to Catalog China
By David C. Harper
China is very much on the
mind of the staff of World Coin News as 2008 gets
rolling. We know we are not alone. It is a vast
country with an ancient culture. Its capital,
Beijing, will host the Olympic Games this summer. It
will be a very large get-acquainted meeting of the
world with China and its future.
As you can see from the cover, we all are about to
turn the page on the Chinese Lunar calendar to the
Year of the Rat with all the fireworks and
celebration that goes with the arrival of a new year.
The world's mints have taken notice and are issuing
large numbers of coins to mark the occasion. It seems
like only yesterday that World Coin News noted that
Hong Kong began a Chinese Lunar New Year
commemorative series in 1976, which was the Year of
the Dragon. It proved popular with collectors very
quickly and other world mints jumped in with their
commeratives to add to what is now a world cultural
and numismatic phenomenon. Author Kerry Rodgers takes
a look at the various coins that will mark the latest
year in the 12-animal Chinese calendar cycle.
However, all is not celebration. There is also hard
work. Since the very first Standard Catalog of World
Coins was introduced 35 editions ago, the People's
Republic has been cataloged and organized by "Y"
numbers. This year, the Krause-Mishler numbers have
been applied and a conversion is in process.
In printed form, the first evidence of this appears
beginning on Page 55 of this issue. The catalog staff
knows transitions have their difficulties. In order
to help collectors and dealers make it, we have
provided four pages of cross-references of "Y"
numbers and their KM number counterparts.
When the 36th edition of the Standard Catalog hits
the world's book stores in late May, these new
numbers will be used. They are also available online
on the NumisMaster.com database.
No transition is ever without problems, but it is the
hope of everyone on staff that by providing guides
along the way that we can all move forward as
comfortably and logically as possible. George Cuhaj
provides his e-mail address. It is for questions,
suggestions and comments.
Sometimes it is easy to think that we should leave
well enough alone. Why after all these years does the
Standard Catalog rock the boat this year? Good
question. It is no secret that Chinese numismatics is
getting hotter and hotter. Newcomers are streaming
into the field. Collectors tend to remember best what
they start with, so it was felt the time had come to
jump in and do the necessary work.
The renumbering process also facilitated the
inclusion of 300 previously missing listings.
As evidence of this growing enthusiasm for Chinese
coins, news stories of record Chinese coin auction
prices emphasize the fact that collectors of Chinese
coins are becoming progressively more prominent and
more willing to spend ever larger sums of money to
acquire the coins of that nation.
This conversion to KM numbers is not complete through
all pre-1949 coins. There is no telling how long it
will take to complete the process of renumbering the
country through further political periods, but a good
start has been made.
One thing that must always be remembered is the
restless nature of all collectors to both learn more
and to better organize what they know. As long as
these tendencies exist, the Standard Catalog staff
will have plenty to keep it busy.