What is Numismatics and Where to Start


You don’t need to be Warren Buffet to start numismatics. If you’re wondering about the scientific format of coin collecting, we will show you the right way forward. Today we will learn ‘what is Numismatics’ and ‘where to start’ if you’re a collector or investor interested in the lineage of coinage!

What is Numismatics? 

Numismatics is the scientific and historic study of currencies including coins, notes, currency, bullions, and lambskin

Coin collection and Numismatics are not the same. The art of collecting currency for studying the value is Numismatics. Moreover, a numismatist knows the origin of the coin. Unlike one who collects coins, one who studies it can determine the mine it was minted from too!

Primary types of numismatics are 

  • Scripophily: Scientific study of Bonds/ Stocks  
  • Notaphily: Scientific study of paper currency
  • Exonumia: Scientific study of items like coins such as bullion and medals;

Who are Numismatists?

Those who study coins, or collect them to study are numismatists. Many forms of currency are studied by numismatists including barter or gold, since 6th BC. Read more about the History of Numismatics. 

There are three types of numismatists:

  • Private Numismatists

People who study the history of numismatics for pleasure and leisure. Popular amateur or private numismatists are King Farouk I, Harry Bass and Walter Breen

  • Coin Dealers

Popular as Professional Numismatists, coin dealers often grade and appraise the true historic value of coins. They buy and sell coins of history for monetary or reputational gains. 

  • Scholar Numismatists 

Consisting of historians to industry experts on numismatics, scholar numismatists often work in government authorized or archaeological institutions on numismatics. A popular scholar numismatist is Kenneth Jenkins.

What is Numismatics Useful for 

While coins and currency were barter for trading in the early ages, archaeologists today claim history further than that. Explore what is numismatics really useful in 2018! 

  1. Assessment of Wealth 

Being the oldest currency of value, numismatics is for wealth storage too. 

Before the dawn of coinage, land, and properties were markers of wealth. After coinage, wealth was calculated based on the coin currency the person owned. 

  1. Secret Messages 

Spies used coins for communication by in the early ages. The most popular story is of the Soviet Spy Able who used to conceal messages in a nickel coin cavity made of microfilm. The spy coin was revealed when one of it went to collection coins and was discovered hollow, by a 13-year-old named Jimmy Bozart. By studying what is numismatics, we can use it to recollect history. 

  1. Convict Love Tokens 

Prisoners were moved to Australia in the 1800s and 1900s from the British Isles after conviction. They used coin currency to leave love messages for their dear ones. Coins were smoothened and inscribed by the convicts for the same. These convict love tokens were also called laden hearts during the time.

  1. Poisoned Pin

Most of us have seen the cyanide-capsules around the neck of spies in movies. Numismatics was once used for the same too!

The pilot of American spy aircraft, Francis Gary Powers also had a silver coin strung around his neck during captivity. Although Powers never touched the coin, it contained a hollow cavity with poison-laced pin. The CIA issued the poisoned coin to protect the secrets of the spy during enemy captivity!  

  1. God, Monarchs, and Rulers

Since coins markers of wealth and value of a commodity, it was made with the faces of Gods. The first coin showed Athena, the Greek God with the totem animal owl on the reverse. In the due course of time, Gods were replaced by Kings, starting from Alexander the Great. 

  1. Adverts for the Greek States

In ancient Greece, coins were used to show the patron God or Goddess of a city. Coins from ancient Greek states also included the chief industry of revenue in the state such as olives or wheat to distinguish themselves. 

  1. Numismatic Coin Value 

Numismatic coin value is the value of a coin in addition to its legal value. Also popular as collector value, numismatic coin values are prioritized by history, then price. 

Famous Numismatics Coin Collections in the world can be found here

BENEFITS: What is Numismatics for Investing  

Experts say numismatics is a scholarly branch of research study than a hobby. If you’re wondering when and where to start when investing in numismatics, you should start by assessing the benefits numismatics offer. 

  1. Historical Value 

Coins are proofs of culture and civilization from centuries ago. Every coin has a unique history, value, and rarity, in the eyes of a numismatist. 

For example, a gold coin from the Roman era contains up to 8g in gold. If you sell it for the gold price today, you will get $347 (at $43.34 per gram of gold). However, if you sell it to a numismatist, you will get a minimum of $15,000! 

  1. Sense of Pride 

Finding a coin is like an adventure for a numismatist. You feel accomplished upon receiving a coin after studying so much about it!

Whether the coin was purchased or chanced upon, the sense of achievement is limitless. Moreover, according to Donn Pearlman, even finishing a collection of 12 Caesars from the Roman era has its own sense of accomplishment!

  1. Anonymous Transactions

Unlike gold or silver bullions, numismatics is not recorded. You can engage in private transactions when you are dealing in coin currency. Hence, you can use it without attestation by any governing bodies. In short, no one needs to know about the rarest coins in your numismatic collection, unlike precious goods! 

  1. Portable Asset 

Unlike precious metals such as silver or gold, coins don’t need special permits and storage options. You can take it wherever you go! 

If you convert your wealth into coins, moving it becomes easier than when converted to land or property!

  1. Geographical and Scientific Value

Coins are also useful to study the geography of a place, in addition to its history. 

As you know from the history of coins, different countries used varied mixes of metals to create unique coin currency. While America used silver, India used gold, silver, and copper to create tri-metallic coins. 

Interesting Facts about What is Numismatics for Collectors

Check the shocking facts about the study of coins below, if you’re interested in investing in Numismatics.

  1. Coin collection and Numismatics might sound the same but are different. Coin collection is a passive hobby while numismatics is the study of coins
  2. In 1940, a coin rain occurred above Gorky area of Russia. It happened due to a tornado that had lifted a coin chest from the same area, some time ago! 
  3. Once upon a time, coin collection was the ‘hobby of kings’ due to the royalty involved in numismatics. Kings, queens, popes, and nobles in the earlier ages were most involved in it. 
  4. The first conference for numismatists was in Michigan, 1962. Sponsored by the American Numismatics Society, the conference brought 400,000 coin scholars from diverse parts of the world.
  5. Did you know you can buy coins directly from the mint? Most currency mints have catalogs for investors and collectors. Although priced higher than the original price, these minted currencies are unique in value to collectors.  

In a Nutshell 

What is numismatics? Study of the value of coins based on quality, rarity, origin, condition, and uniqueness of the currency is numismatics. All you need is curiosity and enthusiasm towards the history of coinage.  

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