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New Way 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.

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