Krause Standard Catalog
Summary of discussion on southasia-coins eGroup.
From: Kavan Ratnatunga
Date: 2000 Mar 9, 10:14am
Could I please ask if anyone in our group can explain the
basis on which coins are listed in Krause Catalog.
In the page below I discuss many errors in coins cataloged
for Sri Lanka particularly of recent years.
I would like to get advise on how to get the errors corrected.
I contacted Krause about 2-years ago and although I got
one E-mail from George Cuhaj who said he will investigate.
I sent him the recent references.
I have got no other reply despite some reminders.
I have also contacted John M. Kleeberg at ANS about them.
From: William F. Spengler
Date: 2000 Mar 9, 1:40pm
As a long-time contributor to Krause Publications catalogues regarding
listings of South Asian coins I can attempt to answer your question on
the "basis on which coins are listed in Krause catalogues".
The normal procedure is exactly the one you evidently followed two
years ago, namely, reporting suggested additions or changes in as much
detail as possible. The skilled and experienced cataloguers at KP
then either enter them directly into their computer data base or, if
there should be some question of acceptability, refer them to one of
their volunteer contributors, such as myself, for an opinion. In most
cases such suggested revisions find their way into the next "century"
issue of the SCWC.
I have no idea what might have happened to your suggestions but I will
follow up on that when I visit KP after next month's Chicago Coin Fair
to work on current catalogue revisions. Meanwhile, we thank you for
your past contributions and encourage you to continue to submit them
to the KP Cataloguing Department.
From: Satya Bhupatiraju
Date: 2000 Mar 9, 5:08pm
I had some Krause related questions (pertaining to South Asia Coins)
that I was going to post to the group. Here they are -
(1) I've noticed some KM numbers are skipped in some years, and
included in others. What is the rationale
(available space, arrangement of page etc.)?
(2) Sometimes you have only line-drawings for coins whose prices
indicate they should be relatively easily available. Why is this?
(coin shows better in drawings?)
(3) Have the KM numbers for South Asia reached relative stability
(i.e., can we expect the numbers to not change for the most part?)
(4) Does Krause sometimes reproduce photographs from other catalogs?
(for example, I've seen some Native States coins that were very similar
including cracks etc. to those in the BMC Native States catalog)
(5) Has there been a proposal at all to revive the South Asia catalog
by itself, rather than having to refer to 4-5 "century" catalogs?
From: Richard Anderson
Date: 2000 Mar 9, 9:20pm
I've noticed that some of the Mysore coin photos are the same as those
in Henderson (The coins of Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan).
It would be great if KM updated SAC - but I would guess the economics
of world coin collecting preclude this. I delayed a long while in
purchasing the 17th Century edition, since less than 5% of it is
relevant to my collecting interests, and I would guess that the South
Asian sections of the 16th Century edition will be even shorter.
From: William F. Spengler
Date: 2000 Mar 10, 1:10am
This replies to questions raised by Satya and Richard Anderson based
on my experience as a Krause contributor.
Someone at KP may wish to add more authoritative answers.
(1) I don't quite understand your observation that "some KM numbers
are skipped in some years and included in others".
Please clarify with some examples.
(2) Some line drawings are still carried even of common coins. Krause
policy is to replace line drawings with photos of real coins wherever
possible, even if the latter are not quite as legible as the
former. They depend on volunteer contributors -- like you both -- to
submit actual coins for illustration. (The advantage to the
contributor is that he/she then possesses the "Krause plate coin".)
(3) KM numbers have mostly reached "relative stability". Rarely the KP
cataloguers renumber a series to make for a more logical sequence, as
in the case of Afghanistan several years ago.
(4) Yes, KP borrows illustrations from other published catalogues,
especially when the latter are in the public domain; and from sale
catalogues and FPLs.
(5) For a long time KP has been willing to have an updated edition of
the South Asia catalogue published but only if printed in the
Subcontinent with good paper and plates. KP would provide
"camera-ready" plates including the material in its data base and
photofile. Here is a good opportunity for an entrepreneur in SouthAsia.
For Richard Anderson:
(1) Some photos of Mysore coins could well have been borrowed from Henderson,
see (4) above.
(2) Re updating SG/SOA, see (5) above.
(3) The South Asia sections of the forthcoming Krause "16th Century"
SCWC are likely to be longer rather than shorter due to the inclusion
of about 25 political divisions such as the Lodis (which I have
already drafted and submitted), the Timurid-Mughals (Babar, Humayun
and early Akbar), Suris and many Independent Kingdoms. And now Colin
Bruce, the main editor, has decided to push the beginning date back to
1451 AD which will allow inclusion of ever more rulers and some new
kingdoms. It will be well worth acquiring.
I hope this answers your concerns. Numismatically yours, Bill Spengler
From: Satya Bhupatiraju
Date: 2000 Mar 10, 10:11pm
(1) On behalf of the group, hearty welcome to:
Mr. George Cuhaj of Krause Publications, who takes care of South Asia
listings amongst other things. Thanks to Mr. Spengler for introducing
our group to Mr. Cuhaj.
(2) I asked why coins listed in one year in the catalog might be
skipped in a later year. I based this question on the following
incident - I bought an Afghan 5 rupee coin from Harlan Berk. We
(Berk's seller and I) looked for the coin in the 1998 (or 99) catalog I
believe, and didn't find it there. But the coin was listed in my 1995
catalog. My recollection might be flawed, in which case I retract my
question with apologies.
From: Stephen Album
Date: 2000 Mar 11, 00:49am
I have also noticed that periodically a listing in one edition of the
KM catalog disappears in the next one, only to reappear one or two or
more editions later, presumably because someone noticed the omission
and advised KM to restore the listing. When I worked at KM in the
mid-70s, the entire catalog was still assembled pretty much by hand,
and I do not how to what extent the catalog has by now been fully
computerized (anyone know??). In theory, the century cutoffs should
be pretty much automated, but I was told by Colin that three or four
years ago, that was not yet the case. So some things appear to have
been "lost" during the transition to century editions.
As an interim measure I can only suggest that each of us report such
glitches to KM, and specifically to George Cuhaj for South Asian
coins. Remember that George and the rest of the KM staff are
DEPENDENT on dealers and collectors the world over to report errors,
additions and suggestions for improvement.
I have always been opposed to the concept of the century editions.
I realize that the idea behind the move was that a specialist collector
or dealer will have to buy multiple volumes in order to have
references for all his collecting/dealing interests.
In my own experience with collectors, it has led to
(1) photocopying the relevant pages and NOT buying the entire book,
(2) continuing to use obsolete, often very obsolete, editions,
(3) giving up on collecting coins entirely (really!!).
I do not mean to disparage the KM catalogs.
Given the immense complexities of managing a catalog series
than has some 300,000+ listings and 200,000 photos, there is
absolutely no way that the catalog can be perfect. This holds
especially true for pricing. While it is relatively easy to price out
heavily traded series like US coins, British coins, perhaps even
British India 1835-1947 coins, pricing scantily traded series such as
IPS, Iran, or German state minors is simply impossible, due to lack of
price and auction records. Only a "man's best guess" is possible.
Moreover, at roughly $50 each, the KM catalogs are NOT overpriced.
However, my point is that a regional rather than a century division
would make very much more sense. In fact, with today's technology,
short runs (500-2000 copies) of specialized catalogs are feasible, not
so ten or twenty years ago. Moreover, as soon as the entire catalog
series is computerized into a single database, then regional editions
can be extracted from the overall database with a minimum of effort.
But the bottom line is the follows. Let us say we define South Asia
as Would you, as a collector of or dealer in South Asian coins prefer
to spend $90 for a short-run South Asia catalog with all centuries
included, or $50 each for a set of four (soon to be five) century
editions? If you agree with me that the $90 option is the better one,
please write to KM and state your piece.
By the way, as a dealer who handles a large variety of coins, the
century catalogs actually make sense. There is, in fact, no reason
why, again in light of today's printing technology, BOTH options
cannot be offered.
From: Nupam Mahajan
Date: 2000 Mar 11, 9:24am
You just said what I have been itching to say all along. One single
large volume having all the four centuries (and if possible, additional
coins from 16th century) of south Asia would be an excellent edition
for both collectors and dealers. I just get tired of handling those 4 huge
books all the time. I think 90$ is quite appropriate for it. I hope
representatives of KM would notice this necessity.
From: Scott Semans
Date: 2000 Mar 13, 1:09pm
I'd like to echo Steve Album's criticism of Krause's century editions.
They were considering going with regional editions, and I strongly
suspect they went the centuries route because they would sell more
books this way. It must have been clear that collectors would prefer
a 20th century edition, plus regional editions covering all periods. I
find it very hard to work with three or four books open on the table.
I still use mainly the 1996 for modern coins, the 1991 (19th ed)
double volume for older coins, and the 1986 (12th) double volume for
series where I need to see the Y#'s, not just KM#s.
For many years the Krause catalogs listed Yeoman and Craig #'s as
cross-references to their own KM #'s but when Whitman licensed Yeoman
to another publisher they wanted to phase out these references because
it helped keep the competition alive. A survey of collector opinion
they ran showed a clear preference for retaining the cross references,
even though they slanted their questions against this choice, but they
dropped them anyway. This is why I think that urging them to do
regional editions is a waste of time.
I believe they were not happy with the sales of their South Asian
catalog, so I wouldn't expect them to do another. It's possible to
get good printing and good plates out of an Indian publisher, but not
common, so perhaps there's hope.
Krause loves to rely on unpaid experts (hey, so do I!) and they are
fortunate that people like Bill Spengler regularly revise and extend
listings in India.
From: Stephen Album
Date: 2000 Mar 13, 6:47pm
I will again second Scott Semans' comments. I too find it very
awkward to have four thick volume simultaneously open.
However, I must further explain that the abandonment of the C and Y
numbers was not just an attempt to stifle the competition. Rather,
there were fears at the time that Krause could be subjected to a
lawsuit if they continued to list the numbers. I recall as far back
as the mid 1970s, Whitman refused adamantly to sell the rights to the
numbering system (Craig & Yeoman) to Krause, even though they had
phased out the respective catalogs and sacked the editor (Holland
Wallace). Western Publishing, which owned Whitman outright, was a
difficult company to deal with. May father had problems with them as
well; he was a magazine and book wholesaler in Vallejo, California,
and handled Western publications such as Little Golden Book, Little
Golden Coloring Books, and other children's books. But that's a long
From: Scott Semans
Date: 2000 Mar 14, 9:31am
I wonder how much fear of a lawsuit had to do with it, since they
still use Y and C numbers for many countries today, though they are
certainly in a better position to cease and desist if Western made an
issue of it. I still stock Yeoman and Craig catalogs but only sell
one or two each a year.
From: Stephen Album
Date: 2000 Sep 3, 4:21pm
The folks at SCWC rely on a network of contributors to supply
information about new issues; they do not do the research themselves.
If any member runs across a coin dated later than the early 1980s that
is not in the Standard Catalog, send them a clear photo or scan; even
a rubbing may be good enough to confirm the coin. Send it to the new
issues editor, Fred Borgmann, SCWC, 700 E. State St., Iola, Wisconsin
54990, USA. Scans can be sent to Fred Borgmann at coin_news@k..., for
inclusion in Fred's monthly new issues report, with appears in World
Coins News. They try their best to get all new issues reported either
in WCN or added to the next edition of SCWC, but sometimes they are
overwhelmed and lose submissions. I have been sending them an average
of 100 or more reports each year of unlisted coins, or photos of coins
listed without an illustration. Most of them get published, but some
do unfortunately fall through the cracks and disappear. But I don't
let this disturb me, and keep on sending stuff.
From: George Cuhaj, Krause Publicaitons
Date: 2000 Nov 1, 9:35am
Hi, i'm George Cuhaj, of the Krause Publications staff, and have been
lurking on this list for some time.
Thanks for the general interest in correcting our listings, and
offering coins for photography, hints where to find published
illustration material, and loaning us coins for direct photography.
Yes, we do accept coins for photography, but would like to know about
them before you send them in. Yes, we do refund postage and associated
costs. For scans our request is 100% size at 300 dpi jpgs. Again, let
us know before you progress, as someone else may already be doing
Our illustrations come from helpful collectors, dealers, museums and
auction houses. Authors and publishers of some specialized catalogs do
not always grant us permission to use their illustrations, thus others
may have illustrations that we do not, untill another source is
We usually have a three week turn around time for direct photography
requests. (We publish over 60 weekly or monthly magazines, and 600
books, so time is limited for coins and paper money.
On a personal note, my numismatic employment history so far is 6 years
at Krause, 5 at Stack's/Coin Galleries, and 8 at the American
From: Stan Goron, Croydon, UK
Date: 2000 Nov 1, 1:51pm
I have been using the KM volumes for cataloguing an important collection of
Indian State coins and have noted that there are many discrepancies in the
listings and in many cases prices quoted that have little to do with the
rarity or otherwise of quite a few coin types. A lot of revision is needed.
From: Scott Semans
Date: 2000 Nov 1, 2:44pm
Yes, the pricing hasn't changed for many years, while the popularity
of Indian coins has increased considerably lately. Someone commented
about British India. I always considered the pricing for this
ridiculously high, but the supply of UC coins has dried up in the last
few years so it's now nearly realistic. In general I've found the
fractional Rupees and coppers (excepting common types) to be too
low. The days of everyone collecting just Rupees and ignoring the
other denominations are long gone.
From: Kavan Ratnatunga
Date: 2000 Nov 1, 9:42pm
Hello George, I am very glad to read your posting.
I will provide whatever Krause needs with respect to images or loans
of recent SriLankan coins. I have even posted the image of the latest
coin issued just about 2-months ago at
I was disapointed not to see the three 1999 coins listed in the
Images of them are linked to a page I update as frequently as needed at
The Standard catalog has a use beyond just the Prices.
It is expected to be a complete accurate catalog as possible of all
coin issues. I agree this might be a difficult task for coins older
than about say 1850. What I find most difficult to understand are the
errors more recent than 1968 that I have listed in
when detailed records should be available from places like the Royal
Mint and also publications of the Central Banks.
I also include details of 3 off-metal Gold and Silver strikes
of 1978 and 1992 which are still unlisted.
Unlike subjective prices, listing of years of issue is very objective.
I am also trying to trace the authority on which a 1978 one cent type
made of Aluminium to the size of the one rupee got listed in
Krause 1999 as a Sri Lanka "pattern". An unofficial reply from
the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is that this was not a pattern.
I give details of a fantasy which has been listed by error as a
I am in contact with the Central Bank in Sri Lanka, and met with
the Suprintendent of Currency during my last visit in August 2000.
I hope our comments help to correct and improve the Krause catalog.
Let me know in what way I can help
From: Krish Khambadkone
Date: 2000 Nov 1, 9:51pm
Scott, I agree with you when you say that some of the coins under
British India are horribly overpriced. If you notice, this is only
for the higher grades and almost alway for the UNCs. There is a
really huge gap in price between the lower grades and higher grade
coins. Interestingly enough, I almost never encounter UNCs (hence the
really, really glad comment) in price lists sent out by US dealers but
in the UK, most of the dealers that I have purchased from, at least
the reputed ones like Spinx, Baldwins etc. carry a lot of high grade
(AUNC, UNC, Proof) British India coins.
From: Shailendra Bhandare
Date: 2000 Nov 1, 10:27pm
I agree wholeheartedly with Stan on the discrepancies in KM. A few
other things that need to be rectified is the year of publication
should be mentioned on the 'World Coins' catalogues sufficiently clear
so as to ascertain which edition we are looking at. I know that the
edition number is specified (17th, 18th, etc.) but it is confusing to
keep a chronological track of upgrades using this method. One day Stan
and myself kept wondering at which edition we were referring to,
because the edition I had in BM had some coins that Stan's reference
copy did not and vice versa!
Secondly, I feel that there is a need to establish a correlation
between sections compiled by different contributors, especially for
Indian coins. Coins of the same nominal issuing authority are found to
have been listed in two different sections and under two different
valuations. For example - in the SEA catalogue, rupee of Muhammad
Shah, Mumbai mint is listed as 'rare' in the Mughal section. The same
coin appears in the EIC Bombay presidency section as starting with
something like $15! I hope such obvious mistakes can be easily dealt
From: Rifki Sameem, Asian Collectibles Network
Date: 2000 Nov 2, 9:03pm
Can you please tell us how you have arrived at the pricing for the
Portuguese and Dutch period Ceylon coins, as well as the British
period copper dumps; I would most certainly be interested in buying
anything from this period from anywhere at your full, listed prices.
From: George Cuhaj, Krause Publicaitons
Date: 2000 Nov 2, 9:57am
Thanks for the comments of the past day.
Well, when I got on this list, I was warned that this might happen, and
would rather that individual instances of price modification be kept to
direct correspondence with us at the KP office, or that wholesale
generalizations be eliminated all together. Bashing of the product will
not get any of us a better product, but solid, reliable information -
sale results and price lists will. And remember, thir a local
differences in demand in differnt parts of the world.
It has been brought out by others before, that sometimes changes take
more than a full year to appear in our catalogs, depending on the
As to the possibility of a CD ROM version of the catalog, I would say
that it is a few years off. We are just now changing the informaiton in
the catalog into a relational data base, from a line-editing typesetting
system, then we'll have to scan in the 150,000 or so images.
From: Stan Goron
Date: 2000 Nov 2, 10:09am
When I have finished the current project, I will certainly have a go
at suggesting some amended prices for the Indian states and Mughal
sections, in collaboration with Shailendra if he has the time. I will
quote only for VF in the main, as that is the usual collecting
condition for silver coins and fine or VF for copper.
Generally it is easier to add or subtract a percentage premium for the
other grades; that can be done either by the editor or the
collector. I see little point in quoting for four grades especially as
so much also depends on the quality of the strike, whether the date or
dates are there, how much of the mint-name or the ruler's name is
there etc. There are many permutations. The collector or dealer armed
with the price for an average condition coin can then determine how
good the coin before him or her is and assess what a realistic price
should be. More difficult for beginners of course, but that should be
a stimulus to learn quickly about the series one is collecting or
selling, and to learn to read the coins. It still amazes me how many
would-be serious collectors of Indian coins, for example, cannot read
By the way, some years ago, I spent quite a bit of time marking up
suggested revised prices, sent the documents off to KM and never heard
another word nor saw any of the suggested prices utilised. I hope
things have changed since then
From: Kavan Ratnatunga
Date: 2000 Nov 2, 11:50am
Internet auctions such as ebay have created an international market
place which in time will hopefully minimize local differences, I read
someplace about a year ago that Krause had some deal with ebay as I
rember it was on the publication of it's magazine. Are coin prices
reached at ebay auctions being collected by Krause for future use in
Watching auctions of Lankan coins on ebay I have now got a far
better feel for the world market price of these coins, than I had
before a few years ago.
I agree an average over one to two years is important, because
of random fluctuations as well as to ensure an average of value of
sufficient sales. I hope the information is been collected so that
this could be done sometime.
From: Satya Bhupatiraju
Date: 2000 Nov 2, 2:35pm
First of all, many thanks to George for being a member of the group,
and for lending an ear... In my opinion, there is no question that
Krause catalogs are the best general catalogs around, and you are
performing a yeoman service (bad pun) to the numismatic community.
Also I don't think anyone has "bashed" Krause at all, I feel it is
just a group of well-meaning people yearning to make a best product
A few observations (please pardon my ignorance in these matters, I am
not an expert by any means, I am basing some of my comments on the
earlier Krause discussions we had where Steve Album, Scott Semans,
Mr. Spengler etc. had some insightful comments.)...I invite group
(1) When I saw Stan's email, I was wondering about why there would be
a disconnect between what Stan believes are the correct prices, and
the prices in Krause for coin issues - I guess it is a combination of
(a) prices taking time to be reflected in Krause, or not having been
updated for some time, given the time commitments required from
contributors who mostly volunteer their time?
(b) the thinly traded nature of South Asian Coins and hence
significant price variations with location, and Stan and Krause
looking at a different combination of markets? I assume it is easier
to capture sales data from Western dealers than from India, Pakistan
etc. Is this true, or is there a general understanding among experts
of what coins sell for locally in South Asia as well?
(c) a difference of opinion between Stan and Krause -(after all,
Krause must be relying on some experts and not uninformed opinion...)
(2) As Stan said - "prices will vary with completeness of
legend/date, weakness of strike, rarity of date, etc.", and Krause
does inform us to take care of some of these idiosyncracies in
considering prices. I guess it is our responsibility to keep
bringing to Krause's attention all specifics of date rarity issues,
misattributions etc., and Krause's to acknowledge and act on these
contributions (easier to theorize as I am doing,...)
I don't know in which direction Stan's concern lies mainly. I am
sure it depends on series, denomination, rarity of dates, condition
etc. My experience with Mughal coins has been - I've been able to
purchase the more common Mughal silver/copper coins, VF for silver, F-
VF for copper, (again, I have hardly ever bought rarities) for lower
than Krause prices almost always, from several sources.
(3) There have been several concerns raised on this forum that Krause
is not responsive to inputs (Kavan, Stan). George did mention
Krause's policy in his mail yesterday in which Krause would act
rather quickly, I am sure it is their intent to follow this policy,
may be George can comment on why some inputs went unanswered...
(4) Finally, I guess given the nature of its catalogs, Krause serves
several constituencies, right from novice to expert, it is remarkable
that relatively inexperienced people such as myself, refer to Krause
right from the start(I bought a 1985 edition from CM Desai in India
and now use the SAC as well as the 1995 edition), and stalwarts such
as Stan and Shailen also refer to it. Most likely Krause's biggest
constituency doesn't notice any discrepancies and is still served
well, whereas the experts yearn to improve it, and Krause has to
decide how much time and resources to commit to improve its catalogs
from where they currently stand (i.e., the 80/20 rule??)
From: Stan Goron
Date: 2000 Nov 2, 2:36pm
One has to be very careful about basing price estimates in catalogues
on prices realised at auctions. Unless there is a consistent trend
noticed for particular coin types over a period of time, individual
auctions results should be not be used as various factors can
contribute to atypical prices being realised. One only has to see the
way in which Umayyad dirhem prices rocketed for a period because of
certain keen and wealthy bidders but once those bidders have the
coins, there may be absolutely no market for any other specimens of
the same types except at a much lower price.
So how should one then estimate what is a realistic market price that
will be stable for at least a year? Moreover, the finding of hoard
material can also have a significant effect on prices if such material
comes onto the market. The market for many series of oriental coins
is small; it does not matter how rare a coin is, if everyone who wants
one has one, then the market value of any unsold specimens is
theoretically nil until such time as another customer comes along. A
few years ago no-one had seen the Nizamshahi gold coins of Burhanabad
mint and initial prices were high, even at auction. Now you have a job
getting anyone to bid on them! Pricing a catalogue is not easy!
One of the major price discrepancies concerns those relating to
princely state rupees and their fractions. While it is true that some
states, e.g. Hyderabad, Gwalior, Indore, issued lots of fractions,
many other states did not. In fact some of them issued very few
fractions, or certainly very few have survived if they did issue
more. Bikanir is a good example. The fractions, especially the half
rupees, are many times rarer than the rupees, maybe 100 or more times
rarer, and yet these and other similar fractions are priced, if my
memory serves me correctly ( I do not have the current catalogues in
front of me) at LESS than the rupees. There are many such examples in
Ken Wiggins collected these coins for around 50 years, so it is safe
to say that if a coin is not in his collection, it must be very rare
and certainly worth more than 15 or 20 dollars; not to mention many of
the coins that are in his collection and which I know to be very hard
to find from when I was collecting the series myself. So that is one
area that needs some serious attention.
The fact that you have been able to purchase the commoner Mughal
rupees for prices lower than in KM is not surprising as I think KM
prices for the commoner mints are either ok or a bit high. It is the
rarer mints in the Mughal series that are often still seriously
underpriced. We have a situation where some very rare mints are given
prices and other, equally rare mints are described as rare and not
given prices at all. And yet other rare mints are given prices around
$30. Again, as an example, if my memory serves me correctly, the value
given to the issue of Nasirabad in the name of' Alamgir II, (a rare
Maratha issue) is around $35 in VF or EF. I would happily buy a dozen
or more at that price, if they were available.
I agree that KM catalogues are of great benefit to collectors of many
series and the amount of work that has gone into them over the years
is phenomenal. Our aim has to be to improve them, to iron out the
discrepancies and to make them better still. But please let us not
continue to have three or four values in different condition for the
Roshanabad Tripura rupee, known from a single example!!
From: Satya Bhupatiraju
Date: 2000 Nov 2, 6:33pm
Thanks for the reply. Your explanations have definitely contributed to
my understanding of pricing. I see the difficulty of this as you, and
others, have mentioned. I guess the beauty is, given an imperfect
world, sellers and buyers continue to interact.
As a collector, I have been fortunate enough to deal with some honest,
reputed and experienced people. So, the problem for me has been more
of (i) whether I want to buy the coin or not, rather than whether it
is priced ok or not, and (ii) sometimes the acquisition cost is lower
for some sources, who in turn sell for less, so it also helped me to
be aware of these differences in general.
In contrast, eBay has been a mixed experience for me, the marketplace
is definitely less mature currently, but will improve with time. While
I got coins for cheap in some instances, in a few others I have
succumbed to "irrational exhuberance". The issues involved are so
numerous as to warrant a lengthy discussion by itself. For example, if
you are a dealer, and put up a coin for sale and it gets bid up very
high, do you sell it at that high price, or do you give it away at
what you believe to be reasonable. If you give it away, what of your
coins that don't sell for what they should? The bottom-line is, I
think eBay has been very good overall for the hobby, and, as
Mr. Robert Tye had said earlier, encouraged many people in the US
atleast, to jump in, or rekindle their numismatic interests.
Apologies for meandering from one topic to another...
From: Scott Semans
Date: 2000 Nov 3, 2:34pm
One real problem is the invariable four-grades pricing format; it
doesn't make sense for a relatively lightly collected series such as
native India. As Stan notes, contributors often submit prices for one
grade, which is sensible, but these are then mathematically factored
to fit the four-grade model, producing three nonsense prices. This is
a problem with many Asian series in KM: too-low prices at the low end,
and too high at the high end.
Still, KM does a good job for the huge territory they cover. It's
very rare for any sort of price guide to really reflect the market
accurately. Thre's no substitute for research and experience. You
have to check price lists, auction results, and online sources such as
Ebay to get a sense of what things are really going for. Use the KM
prices as a relative structure, not as absolutes.
It always amuses me on the few occasions when I get a really rare,
in-demand item that's grievously underpriced in KM. When I list it at
well over catalog, I'll get one order (usually more) which is all I
need, plus several gripes about the high price.
From: Stan Goron, Croydon, UK
Date: 2000 Nov 3, 3:49am
I have no personal experience of buying coins on E-Bay but if it
brings coins to the attention of people who would not otherwise be
aware of them then that is of benefit to the hobby. So many people
simply do not know that old coins are available to collect and many of
them can be obtained cheaply or reasonably cheaply, if only they knew
where to get them from. How many people in the UK, for example,
realise that Roman coins from this country can be obtained for a
couple or a few pounds each? They have no idea, just as people seeing
a stamp with the head of Queen Victoria on it think it must be rare
and expensive. Some are of course, but the ones usually found are very
common and very inexpensive!! So it is a question of informing people,
making them aware that they too can own a piece of history through the
acquisition of coins that may be hundreds or a couple of thousand
years old. And then encouraging them to find out more about those
coins and the cultures that produced them.
From: Kavan Ratnatunga
Date: 2000 Nov 28, 1:39am
Subj: Issue figures from Royal Mint ?
I have not had the opportunity to look at any annual reports
of the Royal Mint. Do they contain Numbers of coins minted
in each issue they minted.
I am trying to get Mint figure for Sri Lanka coins of
recent years. I would like to get at least back to 1985
maybe check if available back to 1968 publication by Remick
Pridmore is only till 1952
If I can get this infomation from the Royal Mint who should
I write to. If someone can provide me with copies of the
page on Sri Lanka, let me know the cost.
From: Manoranjan Mahapatra mmahapatra@e... Mumbai
Date: 2001 Feb 13, 3:48am
Subject: Debate-Krause Catalogue- unlisted coins/ patterns
We all know that the Krause Catalogues are the Bible of coin
collecting for the areas/series mentioned therein. We also might have
experienced that the dealers (at least here in Mumbai) do charge a
premium for a coin that is not listed in the Catalogues.
While going through the Catalogue I found a few coins/patterns not
being mentioned in the Book even though they are of recent vintage.It
is understandable, considering the mamoth scope of the books, that
some years might have been overlooked/missed while catalogging the
coins/patterns of a perticular series. But not listing an entire type
is not comprehensible. Here below I list two coins not listed in the
a) The Patna post 2 annas and 1 ana coins of 1770.
b) The 1960 Rupee coin/pattern (the reverse shows "ek sou paisa")
Non listing of coins in the Book raises two questions:
i) Is there a high probability that the nonlisted coin/pattern (I am
not talking about the missing years here) a fake?
ii) Should such a coin/pattern command a very high price for the
simple logic that if Krause with the vast resources at its command
cannot procure the said coin/pattern,it must have been extremely
Date: 2001 Feb 14, 9:50pm
Subject: Re: krause-catalog- mewar millage coinage
I think the important part of Mr. A's post was that he's gone through 5000 of
those Mewar rupees! Even if only one in fifty is the rarer variety, it's
still common. I think things like this should be priced just a token amount
higher than the basic type. If it were a highly collected series a doubling
or more of the price would be appropriate, but given that it's hardly a
variety at all, why push it? Bumping the catalog price won't bring more to
market, but it will mean that collectors will pay more, and fewer will bother
to collect it.
In another post someone was wondering whether types or varieties not listed
in KM could be assumed either fake or rare. Years ago I would have said
"don't mean squat" but the KM series of catalogs has been steadily improving
for many years now (thanks to Msrs. Spengler, Deyell, Lingen . . . ), so it
is worth taking note when something appears to be missing. I am sorry to see
Krause's "Unusual World Coins" out of print and perhaps gone for good? This
slim volume covers fantasies, coin-like medals, bullion pieces, and other
almost-coins and is a good first place to look for an unlisted item. It's
easy for a dealer to pump up the asking price on something because it's not
in KM - easier than checking with an expert and finding out that it's common!
Another thing to watch out for is "not priced in this high grade" which
means it is either overgraded, or that other items in the same column
typically appear in lower grade - again, no reason in itself to pay an
extraordinary price. I'm particularly peeved over this sort of thing now
because I'm working on a consigned collection whose owner bought into some
hype and paid far too much for ordinary items. I must mention that some of
the best buys he made were from our own Bill Spengler!
Date: 2001, Wed Feb 14, 11:20pm
Subject: krause-catalog - Grading
I have also seen Good or lower grade coins described for example as
"VF condition for these type". Is that also dealer hype particularly
if parts of the coin are completely smooth and show no design or does
grade depend existance of higher grade coins of that type.
From: "Stan Goron"
Date: 2001 Thu Feb 15, 4:14am
The grading of hand-struck coins can be quite tricky especially where
striking was careless or the top die held at an angle so that only
part of the coin flan is struck up. In the latter case part of the
coin will appear flat; but in my view it is still justifiable to talk
of such coins in EF or VF condition as long as it is made clear that
there is flatness and the condition of the struck up portions match
the EF or VF grading. It should be pointed out that in my experience
there does seem to be some difference in US and UK grading standards
for hand-struck coins, with the latter being more conservative and the
former at times somewhat over-optimistic in my view.
From: mmahapatra@e... Manoranjan Mahapatra, Mumbai
Date: Fri Feb 16, 2001 1:48am
Subject: Krause catalogue- unlisted items
I have read with fascination, the observations made by Mr Semans with
respect to the said debate initiated in the Group. Eventhough Mr
Semans has touched upon the subject, the main issues raised therein
the debate are yet to be addressed.
Please note that the object of starting the debate is not to, in any
way, disparage the monumental work undertaken and very successfully
executed by Krause, but to inform and educate the Indian collector
community about the existence of such unlisted items. There is a
subtler aspect too and that is to demystify the arcane notions
associated with the unlisted items.
To elaborate on this issue, I might say that all of us (experts
included!!) must have come across situations where a dealer with
rightful pride declares that a certain item is not listed in the Book
and hence should command a substantial premium. The hapless collector,
being as uninformed as he is like me, is apt to be taken in for a
considerable amount of awe and astonishment by this revelation and
would then be subject to a litany of folklore (may be true, may be
false) on the coin by the dealer. Now to my mind this is not a
palatable situation and is certainly unfair because of the
psychological disadvantage that the collector is put in.
Now I would not have initiated the discussion, had it been for some
other book (please note that the Indian numismatic literature is as
diverse and numerous as the coins themselves). But since the Krause
books are held in very high esteem by the collectors for the series
featured therein, I think it is worthwhile to know the unlisted
coins/patterns therein so that the collector/ numismatist may make an
informed aqusition while interacting with the supply side of the
trade. It is only with this view and for the benefit of the Group
Members I had initiated this discussion.
Now coimng to the two coins listed by me while posting the debate, I
would state that these two coins/patterns are documented in other
numismatic literature. For example, both the Patna Post coins are
listed in the IMC catalogue (Volume IV). The one ana patna post coin
is listed in Dr P.L.Gupta's classic "Coins". The 1960 coin/pattern
Rupee (Rev. shows "Ek Sou Paisa") is yet to be listed in any coin
book, but if you visit the Mumbai Mint, you will find the mention of
the same in their panel delineating the History of Money on the Ground
Floor. This coin/pattern is also listed in the Annual desk diary
brought out by the Tata Group in the year 2000.
I still think some of the Krause people should proffer their views on
the subject. After all we all are their customers too.
From: "Jan Lingen"
Date: Fri Feb 16, 2001 1:42pm
The Patna or 'Azimabad Dak' tokens, are no coins but postal tokens and as
such doesn't belong in a coin catalogue. KM doesn't, except for a few
exceptions like the Raja Wilson 1 rupee token, list tokens and there are
several dozens of them in India which also state the value. Still they are
no coins, but very interesting to collect and also listed in the particular
catalogues, like these of Pridmore.
Date: Fri Feb 16, 2001 7:39pm
The change in definition of the word Token is interesting.
Originally used for any coin with a face value more than the
Very interesting is the 1814 silver FANAM from Lanka
which is a coin although marked TOKEN
It was often not listed in Krause.
It had less Silver than face value at that time
On that definition all current day coins are Tokens although the
1 2 5 and 10 cent coins from Lanka now have more aluminum than
face value :-)
Am I correct to assume that Krause definition of Token is
Non-government issue Like the coffee mill tokens from Lanka I show in
which circulated only within each company.
Interestingly also that those tokens circulated more like coins
than any of the commemorative issues which are now sold by the
Central Bank at a premium. The last Sri Lanka Rs 1/- coin with
a small mint of 2000 proof and 20000 BU was sold at Rs 500/- and
Rs 200/- could hardly be called coins, although probably of good
From: "Jan Lingen"
Date: Sat Feb 17, 2001 9:45am
Your are quite right that all present money is fiduciary, but that
doesn't mean it is also token money. Your definition is a bit
arbitrary. A token is a replacement for a legal currency.
The name for token originate from Great Brittany, where during the
17th - 19th century, due to the scarcity of small money, minor
authorities, administrative bodies, banks, private firms and
individuals issued non-legal currency. These tokens were sometimes
connived at by the official government and at other periods
forbidden. Legal currency, on the other hand, comprises all coins and
paper money issued by the authority with the prerogative right to
issue money (viz. the Emperor, the King/Queen, the government) or have
been given this prerogative right to an issuing authority (viz. State Bank).
Legal non-fiduciary money hardly exists, at least not for currency
purpose. Such an example is the Dutch golden trade ducat, which is
still mentioned in the present Dutch coinage act and annually struck
at the Royal Dutch Mint at Utrecht. Its worth is equal to its
intrinsic value of gold, as it also was in former days. The Dutch gold
ducat was first struck in 1586 (weight 3,494, fineness 0,983). N
owadays of course it is only struck as a collectors item (and as such
sold with a significant premium, as do as well most commemorative
coins), but still guaranteed for its intrinsic value under the coinage act.