissinglink

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2014, 10:49:25 PM »
Hi Mark,

That is really awesome that you own a silver Great Wall medal! What is meant by "the medal number"? Is that an actual number stamped onto the rim which correlates to the sequential number of the medal minted? If yes, do you know if both versions of the Great Wall silver medals, the "Plum Flower Great Wall" as well as the "Beacon Tower Great Wall" have these numbers stamped onto the rims?


fwang,
thanks for shedding new light on these medals for me. I find it very interesting that these medals were apparently never intended to be sold retail but were made to be given as gifts. Would you have any idea who these medals would have been gifted to? Dignitaries? China Bank executives? Wealthy foreign (meaning British or American) business partners of the China Bank (why else the explicit English text used)? Any ideas on this?

Truly fascinating to learn this.

Offline mmissinglink

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2014, 10:54:30 PM »
There's an eBay auction for a "bronze" version of the "Plum Flower Great Wall" medal. One of the included pictures is linked below. The dimple that is clearly present, does that indicate that this is a fake? Wouldn't a genuine medal not have such a dimple?

http://www.auctiva.com/hostedimages/showimage.aspx?gid=1088074&ppid=1122&image=757317553&images=757317527,757317531,757317553,757317519,757317513,757317510,757317504,757317501,757317495&formats=0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0&format=0

Offline SANDAC

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2014, 11:01:47 PM »
Yea, that dimple is troublesome.  Here are 4 NGC certificated 1987 bronze great wall for your reference:
2774666-004
3563558-001
3563558-002
3688441-001


edit: oh wait, the one shown spell heroes as "HEROS".  The 1987 spelled "HEROES", so they are different.  Not an apple-to-apple comparison.  Oops, never mind... :blushing:

Offline mmissinglink

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Re: Am I the only one who is still confused about the Great Wall medal?
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2014, 11:35:47 PM »
All 4 of those NGC bronze/copper Great Wall medals have the correct spelling "HEROES" and all are with clouds. I wonder if there are any graded that have no clouds? Is the version without clouds more rare?


EDIT:  Okay, I corrected this post after re-reading fwang's posts again. Apparently, the bronze/copper 1985 re-mint has the incorrect spelling. I initially incorrectly assumed that the spelling of this version was corrected. But the entire design with the correct spelling is what changed....I think. But then again, if the mint can change the design by removing the "1980", couldn't they change the "HEROS" to "HEROES" on the "Plum Flower Great Wall" version?





« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 11:56:35 PM by mmissinglink »