2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Currency

Numismatic terminology
Coins, Banknotes,

Circulating currencies
Community currencies

Company scrip, LETS,
Time dollars

Fictional currencies

Ancient currencies
Greek, Roman,

Medieval currencies
Modern currencies

Africa, The Americas,
Europe, Asia, Oceania
Mint, Designers
Coining, Milling,
Credit cards, Medals,



Stocks, Bonds

Numismatics is the scientific study of currency and its history in all its varied forms. While numismatists are often characterized as students or collectors of coins, the discipline also includes a much larger study of payment media used to resolve debts and the exchange of goods. Lacking a structured monetary system, people in the past as well as some today lived in a barter society and used locally found items of inherent or implied value. Early money used by primitive people is referred to as "Odd and Curious," but the use of other goods in barter exchange is excluded, even where used as a circulating currency (e.g., prison cigarettes). The Kyrgyz people used horses as the principal currency unit and gave small change in lambskins. The lambskins may be suitable for numismatic study, but the horse is not. Many objects have been used for centuries, such as conch shells, precious metals and gems.

Today, most transactions take place by a form of payment with either inherent, standardized or credit value. Numismatic value may be used to refer to the value in excess of the monetary value conferred by law. This is also known as the "collector's value."

Economic and historical studies of money's use and development are separate to the numismatists' study of money's physical embodiment (although the fields are related; economic theories of money's origin depend upon numismatics, for example).

History of Money

The history of money is a story thousands of years old. Numismatics is the scientific study of money and its history in all its varied forms. Money itself must be a scarce good. Many items have been used as money, from naturally scarce precious metals and conch shells through cigarettes to entirely artificial money such as banknotes. Modern money (and most ancient money too) is essentially a token -- an abstraction. Paper currency is perhaps the most common type of physical money today. However, goods such as gold or silver retain many of the essential properties of money.

History of Numismatics

Coin collecting has existed since ancient times, it is known that Roman Emperors were among some of the earliest coin collectors. It is called the "Hobby of Kings" and rightfully so due to its most esteemed founders. Numismatics reached its apex due to the great demand during the late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance. In this period ancient coins were collected a great deal by European royalty and nobility. It is known that Roman Emperors Augustus and Julius collected Greek coins. Other collectors of coins are Pontif Boniface VIII, Italian poet Petrarch, Emperor Maximilian of the Holy Roman Empire, Louis XIV of France, Ferdinand I, Elector Joachim II of Brandenburg who started the Berlin coin cabinet and Henry IV of France to name a few.

The 19th century was the most productive in building up national collections and in publishing catalogues. Theodor Mommsen fostered the idea of a general corpus of all Greek coins from all collections, an idea which is still not possible to be realized.

In 1931 the British Academy promoted the idea of the sylloge, systematic publications of single collections, according to mints and each coin illustrated. Some hundred volumes appeared until today. The idea was taken over by scholars of medieval Britain and in 1993 in the field of Islamic numismatics.

In the 20th century as well the coins were more and more seen as archaeological object. After World War II in Germany a project "Fundmünzen der Antike (Coin finds of the Classical Period)" were launched, to register every coin found within Germany. This idea found successors in many countries.

Modern Numismatics

In modern numismatics are the study of the coins of the mid 17th to the 21st century, the period of machine struck coins. Their study serve more the need of collectors than historical studies and it is quite often successfully pursued by amateur scholars than by professional scholars. The focus of modern numismatics lies frequently in the research of production and use of money in historical contexts using mint or other records in order to determine the relative rarity of the coins they study. Varieties, mint-made errors, the results of progressive die wear, mintage figures and even the socio-political context of coin mintings are also matters of interest.


Exonumia is the study of coin-like objects such as token coins and medals, and other items used in place of legal currency or for commemoration. This includes elongated coins, encased coins, souvenir medallions, tags, badges, counterstamped coins, wooden nickels, credit cards, and other similar items. It is related to numismatics proper (concerned with coins which have been legal tender), and many coin collectors are also exonumists.

Notaphily is the study of paper money or banknotes. It is believed that people have been collecting paper money for as long as it has been in use. However, people only started collecting paper money systematically in Germany in the 1920s, particularly the colourful "Serienscheine" (= Series Notes) Notgeld. The turning point occurred in the 1970s, when notaphily was established as a separate area by collectors. At the same time, some developed countries such as the USA, Germany and France began publishing their respective national catalogues of paper money, which represented major points of reference literature.

Scripophily is the study and collection of stocks and Bonds. It is an interesting area of collecting due to both the inherent beauty of some historical documents as well as the interesting historical context of each document. Some stock certificates are excellent examples of engraving. Occasionally, an old stock document will be found that still has value as a stock in a successor company.


The term numismatist applies to collectors and coin dealers as well scholars using coins as source or studying coins.

The first group chiefly derive pleasure from the simple ownership of monetary devices and studying these coins as private amateur scholars. In the classical field amateur collector studies have achieved quite remarkable progress in the field. Examples are Walter Breen is a well-known example of a noted numismatist who was not an avid collector, and King Farouk I of Egypt was an avid collector who had very little interest in numismatics. Harry Bass by comparison was a noted collector who was also a numismatist.

The second group are the coin dealers. These often called professional numismatists authenticate or grade coins for commercial purposes. The buying and selling of coin collections by numismatists who are professional dealers advances the study of money, and expert numismatists are consulted by historians, museum curators, and archaeologists.

The third category are scholar numismatics working in public collections, universities or as independent scholars acquiring knowledge about monetary devices, their systems, their economy and their historical context. Coins are especially relevant as source in the pre-modern period.

Retrieved from ""