World of Coins

Events => External events => Topic started by: Figleaf on November 02, 2018, 09:12:32 AM

Title: 4th meeting of the society for Asian numismatics
Post by: Figleaf on November 02, 2018, 09:12:32 AM
The meeting will take place on 17th November from 10:00 to 18:00 hrs in the old building of the national library in Paris, 58 rue de Richelieu. Speakers include Vladimir Belyaev and Craig Greenbaum. Registration at More information and some fun pictures here (

Title: Re: 4th meeting of the society for Asian numismatics
Post by: Figleaf on November 19, 2018, 12:30:27 PM
The meeting was attended by around 20 participants. Being the "translator" for the non-French attendees, I had more contact with them, but I spoke to some French attendees also.

The morning was taken by three French speakers, all talking about French Indo-China. Mr. Desnier, ex-curator of the Paris mint museum concentrated on a group of early French numismatists who profited from the colonisation process to start a collection of Indo-Chinese pre-coin money objects. These ended up to an extent in the Paris mint museum. Mr. Escabasse highlighted the collection of another group, centred around Léon Ardouin, illustrated by a lacquered box with gifts, made with sapeques (the French name for cash coins) and other materials. He has cleverly been able to link the box with Mr. Ardouin. These two presentations highlighted the importance of the military port of Rochefort for Indo-Chinese numismatics. Original documentation there is still un-explored. Mr. Cariou bravely tackled the economic role of the piastre, a fixed price currency with a floating rate denomination. He explained the varieties with different weight and silver content. His main conclusion was that the problems ended when French Indo-China adopted the gold standard. (Personally, I believe that, as in India and China, the silver standard was an instrument of exploitation and self-enrichment of the privileged classes in the colonies).

In the afternoon, Vladimir Belayev presented Russian markings on silver bars. They turned out to be customs marks, applied mainly at the Southern border of Czarist Russia, though a Baltic customs office was represented also. My impression was that the bars were intended mainly for bribery. Craig Greenbaum talked about Vietnam war era fakes, making the point that veterans were dying off and their inheritances were coming on the market. These included large numbers of fake and fantasy coins, ingots and silver bars. Mr. Greenbaum has compiled a highly useful illustrated list of these fakes and fantasies. Many are easy to recognise, being too large (anything over 50 mm, but those around 50 mm are most often fakes also), or non-existent mules. The bars often showed the wrong edge (the third dimension) decoration. Mr. Joyaux discussed the work of French medallist and coin designer Lindauer on metallic objects for French Indo-China, showing how he freely re-used rejected designs and how he was inspired by more or less Indo-Chinese objects available in France. Mr. Gardère, who works as an advisor to establish an economic and monetary museum in Phnom-Penh talked at length about his project, showing pictures of its current state. I will do a post about the museum separately.

In the margin of the meeting I did some networking. Muriel Eymery represented sponsor Spink. We discussed fraud and fakes. She mentioned how high-powered Asian collectors were informing each other and excluding known fraudsters. I argued that low-budget collectors who get stung by fraud could well leave the hobby and that this was a common interest we had. I discussed the often reported difficulty of becoming a Zeno member with Vladimir Belayev. He agreed to the principle of a trusted World of Coins intermediary who would take care of such problems. We will explore this further, but I must stress that we need a WoC volunteer who is also a member of Zeno to get this off the ground. I was delighted that David Hartill took part in the meeting. David is currently working on a major project cataloguing charms and amulets from South-East Asia. He reckons he will have around 5000 pieces in his upcoming book.

Title: Re: 4th meeting of the society for Asian numismatics
Post by: THCoins on November 20, 2018, 03:42:11 PM
Thanks for this report ! I have the idea that the numismatic world still to this day has some divisions along language borders. There are specific subject which seem to be discussed primarily in French or Russian circles. So, good to see a glimpse of the French numismatic world.
(I am not a Zeno member btw)