In Memory of Mr. Wang Guichen

Mr. Wang Guichen (王貴忱), a famous ancient coin, philological and historical scholar, passed away peacefully at 11:30 p.m. on October 26, 2022, in Guangdong Provincial People's Hospital at the age of 95.

Mr. Wang was born in Tieling, Liaoning Province in 1928, joined the revolution in 1945, went south with the army in 1949, and lived in Lingnan for more than seventy years. During his lifetime, he served as the Manager of the Bank of Communication in eastern Guangdong, the President of the Shantou Construction Bank, the Deputy Director of Guangdong Zhongshan Library, the Former Deputy Curator of the Guangdong Museum, the director of Guangzhou Historical Record Office, a council member of the Chinese Numismatic Society and a member and honorary director of the academic committee of the Chinese Numismatic Society, and former Vice President of Guangdong Numismatic Society. He has made extraordinary achievements in the fields of Chinese ancient coins, philology, calligraphy, and collecting, and is known as one of the "two Wangs" along with Wang Shixiang (王世襄) in the collecting community. He is regarded as "a rare generalist in the contemporary literary and historical field in Lingnan". (Fig. 1)


Fig. 1 Wang Guchen in his "Keju" study in 2015

Mr. Wang was involved in the collecting and arranging of historical documents, especially numismatic documents. Starting at an early age and lasting decades he accumulated a magnificent collection of numismatic documents. He made many generous donations, turning his private collection into a shared one. In 1963, he donated five volumes of the Zhou Yi Cheng Zhu Chuan Yi (《周易程朱傳義》) edited during the Jiajing's reign in the Qing dynasty to the Guangdong Zhongshan Library; in 1990, he donated 363 pottery tiles from the Nanyue Kingdom that he had collected over his life to the Guangdong Museum. In 1999, he donated more than 600 volumes of numismatic literature that he had spent half his life collecting to the Chinese Numismatic Museum, including A Record of Coins (《泉志》) by Hong Zun (洪 遵) in the Ming dynasty, A Study of Coins in two volumes (《錢幣考二卷》) written during the Zhengde's reign in the Ming dynasty, A Coin Catalog in one volume (《錢譜一卷》) by Dong Yu (董遹) in the Ming dynasty, A Register of Coins in 12 volumes (《錢錄十二卷》) written by Zhang Duanmu (張端木) in the Qing dynasty, A Coin Catalog By Imperial Order in 16 volumes (《欽定錢錄十六卷》) by Liang Shizheng (梁詩正) and others, Statements on Ancient Coins in two volumes (《古泉叢話二卷》) by Dai Xi (戴熙) with Rong Geng's (容庚) comments, the original edition A Collection of Coin Rubbings (《泉幣集拓》) edited by Ma Dingxiang (馬定祥), which greatly enriched the collection of the Chinese Numismatic Museum(Fig. 2). Later, he donated nearly 100 of Chang Chih-tung's (張之洞) books and 807 volumes of ancient documents to the Guangzhou Library, including the red-printed version of 1899 Ding'an Poems (《定庵續集己亥雜詩》), leaving behind a precious wealth of literature and history. Mr. Wang's noble character is a model for all.


Fig. 2 Director of the China Numismatic Museum, Dai Zhiqiang (left) , and deputy director of the museum, Huang Shiquan, present to Wang Guichen (center) "Certificates of Honor" for the donation of more than 600 precious numismatic documents in 23 December 1999.

Mr. Wang Guichen used his collection of ancient documents as a reference, diligent writing in his study named "Keju". He co-edited the Five Types of Chaozhou Opera in the Ming Dynasty (《明本潮州戲文五種》) with Yang Yue (楊樾), Qu Dajun Complete Collection (《屈大均全集》) with Ou Chu (歐初), Notes on Tseng Kuo-fan's Unpublished Books (《曾國藩未刊書劄》), 1898 Zhang Yinhuan's Diary Manuscript (《張蔭桓戊戌日記手稿》), Correspondence with Luo Zhenyu Collected in Keju Study (《可居室藏書翰·羅振玉》), The Correspondence from Zhou Shuzou to Zhou Yi Liang Collected in Keju Study《可居室藏周叔弢致週一良函》), and The Correspondence from Zhou Shuzou, Zhou Yiliang, and Zhou Jingliang to Wang Guichen Collected in Keju Study (《周叔弢、週一良、周景良致王貴忱函》). In the field of ancient coin research, he wrote extensively and devotedly. His main works include Zhi Nai Qian Bo (《庤乃錢博》), On the Wu Coins (《吳泉說》), A Catalog of Three-hole Spades (《三孔幣彙編》), A Collection of Pre-Qin Coinage (《先秦貨幣文編》) co-edited with Shang Chengzuo (商承祚) (Fig. 3) and Tan Dihua (譚棣華), A Dictionary of Ancient Coins (《中國錢幣大辭典·泉人著述編》), A Catalog of Ancient Vietnam Coins (《越南景興錢譜》), The Rubbings of Ancient Vietnam Coins (《越南古錢集拓》), and Large Annam Coins Collected in the Keju Study (《可居室藏安南大錢》), and the Document and Catalog of Coins Collected in the Keju Study (《可居室藏錢幣文獻圖錄》) co-edited with Wang Dawen (王大文) in October 2015. He also published many numismatic articles published in prestigious journals, including three that received the Gold Coin Award for Outstanding Paper and two that received the Gold Coin Award for Outstanding Works.


Fig. 3 Wang Gui-chen (left) and Shang Cheng-zuo (right) in the early 1980s

Mr. Wang Guichen was well known in the field of literature, numismatics, and libraries, and he was highly respected and made outstanding contributions. We deeply miss the honorable Mr. Wang Guichen.