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Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects. While numismatists are often characterized as students or collectors of coins, the discipline also includes the broader study of money and other payment media used to resolve debts and the exchange of goods. Early money used by 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., cigarettes in prison). 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 horses are not. Many objects have been used for centuries, such as cowry shells, precious metals, cocoa beans, large stones, and gems.

Today, most transactions take place by a form of payment with either inherent, standardized, or credit value. Numismatic value is the value in excess of the monetary value conferred by law, which is known as the collector value.

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In economics, fiat currency or fiat money is money whose purchasing power derives from a declaratory fiat or an authoritative order of the government issuing it. It is often associated with paper money unbacked by fixed assets, issued without the promise of redemption in some other form, and accepted by tradition or social convention. Fiat money is called fiduciary money in many languages.

The widespread acceptance of a fiat currency is enhanced by a central authority mandating its acceptance under penalty of law and demanding it in payment of taxes or tribute. Fiat money can be contrasted with alternative forms of currency such as commodity money and private currency. Most currencies in the world have been fiat money since the end of the international gold standard of the Bretton Woods system in 1971.

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Zamek Dolny w Wilnie.jpg

Credit: Poznaniak

The Lituanian 1 litas commemorative coin was released into circulation in 2005 to promote reconstruction of the royal palace.

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Newfoundland 2 dollar coin

Web resources

  • NumisWiki
  • International Association of Professional Numismatists
  • American Numismatic Association
  • American Numismatic Society
  • British Numismatic Association
  • American Vecturist Association
  • Challenge Coin Association
  • Numismatic Museum of Athens, Greece

  • The Perth Mint Australia
  • Central Mint of China
  • Royal Mint
  • The French Mint
  • United States Mint
  • Bank of Russia
  • Royal Canadian Mint
  • Exact Change numismatic software

  • European Central Bank
  • World Bank
  • US Federal Reserve

Related portals

Selected issue

The Chinese Silver Panda is a series of silver bullion coins issued by the People's Republic of China. The design changes every year and comes in different sizes, from 0.5 troy oz to 1 kilogram. The purity of the coin is 99.90% silver and it has a weight of 31.105 gram. The program was started early in the 1980s but in different weight standard early on. There are several mints that produce these coins, including: Shenzhen, Shanghai and Shenyang. Sometimes the different mints can be distinguished from the size of the year on the obverse side of the coin.


HUP 100MB 1946 obverse.jpg
Credit: User:Timur lenk.
100 000 000 b.‑pengő (1020 pengő). Highest numbered banknote issued during the worst hyperinflation in the history.

Numismatic terminology

  • Bullion – Precious metals (platinum, gold and silver) in the form of bars, ingots or plate.
  • Error – Usually a mis-made coin not intended for circulation, but can also refer to an engraving or die-cutting error not discovered until the coins are released to circulation. This may result is two or more varieties of the coin in the same year.
  • Exonumia – The study of coin-like objects such as token coins and medals, and other items used in place of legal currency or for commemoration.
  • Fineness – Purity of precious metal content expressed in terms of one thousand parts. 90% is expressed as .900 fine.
  • Notaphily – The study of paper money or banknotes.
  • Scripophily – The study and collection of stocks and Bonds.



Numismatic News

January 1, 2008 Venezuela launched a new currency with the new year, lopping off three zeros from denominations in a bid to simplify finances and boost confidence in a money that has been losing value due to high inflation. The new currency is called bolívar fuerte or "strong bolívar". Officials also say it is part of a broader effort to contain rising prices and strengthen the economy. More...

January 1, 2008

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Today at midnight, the Cyprus and the Malta adopted the euro as their official currency; less than four years after their accession to the European Union. The single currency has replaced the Cypriot pound and the Maltese lira at a rate of one euro to 0.585274 Cypriot pound and 0.4293 to the Maltese lira. In both countries the euro was welcomed with outdoor celebrations, including a fireworks display in Malta's capital Valletta. More...

September 26, 2007

Designs for three of four themes proposed for the reverse of 2009 Lincoln cents to honor Abraham Lincoln's life were endorsed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. More...

Numismatic topics

Things you can do

Here are some Numismatics related tasks you can do

  • Requested Images: Guinea (British coin), English coin Three Farthings, Palladium coin, Nabataean coinage, Commemorative coins of Poland, more...
  • Wikify and Cleanup: Twenty pence (English coin), Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, Chinese Silver Panda, Common coin errors, Gold standard, Coin grading, Euro, History of the English penny (1154-1485), Petrocurrency, more...
  • Merge: St. Gaudens Double Eagle, more...
  • Expand: Coins of Australia, Half sovereign, 5 yen coin, Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, Coins of Ireland, Series of 1928 (United States Currency), Royal Mint, Achaemenid currency, Elymais, Roman provincial coins, Seleucid coinage, Nabataean coinage, South Vietnamese đồng, more...
  • Stubs: Aes rude, Airman's coin, Banliang, Brockage, Central Mint of China, Chinese currency, Cistophorus, Dahlonega Mint, Doubloon, Fed Shreds, Flying Eagle cent, Gold Coinage Act, Napoleon (coin), Pattern coin, Star note, Texas redbacks, Zuz (coin), Polish Mint, more...
  • Improve to GA: History of money, Numismatics, Roman currency, Money, Ancient Greek coinage, Fiat currency, United States Mint, Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, Banknotes of Zimbabwe, more...
  • Improve to FA: Peace Dollar, more...
  • Projects: Finish Assessment, Expand and reorganize style guide, New category structure, Infoboxes: designing and adding to pages, more...
  • Associated Wikimedia

    The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:






    Learning resources



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