Numismatics

Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on Aug 27, 2020

What is Meant by Numismatics?

Numismatics refers to the art and knowledge of the material embodiment of different payment media, such as currencies. Since the study of numismatics applies to coins, it often deals with the research of the making and use of the coins to check their rarity. Numismatics consists of various subfields, some of which are as listed below:

  • Exonumia - the study of coin-like objects, for instance, medals used in place of currency
  • Notaphily - the study of paper money, such as banknotes
  • Scripophily - the study of securities, such as stocks and bonds

Numismatics varies from economic and historical studies of money. Numismatists study the physical properties of the payment media instead of development and use. Numismatics also is different from collecting coin since the former involves scientific research.

Hence, all numismatists are coin collectors, but not all coin collectors are numismatists. It is a popular belief that numismatics commenced during the European Renaissance, as an exercise of re-discovering all classical things.

Origin of Numismatics

The word "numismatics" was first used in English in 1829, originating from the word adjective numismatic meaning "of coins". It jointly stemmed from the French word "numismatiques" derived from the Latin word "numismatis".

There are various organisations dedicated to the study, research, and advancement of numismatics sciences. For instance, The American Numismatic Society, founded in New York City in 1858, was formed to foster public recognition of coins, medals, and currencies. It has since cultivated over 8,00,000 objects dating back to 650 BCE and exhibits a numismatic library of around 100,000 books and artefacts.

Numismatics in India

The Indian coinage tradition was influenced mostly by the coming of Mughal and Turkic invaders in India. In the 19th century, the East India Company introduced uniform coinage, which was later replicated by the modern nation-states of the Republic of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Numismatics plays a valuable role in determining a certain period of Indian history.

Collectors or museum organise expos periodically in order to attract visitors and enhance their knowledge about the past glory of India.