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  1. If you want to drink from a fire hose and get rather good at this with some dispatch, find your local coin dealer's assortment bin of foreign coins. They will probably cost 20c apiece, give or take. Grab about twenty cashes that all have some difference (so you do not just get twenty of the same late Qing issue), buy them, take them home, and look them all up. It'll go slowly at first, but you'll improve quickly. Next best thing to free self-taught lessons.
  2. Glad to be of help. What my mind does with complex characters is call them what they resemble, in my imagination, with zero direct relevance to actual translation. The majority of cashes you will find, at least those not salvaged from shipwrecks nearly a millennium old, will have the Qing emblems on back; that narrows it from 16?? (I forget the year, maybe 1644) to 1911, when of course the Chinese Republic was formed. Those lacking Qing emblems may be earlier Chinese, or perhaps from a neighboring country. Armed with Hartill, you will be in an excellent position to attribute them because Hartill does not suffer from the fate of Krause. You see, Krause periodically kicked certain issues out of its references, which is why older print versions are prized. So what you do not find in Krause, you are likely to find in Hartill. Happy researching and collecting, and feel free to post more coins if you need help with them.
  3. Heh. Won't take long before you're the board's one to go to on these.
  4. If not that one, certainly one near to it. Sometimes the only variance is the thickness of the rim band, or in the way the characters are rendered.
  5. Seems pretty reasonable. Only in hand could you tell if there were the phantom of an old dot there, and it sounds like you took a close look.
  6. I think it would depend on the reverse. Do you make that to be a heavily worn/corroded dot? If so, you want to make sure it's oriented correctly using the obverse, because the different issues with a reverse dot have it in different places. I'm not sure whether they used coin or medal alignment, offhand. Coin alignment is like ours, obverse one way, reverse the other. Medal alignment is both sides the same way.
  7. This is a case where I know rather than think. Obverse (four characters) is right. Reverse (two symbols) is now 180 out. I think it was correct before. The Qing symbol should be on the left, and the Board of Revenue, or Hu-Pu Board of Trade (whichever it is; the one that looks a little like upside down Devanagari) on the right. This is one of very many issues of Xuan Zong, 1821-50. He has like six or seven pages in Hartill just to himself.
  8. Obverse image upside down. Definitely Qing, though.
  9. Somewhere in there. Might be 16.261-2, which are better size matches.
  10. I don't speak much Chinese (10-20 words of Mandarin, some of them unacceptable in polite company), and I read nearly none, but here's how I do this using that book. It has drawings of many, many coins, and they are to scale, so you can lay a ruler on the page to get diameter. I then start on the obverse with either the 12:00 or 6:00 character, and start looking. If it has the loopy thing on the back, that looks like Arabic qafs and waws, I know it's Qing and thus after 1644, but Hartill goes back to cowries, spade money, etc. in times BCE. In the front is a very nice reference setup arranging legends by strokes, listing of Manchu mint names, all sorts of happy stuff. When you get it, if you were impressed in any way by me, you won't be because you'll see it was all the book, not me. Anyway, I use the references up front to see if I can get an idea where to look chronolgically, then zero in on one of those two characters. When I find a coin they both match, and with correct diameter, I verify the other characters or absence thereof. It isn't that hard, provided you aren't too intimidated by Chinese characters.
  11. Okay, progress. Not Annamese; Northern Song. Here's the problem: the top character that looks like a prostrating figure serving as a table base is actually a stylized version of the character yuan, much more commonly written as shown in the link and a common sight on more modern coins for obvious reasons. So one looks at the coin listings, sees that, says "nope, that's not it," when in fact it is. So I think it's Hartill 16.211, Emperor Shen Zong (1068-85 CE). They're very common, but it is never less than cool to have a coin nine hundred years old.
  12. The reverse needs to rotate 180, but it's not hard to read. I think the obverse also needs to come around 180. I have a feeling this will be easier to find than the first two (not that I've given up on those; just working on them when attention permits).
  13. Yes, looks like the same coin issue as #2 or nearly so (not sure yet what the variation in diameter means).
  14. Wow. We're always having to hassle people to do those things and convince them that they matter. (Okay, the weight part is not really a big deal. But the orientation is.) That makes me want to go digging before my coffee. I took a good look through the earliest Krause, 1600s; no soap. Your key character to look for is the one at the top, which looks like some abject servant prostrating himself with a tabletop on his back. The only thing I found that looked somewhat like it was the Annamese coins I mentioned, and only a couple, but I'm not sure there's a comprehensive reference on Annamese. Hartill (the book I suggested) only has a sampling and mentions that there are many contemporary fakes and variations, which is clear as mud. But that character is not a moving target; if you look long enough you'll find it; it'll be key. I think you're safe not to spend time in the Korean and Japanese listings. Hope that helps.
  15. Think you mean 25mm. 2.5mm is pretty small. Offhand I think it needs to rotate 90 degrees counterclockwise (I think the snakey character goes at 12:00) and it is probably the same issue as your Coin 1 if you compare them closely. Nothing on reverse, obverse characters look quite similar.