SCOTT SEMANS WORLD COINS
Chinese CD ROM: A Review (064)

   Each listing in the sub-sub-category contains an image, description in Chinese, and valuation in yuan. Images are primarily in color, but there are some images of rubbings. Quality of the images ranges from very poor to excellent. I would say that overall the quality is acceptable. In any event, a picture of the real coin gives you a better feel of what the coin should look like than the line drawings (Schjoth), woodcuts (Lockhart), or rubbings (Ding Fu Bao), that we are used to. However, these traditional sources are much better for identifying new coins.

   There are many rarities shown, including a gold Kai Yuan Tong Bao, Sogdian coins, and Khotanese coins. There are also some items that I have never seen in any catalog, including gold persimmon money, gold horseshoe money, gold kirin hoof money, gold bars, gold bricks, silver cowrie money, and other noble metal coins. Other miscellaneous items include moulds, printing plates, and seals used to stamp paper money. The CD does not really cover many varieties for certain groups, such as the Ming Knife series, which is represented by two coins -- one curved back knife, and one angle back knife.

   The valuations give a rough estimate of the rarity of each item, but does not mean anything in the real market. Many rarities are very much underpriced, and in one case ridiculously so! A Khotanese coin (I believe of Turfan) is listed at 30 yuan (under $4), but is probably worth several hundred dollars U.S. at least.

   "The disk also includes a glossary of terms related to Chinese numismatics, a section on selected rarities, identification of fakes, and an index." Overall, I think that the CD is a very nice disk that shows some items that you will never see outside of the Shanghai Museum, and can drool over, but it's value for attribution is only limited. Similarly, it's valuations are not useful (in my opinion) except for in a general way.

System Requirements: PC 486/33MHz, 8MB HD, and Windows 3.1 or better

Installation: 1) Use Windows Explorer to access your CD ROM. 2) Click the installation icon 3) Click the red seal on the left to install. The red seal on the right is to exit installation

How to use the disk: On Main Menu:
a) Place the cursor on the category title to reveal sub-categories
b) Click sub-category for sub-sub-categories
c) Place cursor on icon of characters orbiting coins to reveal menu
for glossary, rarities, fake detection, and index
d) Click x at upper right for exit window
Click left character to exit (shi = yes)
Click right character to return (fo = no)

On Sub-Category Menu:
a) Click the red seal ("bi") for overview of subcategory
Click page to close
b) Click sub-sub-category to see coins
c) Click gold lions at bottom corners to advance/return through sub-categories
d) Click icon of characters orbiting coins to return to main menu

On Sub-Sub-Category Page:
a) Upper left corner tells how many types in each sub-sub-category
b) Click clouds to advance/return through types
c) Click yin-yang to advance/return through sub-sub-categories
d) Click x at upper right to close window.

   Reviewed by Eric Yin (eyin@hsc.usc.edu)

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