Alphabet Soup

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Some of us when working and playing with our collections live in a world of alphabetical acronyms - RIC, BMC, RSC, BNC, RPC, SNG, etc ... others don't give a fig about them. As a specialist, using these references makes it much easier for me to know what's out there, and indeed what I already have. I love cataloguing, it's part of the fun of the hobby for me.

    Recently I had to go through my collection and add another reference attribution to my envelopes and online gallery - Monnaies de l'Empire Romain III - J.-B. Giard. I picked up this great catalogue a couple of weeks ago and have had quite a bit of fun using it, however, I hit a snag. What abbreviation do I use - BNF, BnF, BN, BNC, or Paris? There seems to be no standard acronym for it in trade. Indeed, dealers, and auction houses are all over the place regarding many of the above variants, with collectors preferring BnF. At first I used the BNF abbreviation (a slight variant of BnF), but this didn't sit right with me. 'BnF' is a common abbreviation for the Museum itself, not the catalogue. Also, that acronym wasn't in keeping with how the other major references are abbreviated (RIC, BMC, RSC, etc.). I sought help from the new RIC II.1 abbreviations page where I found 'BNC' is preferred for the work. As a matter of fact, when I looked in the introduction to Monnaies de l'Empire Romain III itself, BNC is their official abbreviation. Plus, a whole heap of academic works employ that abbreviation for the catalogue. So, 'BNC' it is.

    It's odd how something so minor can take you down a rabbit hole, which is all part of the fun I suppose. To a generalist this concern over the proper reference citation would seem a bit obsessive. To a specialist it's vital - other specialists need to know what catalogue you are referencing.


    Anyone else enjoy playing with the 'alphabet soup'?
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  3. Autoturf

    Autoturf Well-Known Member

    I just eat it.
    ominus1 likes this.
  4. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Campbell's or Progresso?

  5. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Same here.
    Makes no difference to me.
  6. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I see this as a 'whatever works for you' situation. I despise catalog numbers as stand alone entries but value them as aids in finding the information available in the book in question. Easily half of catalog numbers published in sale catalogs are less than fully accurate in some way. This is particularly true of systems like RIC where there are a hundred different coins properly called RIC 1 but so few people that quote a page number (volume number even) that allows you to find which #1 you want. That is why I so dislike books and websites that have tons of numbers to find ounces of information.
    This might also be a place to trot out the old saying that it is better to teach a man to fish so he can eat for a lifetime than to give him a fish to eat today. I do not put much effort in listing catalog numbers on coins I post unless I see a need for the discussion at hand. I do not see the need of posting legends that are legible in the photo or other obvious data unless it is the subject at hand. I hope anyone interested has been taught how to interpret such things (fishing for data, if you will) and will find it simple to find whatever data they require. I do look forward to the BNC reaching the period I collect with their catalog. Last I heard, that has not happened. For example, I do not care in the least what the BNC number for the Julia Domna coin below might be but I want to know if their specimen is a die duplicate, more or less legible and, especially, to read whatever they have to say about the coin. Cohen listed it (#250) as being there. I will not be travelling to Paris to see it. I will remain curious about everything but the number.
    TheRed, Johndakerftw, ominus1 and 3 others like this.
  7. Ken Dorney

    Ken Dorney Yea, I'm Cool That Way...

    I never quote volume number. If someone doesn't know the volume number the page or reference number means nothing (because that means they dont have the books in question).
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