Online Encyclopedia Search Tool

Your Online Encyclopedia


Online Encylopedia and Dictionary Research Site

Online Encyclopedia Free Search Online Encyclopedia Search    Online Encyclopedia Browse    welcome to our free dictionary for your research of every kind

Online Encyclopedia


Numismatics is the scientific study of money and its history in all its varied forms. While numismatists are often characterized as studying coins, the discipline also includes the study of medals, medallions and tokens (also referred to as Exonumia). Checks, bank notes, paper money, Scripophily and credit cards are also often subjects of numismatistic interest. Early money used by primitive people is referred to as Odd and Curious.

Numismatics is an ancient discipline. Julius Caesar is often credited with writing the first book on numismatics. Numismatics can include the study of many different aspects relating to coins, including history, geography, economy, metallurgy, usage and manufacturing processes.

Numismatists are sometimes differentiated from coin collectors inasmuch as the latter chiefly derive pleasure from the simple ownership of monetary devices, whereas the former are more concerned with acquiring knowledge about monetary devices and systems. In fact, many numismatists are also collectors and vice-versa. Walter Breen is a well-known example of a noted numismatist who was not an avid collector, while 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.

Numismatists frequently research the 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. In sum, there is very little about money that is not a valid numismatic field of study.

Professional numismatists often authenticate or grade coins for commercial purposes, buy or sell a piece or collection; assist historians, museum curators and archaeologists, and lend their expertise to the collecting community.

{{{_______ The idea of using numismatic material as an investment vehicle has become more popular over the last several decades. When 'the public' took notice of the ultra-rare US coins fetching tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction, an investment hype ensued. The most notable era of coin-price inflation was around 1989. Rare US coins were seen as a way to diversify assets in the wake of the stock market crash of 1987.

(Insert price trend examples here)

Rare dates of some series of US coins doubled, tripled, or even more in a short time. "Investment-grade" coins became the object of obsession. Certified and graded coins were born. PCGS was a "first-generation" third-party grading company, born in 1985(?). This allowed coins to be guaranteed authentic, deterring counterfeits. Coins could now have an established grade which facilitated easy sight-unseen comparison. In a way it made the coin market more liquid. It is interesting to note that during the height of the coin market, PCGS was so innundated with grading submissions, that some coins (submitted on the Economy level) experienced an 11-month turnaround time! As will happen sonner or later with any out-of-control market, coin prices dropped off sharply.

{{{________(this section is under contruction, and will expand with time)

See also:

External links

  • American Numismatic Association

Last updated: 02-06-2005 22:17:01
Last updated: 02-20-2005 07:26:06