Author Topic: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish  (Read 16018 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Mr. Zeng Chenghu, director of the Die Manufacturing Dept. of Shanghai Mint, is currently discussing hand-engraved dies on bqcoin.com. Here is the link:

http://bbs.bqcoin.com/read-htm-tid-4867-page-4.html

The discussion covers medals from Shanghai Mint, pagodas and goldfish included. Those who know Chinese can register and participate in the discussion directly. For those who do not know Chinese, Google Translate may help with the discussions (but not the mail post, which is made up of graphics files). Or I can help to translate and post your questions. He is very nice and responds to every question.

Offline SANDAC

  • Supporter
  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (+8)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2246
  • Karma: 118
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2014, 12:49:49 AM »
Good discussion.  So let me see if I got this right:
1.  A hand engraved die is where the designer carved the original design 1-to-1 on to a master die(祖模)
.  The master die is used to produce working dies.  When a working die is worn out, a new working die can be produced from the master die.  So the hand engraved die making process eliminated the 10x original design and the 10-to-1 pantograph reduction process, presumably to save cost and time.
2.  There are special knowledge and artistry associated with making of the working die from a master die, so even with the same master die the quality of working dies may vary.
3.  Repair of the working dies are production issues and the original designer may not be aware of.

Mr. Zeng mentioned on his last post that (original text: 古塔剪影图案的一面是用铜版(即把图案腐蚀在铜版上)在立雕机上雕刻的,而不是手工直接钢刻的,包括金鱼剪影的一面也一样。如果再版和原版有较大差异,那么此面有可能是重新雕过的,因为这是生产和销售的事,他们不必通知原作者。) the silhouette of pagoda side (SANDAC's question: the reverse side?) was done with etched copper plates, not hand engraved steel die.  This is also the case with the reverse of goldfish.  If there are significant differences then it may due to redesign (SANDAC's question: as in a new master die?) and were production/sale decision not involving the original designer.  An intriguing comment since it is the reverse of the brass/silver/gilt/silver-plated pagoda that have most readily discernable differences.

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2014, 01:20:36 AM »
Good discussion.  So let me see if I got this right:
1.  A hand engraved die is where the designer carved the original design 1-to-1 on to a master die(祖模)
.  The master die is used to produce working dies.  When a working die is worn out, a new working die can be produced from the master die.  So the hand engraved die making process eliminated the 10x original design and the 10-to-1 pantograph reduction process, presumably to save cost and time.
2.  There are special knowledge and artistry associated with making of the working die from a master die, so even with the same master die the quality of working dies may vary.
3.  Repair of the working dies are production issues and the original designer may not be aware of.

Mr. Zeng mentioned on his last post that (original text: 古塔剪影图案的一面是用铜版(即把图案腐蚀在铜版上)在立雕机上雕刻的,而不是手工直接钢刻的,包括金鱼剪影的一面也一样。如果再版和原版有较大差异,那么此面有可能是重新雕过的,因为这是生产和销售的事,他们不必通知原作者。) the silhouette of pagoda side (SANDAC's question: the reverse side?) was done with etched copper plates, not hand engraved steel die.  This is also the case with the reverse of goldfish.  If there are significant differences then it may due to redesign (SANDAC's question: as in a new master die?) and were production/sale decision not involving the original designer.  An intriguing comment since it is the reverse of the brass/silver/gilt/silver-plated pagoda that have most readily discernable differences.

A couple of corrections:

1. A hand engraved master die has a negative image on it, unlike the master hub from the reducing machine. So a working hub has to be made from this master die, and then working dies made from the working hub. Working dies for restriking coins later on are supposedly made from the working hub, not the master die.

2. Hand engraving is a long and tough process. It is said that it took the Shanghai Mint engraver Bai Wenjun almost a year to hand engrave all the 8 sides in the Plum, Orchid, Bamboo and Chrysanthemum set. So engraving dies by hand is not for the purpose of saving money or time. Rather it is to showcase their skills and mastery of the art. The tails of goldfish are simply amazing if examined under magnifiers, so are the details of the Guilin Landscape medals.

What Mr. Zeng points out sometimes is common sense, but only known to the mint people, such as the skills involved in each step of die making, and die touching up by junior engravers either during die making or die repair. Yet the work of these junior engravers may result in differences among the products struck, or varieties.

It is interesting to know that the reverse side of pagodas and goldfish were not hand engraved, but produced on a milling machine. That explains a few things, such as the inverted v shapes on the S lines on pagoda's reverse. I was going to ask him how it was possible to make these lines by hand.

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2014, 01:29:47 AM »
Here is a picture of the hand engraved goldfish, from RAREMEDAL. The hand engraving cuts on the tail of the goldfish are very visible. (The horizontal lines in the lower part of the tail are cracks in the capsule.)



Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2014, 01:42:31 AM »
Details of a medal from the Guilin Lanscape set, which is 27 mm (a little more than an inch) in diameter. Hand engraved by the former director of Die Manufacturing Dept. of Shanghai Mint, Fang Maosen:


Offline pandamonium

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2037
  • Karma: 26
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2014, 08:27:53 AM »
I could not open the link so did forward it to another collector to send back to me.   Could you list the MCC w/ hand engraved dies?   The details are terrific.   These MCC should see high demand as we go forward........

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2014, 11:43:50 AM »
I could not open the link so did forward it to another collector to send back to me.   Could you list the MCC w/ hand engraved dies?   The details are terrific.   These MCC should see high demand as we go forward........
I will provide a list later on. But please be aware that these hand engraved pieces are all medals, not coins. It is not possible for the engraver to spend months hand engraving a die of a coin, as coin production has to meet certain schedules. As pieces of art, they are top notch, but it does not mean they are the best investment in MCC. I am collecting these hand engraved medals, mostly brass, because I like them, not because of their investment potential. I actually feel relieved when I collect such medals as I do not have to think about their returns. 

Offline poconopenn

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+7)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2607
  • Karma: 225
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2014, 05:08:58 PM »
Here is the process in make production die.

Hand-crafted or machine milled die (positive image)---> master die (negative image)---> working hubs (positive image)---> Production dies (negative image)---> coins (positive image).

Depending on the mintage of coin/medal, multiple of working hubs may be made in order to make enough production dies for minting the coins.

Master die, as mentioned by Mr. Zeng, does not use as a production die in minting process in any Mint, except counterfeiter who copies coin/medal (positive image) to make master/production die (negative image).

Offline poconopenn

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+7)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2607
  • Karma: 225
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2014, 05:26:16 PM »
Fwang,

When you ask Mr. Zeng about 本铜 (copper) pagoda set as in your post (attached), I assume this is not brass set. Do I correct? Brass is yellow copper in Chinese.  

 尊雅
 
级别: 新手上路
•   关注Ta
•   发消息
只看该作者 地板   发表于: 09-13
引用
引用第2楼fwang2450于2014-09-12 23:41发表的  :
手雕工艺的总结之作,信息量真大,很多都是第一次了解。慢慢看,慢慢记,慢慢问,慢慢收。

先想问先生1个问题。四大名楼章市面上都是镀金的,是否有本铜版的?

 

本铜版的没有生产过

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2014, 06:12:55 PM »
Fwang,

When you ask Mr. Zeng about 本铜 (copper) pagoda set as in your post (attached), I assume this is not brass set. Do I correct? Brass is yellow copper in Chinese.  

 尊雅
 
级别: 新手上路
•   关注Ta
•   发消息
只看该作者 地板   发表于: 09-13
引用
引用第2楼fwang2450于2014-09-12 23:41发表的  :
手雕工艺的总结之作,信息量真大,很多都是第一次了解。慢慢看,慢慢记,慢慢问,慢慢收。

先想问先生1个问题。四大名楼章市面上都是镀金的,是否有本铜版的?

 

本铜版的没有生产过

本铜 here refers to solid brass, in contrast to gilt or silver plated brass. As far as I know, the material for early small size medals was brass, not copper. 本 here is used as opposed to gilt/silver plated.

The question was not about pagodas, but the famous towers, as shown in the pictures below. As they are gilt, with a line-art kind of design, they have not been popular. But this was the first time I had learned that the set was hand-engraved, too.

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2014, 06:26:50 PM »
Here is the process in make production die.

Hand-crafted or machine milled die (positive image)---> master die (negative image)---> working hubs (positive image)---> Production dies (negative image)---> coins (positive image).

Depending on the mintage of coin/medal, multiple of working hubs may be made in order to make enough production dies for minting the coins.

Master die, as mentioned by Mr. Zeng, does not use as a production die in minting process in any Mint, except counterfeiter who copies coin/medal (positive image) to make master/production die (negative image).

The hand engraved die has a negative image, not a positive image. So it is a die (negative). The master hub produced by the reducing machine has a positive image, which has to be pressed onto the master die.

Hand engraved dies have fewer steps in their making, removing clay, negative plaster, positive plaster, electrotype and reducing from the die making process.  So the image quality and details are better preserved.

Offline SANDAC

  • Supporter
  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (+8)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2246
  • Karma: 118
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2014, 08:17:55 PM »
I'm interested to know at what point of the die making process the Chinese characters are created, and when date/denomination are created.  We know in panda, different mints usually have different size date, so date is certainly put down at different time.  However, there are also large number of varieties with shifted or different size Chinese characters, much more frequent than different graphic designs, so I think Chinese characters were also added later.  I wonder if Mr. Zeng can shed some light on the sequence of creation for the Chinese characters, denomination and date with respect to the graphic designs.

Another curiosity is die rotation of obverse with respect to reverse.  Frequently there are 2, 3, or even more die rotation in a MCC.  Vast majority of them are too minor to be considered as mint error, but they are definitely there and quite common.  Shouldn't there be an integrated index key when a die is created?

Offline poconopenn

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+7)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2607
  • Karma: 225
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2014, 08:45:04 PM »
The hand engraved die has a negative image, not a positive image. So it is a die (negative).

This is news to me.  You are suggesting that Chinese artists are so good that they can use chisel and hammer to make a negative image of the design in a hard steel blank. This is also very different from the process in other mints.

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2014, 09:07:56 PM »
This is news to me.  You are suggesting that Chinese artists are so good that they can use chisel and hammer to make a negative image of the design in a hard steel blank. This is also very different from the process in other mints.
This is from Mr. Zeng's mini blog:

“手雕的制作方式是:把图稿缩至产品大小→用榔头、凿子、雕刻刀在落样的钢料上一比一的雕刻(一般是雕刻阴纹)→模具淬火→压印产品。如果阴纹雕刻有失误或是图案中有阴阳图案的话,还需有翻制阳纹、阴纹模具的二次雕刻与修改的反复。”

一般是雕刻阴纹 means "generally a negative image is engraved".

From my reading of Walter Breen's Dies and Coinage, hand-engraved dies were negative from the very beginning of Western coin making, as the image on the coin was positive. Later on either positive or negative images were hand engraved. But as far as I know, Shanghai Mint engravers worked on the negative images. If you read his main post (image page 62), he made this point very clear. So apparently the Chinese artists are as good as ancient artists before hand engraving was used to make hubs.  :001_smile:

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2014, 09:20:14 PM »
I'm interested to know at what point of the die making process the Chinese characters are created, and when date/denomination are created.  We know in panda, different mints usually have different size date, so date is certainly put down at different time.  However, there are also large number of varieties with shifted or different size Chinese characters, much more frequent than different graphic designs, so I think Chinese characters were also added later.  I wonder if Mr. Zeng can shed some light on the sequence of creation for the Chinese characters, denomination and date with respect to the graphic designs.

Another curiosity is die rotation of obverse with respect to reverse.  Frequently there are 2, 3, or even more die rotation in a MCC.  Vast majority of them are too minor to be considered as mint error, but they are definitely there and quite common.  Shouldn't there be an integrated index key when a die is created?
In his reply to my question about dates, Mr. Zeng mentioned that dates were added later on, on the plaster or hubs/dies, but not on the clay model. What Chinese characters do you have in mind? Can you give an example, so that I can ask him?

I am not clear about your question on die rotation either. But please beware that he is not involved in production. If you are talking about the alignment of the reverse vs the obverse, I assume he would not exactly know. Anyway such die rotations are common from all mints, I assume?

Offline SANDAC

  • Supporter
  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (+8)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2246
  • Karma: 118
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2014, 12:37:48 AM »
Most of the varieties associated with Chinese characters/denomination/date are already documented here on CCF:

Variations in Chinese characters have two main variants:
1.  Difference in the characters used.  This variant has only a few examples:
Extra parenthesis of 1997 Khan, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=5340.0, pictures were removed, but you can compare 2783437-070 (with parentheses) with 2782524-015 (without parentheses)
Different size text in 1994 1/2oz I&D Comet, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=5436.msg31929#msg31929

2.  Shift in Chinese characters.  This variant has many examples:
1984 G50Y panda, broken leg (离耳版), http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=8990.msg52505#msg52505
1994 Children with cat, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=2618.msg45059#msg45059
1994 20 oz unicorn, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=2618.msg56503#msg56503
1995 50yuan 5oz Return of Taiwan , http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=9705.msg56532#msg56532
1995 12oz S100Y unicorn, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=4150.msg60096#msg60096  edit: this example is actually both shift in characters (center picture vs right picture) and different text size (left picture vs center picture)
I know there are more examples, but these are what I can find tonight.

Shifted denomination examples:
1994 unicorn S10 BU, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=10163.msg60754#msg60754
2001 snake, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=8062.0

Shifted date examples:
1998 S5Y panda, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=3626.msg56896#msg56896
1990 Dragon&Phoenix, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=6886.msg48231#msg48231

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2014, 07:27:31 PM »
Most of the varieties associated with Chinese characters/denomination/date are already documented here on CCF:

Variations in Chinese characters have two main variants:
1.  Difference in the characters used.  This variant has only a few examples:
Extra parenthesis of 1997 Khan, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=5340.0, pictures were removed, but you can compare 2783437-070 (with parentheses) with 2782524-015 (without parentheses)
Different size text in 1994 1/2oz I&D Comet, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=5436.msg31929#msg31929

2.  Shift in Chinese characters.  This variant has many examples:
1984 G50Y panda, broken leg (离耳版), http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=8990.msg52505#msg52505
1994 Children with cat, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=2618.msg45059#msg45059
1994 20 oz unicorn, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=2618.msg56503#msg56503
1995 50yuan 5oz Return of Taiwan , http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=9705.msg56532#msg56532
1995 12oz S100Y unicorn, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=4150.msg60096#msg60096  edit: this example is actually both shift in characters (center picture vs right picture) and different text size (left picture vs center picture)
I know there are more examples, but these are what I can find tonight.

Shifted denomination examples:
1994 unicorn S10 BU, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=10163.msg60754#msg60754
2001 snake, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=8062.0

Shifted date examples:
1998 S5Y panda, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=3626.msg56896#msg56896
1990 Dragon&Phoenix, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=6886.msg48231#msg48231

I will ask him some questions, but if he was not aware of the varieties on his own pagodas, I doubt whether he ever noticed these, although he may suggest causes of such differences.

Offline SANDAC

  • Supporter
  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (+8)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2246
  • Karma: 118
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2014, 09:54:25 PM »
Indeed, I don't expect Mr. Zeng to pay much attention to the various varieties.  From his point of view these are distractions taking away the intent of the artist.  They should be rejected, certainly should not have left the mint.  However, what were mint's rejects are collector's treasures!

If the various Chinese characters, denomination, date devices were added at different stages of die making, and the die has no index pin, then shift/offset are inevitable.  This knowledge will help me craft a search methodology to look for such differences.

I've also noticed that occurrence of varieties are not uniform, different years have different frequency of occurrences.  From my limited experience, the unicorn are a particularly striking example.  The 1994 unicorn has at least a dozen varieties, but 1995 and 1996 have much fewer occurrences.  Understanding of such yearly differences will help me narrow the search.  This is an immature and rapidly developing area of MCC.

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2014, 11:21:19 PM »
Here is a list of coin-size hand-engraved early medals from Shanghai Mint. I added the artists who worked on them.

Ancient Pagodas:   Zeng Chenghu

Auspicious Palace Lantern (7 medals in the set):   Yi Shizhong (Cranes and the reverse of all), Ye Zhonghua (Draon and Pheonix), Gong Yiting (Phoenix), Zeng Chenghu (Double Dragon), Ye Bolin (Elephant), Fang Maosen (Kirin and the Corner Tower),
(See pictures below)

Li Qingzhao:   Bai Wenjun


Guilin Landscape:   Fang Maosen (The picture shows the gilt set, as I cannot find the picture for a solid copper set.)



Cao Xueqin:   Fang Maosen


Shrimps and Crabs:   Bai Wenjun



Flowers and the Moon:   Yi Shizhong




Goldfish:   Yi Shizhong

Plum, Orchid, Bamboo, Chrysanthemum:   Bai Wenjun



Famous Ancient Towers:   Huang Jian


The pictures below are from the Auspicious Palace Lantern set, in the order of the reverse (palace lantern), Kirin, Cranes, Lion, Corner Tower,  Dragon and Phoenix, Phoenix, Double Dragon

Offline pandamonium

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2037
  • Karma: 26
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2014, 09:27:19 AM »
Very nice.    Hand engraved silver is only the 1984 pagoda and 84 goldfish?..........

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2014, 11:32:33 AM »
Very nice.    Hand engraved silver is only the 1984 pagoda and 84 goldfish?..........
Apparently Shanghai Mint made an extremely small number of silver medals with the dies for brass. Li Qingzhao is found to have a silver version. It will not be surprising if someday we run across a silver Cao Xueqin or Shrimps and Crabs.

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2014, 11:44:23 AM »
I need to make a correction. The Corner Tower is not in the original set of Auspicious Palace Lantern, although it bears the same reverse, because it is not one of the auspicious animals.

The Auspicious Palace Lantern set bearing the year 1980 is extremely rare. No collector has a complete set yet. The set without 1980 is considered restrikes and is relatively easier to find.

I missed the picture of the elephant. Here it is. I am also adding a bigger picture for the Palace Lantern side. Enjoy the hand crafted art of Shanghai Mint artists!

Offline NBM

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+4)
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 732
  • Karma: 31
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2014, 02:00:08 PM »
Thank you to all who have shared their insights and knowledge.

Here is a list of coin-size hand-engraved early medals from Shanghai Mint. I added the artists who worked on them.

Can you tell us what years these were issued?

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2014, 06:47:06 PM »
Thank you to all who have shared their insights and knowledge.

Can you tell us what years these were issued?
This is what I could dig out:

Ancient Pagodas: 1984
Auspicious Palace Lantern (7 medals in the set): 1979
Li Qingzhao: 1983
Guilin Landscape: ?
Cao Xueqin: 1983
Shrimps and Crabs: 1983
Flowers and the Moon: 1981
Goldfish: : 1984
Plum, Orchid, Bamboo, Chrysanthemum: 1981
Famous Ancient Towers: 1993



Offline Hippanda

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 860
  • Karma: 76
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2014, 08:03:00 PM »
Apparently Shanghai Mint made an extremely small number of silver medals with the dies for brass.

Hence the interest SANDAC has shown in illustrating the similarities of details of his "Kaiyuan-in question" silver Pagoda medal with the original brass version. Very intriguing possibilities, if it were indeed part of an "extremely small number of silver medals with the dies for brass."

"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

Confucius

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2014, 08:52:41 PM »
This is news to me.  You are suggesting that Chinese artists are so good that they can use chisel and hammer to make a negative image of the design in a hard steel blank. This is also very different from the process in other mints.
Here is some more evidence that hand-engraved negative dies were made in the 19th century. The passage is from Dennis Cooper's The Art and Craft of Coin Making, page 160.

Offline SANDAC

  • Supporter
  • Global Moderator
  • Trade Count: (+8)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2246
  • Karma: 118
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2014, 10:22:02 PM »
Here is the process in make production die.

Hand-crafted or machine milled die (positive image)---> master die (negative image)---> working hubs (positive image)---> Production dies (negative image)---> coins (positive image).
I re-read the NGC tutorial on varieties posted by 1668Chris, http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=9768.0  Given hand punch technique was still in use by the US mint as late as 1990-1991, I agree with 1668Chris that China Mint probably was also using hand punch technique for minor devices such as legends, denomination and date.  Possibly there are also touched up of fine details as described in page 3 of the NGC tutorial:

On early US coins, only the central devices were impressed into the die using a hub. These typically included the bust of Liberty and the figure of an eagle.
Liberty’s hair and the eagle’s feathers were often touched up afterward with a graving tool to bring them out more fully. Small elements, such as the leaves and stems of the wreath, were then added with individual punches.
The placement of stars, legends, the denomination and the date was also done with hand punches. The engraver used a compass to inscribe a circle for arranging these elements as neatly as possible, but their relative positions always varied enough that a numismatist may distinguish one die from another.


In reference to the die making flow, it occurs to me that punch can only be used on negative die, not the working hub (positive image).  So if the punch was used, it needs to be done on the master die (negative image) or the working die (negative image).  For the 1994 unicorn proof where only 4400 were minted, it is hard to imagine there can be three varieties of "P" if the "P" mark was punched on the master die.  So a plausible explaination is that working die was punched with "P" mark.  This may not be as crazy as it sounds because only relatively few 1994 unicorn proof were minted and each working die can make 700-3000 coins ( http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=10340.msg60846#msg60846 ).  So to extrapolate and generalize (I realize this is dangerous), if China mint's practice was to punch legend/denomination/date directly on the working die for small mintage coins, then it starts to make sense why so many shifted varieties existed and more are discovered.

Offline Hippanda

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 860
  • Karma: 76
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2015, 05:14:26 AM »
Photos of a very recent listing and sale of an obscure but nevertheless uniquely stylish medal struck my eye as perhaps having similarities to a style of the works of one engraver in particular (Yi Shizhong, who in addition to highly detailed medals shown in photos 2 and 3 also designed Goldfish)

First photo:  of the medal in question

Second photo: of the hand engraved 1981 Blooming Flower Full Moon Phoenix

Third photo: of Cranes,  from the hand engraved 1980 Palace Lantern Series

Style similarities ?  Coincidence?

Might this medal actually be an overlooked early work of Yi Shizhong?


"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

Confucius

Offline fwang2450

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+5)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 994
  • Karma: 172
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #28 on: September 20, 2015, 02:25:19 PM »
Photos of a very recent listing and sale of an obscure but nevertheless uniquely stylish medal struck my eye as perhaps having similarities to a style of the works of one engraver in particular (Yi Shizhong, who in addition to highly detailed medals shown in photos 2 and 3 also designed Goldfish)

First photo:  of the medal in question

Second photo: of the hand engraved 1981 Blooming Flower Full Moon Phoenix

Third photo: of Cranes,  from the hand engraved 1980 Palace Lantern Series

Style similarities ?  Coincidence?

Might this medal actually be an overlooked early work of Yi Shizhong?



There are many crane themed medals in China and Japan. The first one is crudely designed and struck. It is very unlikely to be from Shanghai Mint.
The bird in the second picture is a phoenix.

Offline Hippanda

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 860
  • Karma: 76
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #29 on: September 20, 2015, 03:31:13 PM »
There are many crane themed medals in China and Japan. The first one is crudely designed and struck. It is very unlikely to be from Shanghai Mint.
The bird in the second picture is a phoenix.

Thank you-
I should have been clearer.
Photos were offered as a way of suggesting similarity of style, not content.
Naturally there are many crane themed coins and medals, and the phoenix was named as "phoenix" and was submitted not as a crane but as an example of flow of lines and similarity of clouds in both designs. That should have been pointed out better.
The crane palace lantern medal was shown in order to illustrate simplicity of crane and the simple body dimples as feathers used in both.
Crudely designed and struck, thats a given, but influences of style can be seen, IMO.
A search has not shown another example of this medal, so it'll evidently have to remain a minor mystery for now.

"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

Confucius

Offline Hippanda

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 860
  • Karma: 76
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #30 on: October 17, 2017, 02:04:37 AM »
There are important differences between original 1984 Goldfish  (Mr Yi Shizhong ) which can help determine whether it's desired Silver, or just plated.  First die state (both brass and silver) DragonEyes have full water plant. (Pic1).  First Re-strikes have missing branch (pic 2) and second restrikes have repaired branch ( pic 3). Cheap silver plated do not have full branch version (except cheap gold gilded, oddly).  If medal is silver and Dragon Eyes has full branch (pic 1)  then it is original first die state Silver, without flaw and rare and valuable.  All three die states exist with original 1984 Goldfish.  There was once some bogus conjecture offered by a discredited poster that a flawless 1984 did not exist and that is why they were somehow not given due attention over Pagoda medal, but that is clearly erroneous.  Indeed- flawless 1984 original die state, with full water plant, does exist. See photos. Happy hunting!



** credit to FWang and others for photos and research.
"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

Confucius

Offline pandamonium

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2037
  • Karma: 26
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #31 on: October 17, 2017, 08:10:02 AM »
Interesting.    If there are 2 restrikes of the 84 silver goldfish then what is actual mintage?      I have seen on ebay - list and sell 3 OMP silver goldfish sets in the last yr (plus graded sets).
How about silver Plate goldfish?    Are there photos to distinguish real silver from Plate?     Was this info on another CCF post?

How about this 1980 Chinese Exhibition horse w/ swallow photo in PF 66?     3 piece set w/ Handshake and Bao He Palace.     Probably not, but is this hand engraved dies?      Ebay photo.....

Offline Hippanda

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 860
  • Karma: 76
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #32 on: October 17, 2017, 10:29:56 AM »
Correction : did not mean to write restrikes : meant second die states and third die states.   
"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

Confucius

Offline PandaQuest

  • Trade Count: (+14)
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 404
  • Karma: 12
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #33 on: October 17, 2017, 12:26:12 PM »
IMHO, pic #2 looks like the same die as #3 but worn down and polished. Maybe #2 was reworked.

Offline Hippanda

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 860
  • Karma: 76
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #34 on: October 17, 2017, 01:34:12 PM »
I can see how that is possible.
"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

Confucius

Offline bonke

  • Trade Count: (+2)
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 418
  • Karma: 28
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2017, 12:09:58 PM »
After reading the post about the three die states, I looked at my three silver Dragon Eyes medals and my two silver-plated brass Dragon Eyes medals.  My silver medals are 1-first die state and 2-third die state varieties.  My silver-plated medals are both second die state varieties.  In the past, there were posts about these die states because I already had small stickers on the NGC slabs showing the appropriate die state.

I have not purchased one of these medals for many years and have lost track of the discussion about them.

Mark Bonke

Offline Hippanda

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 860
  • Karma: 76
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #36 on: October 24, 2017, 01:54:55 AM »
IMHO, pic #2 looks like the same die as #3 but worn down and polished. Maybe #2 was reworked.

It is difficult to make judgements off of photos, where lighting can affect perceived quality of strike. Much better to judge actual coins under magnification and good images. I pulled out my set of die state 1 with water plant intact, to examine under magnification, and compared with several magnified images of die state 2 and 3. Details which either show up, or not, on photos can furnish clues which can help lead to an educated guess.  On specimen #3, (with the water plant stem apparently added) there is some detail missing in the area before the tail, which is evident in both specimens 1 and 2. Also, water plant under fish belly does not seem to reach as far as 1 and 2.  Therefore it seems logical to conclude photo specimen 2 although faulty due to poor photo quality, has some details of #1 while 3 does not, supporting previous theories about water plant being intact on die state 1, missing on die state 2, then stem added on die state 3, which seems to make most sense.
"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

Confucius

Offline poconopenn

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+7)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2607
  • Karma: 225
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #37 on: October 28, 2017, 02:03:03 PM »
It is difficult to make judgements off of photos, where lighting can affect perceived quality of strike. Much better to judge actual coins under magnification and good images. I pulled out my set of die state 1 with water plant intact, to examine under magnification, and compared with several magnified images of die state 2 and 3. Details which either show up, or not, on photos can furnish clues which can help lead to an educated guess.  On specimen #3, (with the water plant stem apparently added) there is some detail missing in the area before the tail, which is evident in both specimens 1 and 2. Also, water plant under fish belly does not seem to reach as far as 1 and 2.  Therefore it seems logical to conclude photo specimen 2 although faulty due to poor photo quality, has some details of #1 while 3 does not, supporting previous theories about water plant being intact on die state 1, missing on die state 2, then stem added on die state 3, which seems to make most sense.

IMO, based on the pictures, medal in picture 1 is an earlier stage die, medal in picture 2 is a later stage die and picture 3 is a reworked die, as suggested of frosty design differences in the marked areas.

Offline Hippanda

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 860
  • Karma: 76
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #38 on: October 28, 2017, 06:40:36 PM »
Agreed. 
"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

Confucius

Offline Hippanda

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 860
  • Karma: 76
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #39 on: October 29, 2017, 02:37:27 AM »
Question : How can this whole cluster of water plant "disappear" from the first die?
"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

Confucius

Offline poconopenn

  • Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+7)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2607
  • Karma: 225
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #40 on: October 29, 2017, 05:16:00 PM »
Question : How can this whole cluster of water plant "disappear" from the first die?

Hippanda

As always, your question is very thoughtful and right to the point of the mysterious part of this 1984 goldfish set. Apparently, I have reached my opinion pre-mutually. Unlike “vanished features” (usually thin lines) of Historical Figures as shown in SANDAC’s postings in the following links, the vanished section of water plant in gold fish is too bulky to be attributed to a later stage of working die. The possibility of the removal of this water plant may be caused by polishing the working hub since the water plant is the raised part of the working hub. It is much more difficulty to polished away the raised part of medal designs on a working die (negative imagine) vs. working hub (positive imagine), especially for a relatively large section of the raised part of the design to be vanished without trace of visible residue.

http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=4585.msg25369#msg25369
http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=4585.msg25370#msg25370
http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=4585.msg26205#msg26205

“raremedal” also posted pictures in the following link for three versions of copper medals. Clearly the frosty designs of copper medals are different from silver medals in the marked areas in my previous posted pictures for these three versions; the picture of copper medal with a missed section of water plant has a design similar to silver medal with intact water plant, while copper medal with an intact water plant is similar to silver medal with a missed section of water plant.

http://www.coin001.com/read.php?tid=75456

“raremedal” stated that some of his pictures were copied from internet. We definitely need better pictures to rule out the possibility of “optical illusion” caused by the differences in angles and lightings used in those pictures.

Regardless of the differences of frosty designs which caused by frosty treatment of working die, we can conclude medals in picture 2 and picture 3 in previous post  were made from two different reworked working hubs.

Unlike most MCC which have multiple master dies (negative imagine), hand engraved medal, such as this medal, only has one master die, therefore, very limited working hub.


Offline Hippanda

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 860
  • Karma: 76
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #41 on: October 29, 2017, 08:00:28 PM »
Yes, poconopenn- mysteries still pop up unexplained.  Here is another one I noticed last year : there appears to be TWO different "water plant added" stem types : one is in line with plant as it would seem meant to be (shown in pic 1 silver medal) and the other out of line with plant, angled somewhat upwards on what appears to be brass or gilt brass medal (pic 2). (Somebody has mentioned there were no "copper" goldfish, brass was once mis-translated as copper) I've looked at it many times and cannot believe it is due to angle of camera. So possibly there were at least four different dies used for obverse?
And furthermore, speculating due to the differences in die state features you pointed out, the brass / gilt brass pic 2 shows more details than silver pic 1, so possibly the mal-aimed stem was added on die #3, and then possibly corrected and made straight on the last iteration with a later die?
"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

Confucius

Offline wg

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 804
  • Karma: 65
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #42 on: November 19, 2017, 11:02:39 AM »
IMO, based on the pictures, medal in picture 1 is an earlier stage die ...




Offline wg

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 804
  • Karma: 65
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #43 on: November 27, 2017, 10:37:40 AM »
1990 ag goldfish
1984 ag plated

Offline wg

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 804
  • Karma: 65
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #44 on: November 28, 2017, 06:22:22 AM »

Offline wg

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 804
  • Karma: 65

Offline wg

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 804
  • Karma: 65
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #46 on: November 29, 2017, 12:49:41 PM »
1.pic ag 84 .. the right water plant reaches to the fin of the g.fish
2.pic 84 ag plated
3.pic ag 1990

 

Offline Hippanda

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 860
  • Karma: 76
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #47 on: November 30, 2017, 12:09:45 AM »
Nicely done.  N31
"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

Confucius

Offline Hippanda

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 860
  • Karma: 76
Re: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish
« Reply #48 on: November 30, 2017, 12:15:43 AM »
  N29  N31 N6 N16 N18
"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

Confucius