By Tom Michael
December 13, 2018 – Well, it’s a wrap on this year’s Standard Catalog of World Coins 2001-Date. This is our 13th edition and the book keeps growing at an ever increasing rate. It has tripled in size over its’ thirteen years of existence and continually challenges our dedicated staff to work hard and remain open minded to the exciting new developments coming from so many of the world Mints.
This afternoon we had a meeting to brainstorm ideas for further marshalling our talents and workflow patterns to accommodate the mammoth task this fantastic catalog presents. Lots of ideas were floated out to the group and some gave me very buoyant thoughts about the future. It’s going to take creative thinking to keep up, but this group seems up to the task.
Thomas Michael and Tracy Schmidt, 2019 Standard Catalog of World Coins, 2001-Date, 13th Edition. Iola 2018. 1488 pp., fully illustrated in color. Paperback. 21 x 8.3 x 27.6 cm. ISBN: 9781440248672. 65 USD.
In looking back over the years it becomes clear to the insider in the modern commemorative coin market that Mints have greatly increased the number of new issues they produce each year. I can recall in the 1990’s that new issue production accounted for perhaps 500 new types annually and by the end of that decade, I think we were seeing about double that number each year. In the early years of the 21st century production jumped by about 50% and by 2007 we were consistently seeing new issues ranging near 1800 types per year. Today we are discovering about 2000 new coin types each year and it takes us loads of time to accumulate and process that data and provide illustrations.
Helping us with this task are a number of great sources. We have good relationships with the worlds government Mints, contract Mints, Central Banks and distributors. Many of these relationships have been achieved and fostered through our attendance at the World Money Fair annually in Berlin, Germany. There we meet with our friends in the industry to learn what new coins will be produced in the coming year. We also take time at the WMF to present our coveted Coin of the Year awards, which have been a great recognition for the finest quality in new issue coinage since 1984.
As with all the other volumes in the SCWC series, we also receive wonderful assistance from many collectors, dealers and researchers in the field of numismatics. Some folks are our tried and true enthusiasts, helping with specific countries and regions of the world. You’ll see their names on our Acknowledgments page every year because they represent the backbone of the SCWC production process. In addition, for the 2001-Date period we hear from new people every year who are entering the hobby or expanding their interest in specific areas. For this 13th edition 25 new people provided so much quality information that I happily added them to our Acknowledgments page in recognition of their efforts. Others sent in bits and pieces of information that proved useful and in many cases indicated to me that these folks would be gearing up for a greater role in the future.
Longtime colleague, Melvyn Kassenoff, provided a massive number of new coin types for the 13th edition. Mel complied new dates for existing types, mintages and entirely new commemorative and circulating types for 16 countries this year and as soon as the book was finished, he was ready to begin working on a new group of projects for next years’ edition. Now that’s the kind of dedication that gets your name consistently on the title page for Special Recognition!
Several people stepped up their game this year for the 13th edition, sending in images and data, piece meal throughout the year. While that is much appreciated data, which I accumulate for reference, one person took the next step by organizing his input for the catalog systematically. Val Tsyrklevich, who also contributes much data to editor Tracy Schmidt for our Standard Catalog of World Paper Money Modern Issues volume, asked to help with the 2001-Date SCWC as well. Val kept things organized by country and limited his emails to one per country, which is the very best way to be sure the data will be useful in updating this volume, as it allows us to file emails and match up similar work from various people to reduce general errors, double listings and errant descriptions.
Lots of individual countries received great attention in the 13th edition. In particular we can all thank Dimitar Mihov for his hard work at compiling pages of new issues information for Bulgarian coins, Thomas Augustsson for bringing us the newest circulating coinage of Mauritania and Shamik Biswas for adding to our listings more Indian circulating commemoratives, two new Bolivian circulating coins and coins from many other diverse areas.
For my part, I spent time furthering the listings of too many countries to enumerate, but it did please me to get some nice additions into Romania, Portugal, Philippines, Hungary, Netherlands, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania and Mongolia. Colleagues Kim Frankenhoff and Tracy Schmidt also stepped up their efforts for Canada, France and Great Britain respectively to the great benefit of the 13th edition.
You might wonder how all this was done in one year and I can tell you, with much dedication and hard work! Some will also wonder once the book becomes available, how we did all of this without increasing the total page count. Now that was a difficult trick accomplished through some trimming of the introductory material and the superior ability of our longtime designer Sandi Carpenter. Sandi tightened every page to gain as much space as possible so that we could fit into the same page count, while providing much more coinage information.
What can you expect for next year and the 14th edition? Well, as I mentioned Mel Kassenoff has already begun his work on mint and proof set listings. Our Mint contacts have already begun sending in images for the 2017 and 2018 coinage types. I have been busy adding new types for which we did not have full information during production, but which have had confirmation or clarification in the last few weeks.
This is the way it progresses. The Standard Catalog of World Coins 2001-Date is a living entity, continually growing with exciting new coins breaking technological and artistic ground at every turn.
The book can be purchased on the ShopNumismaster website.