Author Topic: Zeng Chenghu discussing coin dies including those for pagodas and goldfish  (Read 15950 times)

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Offline SANDAC

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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