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The Numismatics Portal

Electrum coin from Ephesus, 520-500 BCE. Obverse: Forepart of stag. Reverse: Square incuse punch

Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, medals and related objects.

Specialists, known as numismatists, are often characterized as students or collectors of coins, but the discipline also includes the broader study of money and other means of payment used to resolve debts and exchange goods.

The earliest forms of money used by people are categorised by collectors 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 or instant noodles in prison). As an example, 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. (Full article...)

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Judas receiving thirty pieces of silver for betraying Jesus, by János Pentelei Molnár, 1909.

Thirty pieces of silver was the price for which Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, according to an account in the Gospel of Matthew 26:15 in the New Testament. Before the Last Supper, Judas is said to have gone to the chief priests and agreed to hand over Jesus in exchange for 30 silver coins, and to have attempted to return the money afterwards, filled with remorse.

The Gospel of Matthew claims that the subsequent purchase of the Potter's field was fulfilment, by Jesus, of a prophecy of Zechariah. (Full article...)
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2006-01-15 coin on water.jpg
Credit: commons:User:Roger McLassus.
A 1 Hungarian pengő coin, made of aluminium, floating on water, demonstrating its surface tension.

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Newfoundland 2 dollar coin

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1943D Mercury Dime obverse-cutout.png

The Mercury dime is a ten-cent coin struck by the United States Mint from late 1916 to 1945. Designed by Adolph Weinman and also referred to as the Winged Liberty Head dime, it gained its common name because the obverse depiction of a young Liberty, identifiable by her winged Phrygian cap, was confused with the Roman god Mercury. Weinman is believed to have used Elsie Stevens, the wife of lawyer and poet Wallace Stevens, as a model. The coin's reverse depicts a fasces, symbolizing unity and strength, and an olive branch, signifying peace.

By 1916, the dime, quarter, and half dollar designed by Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber had been struck for 25 years, and could be replaced by the Treasury, of which the Mint is a part, without Congressional authorization. Mint officials were under the misapprehension that the designs had to be changed, and held a competition among three sculptors, in which Barber, who had been in his position for 36 years, also took part. Weinman's designs for the dime and half dollar were selected. (Full article...)

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CHF1000 8 front horizontal.jpg
Credit: commons:User:Schutz.
A 1000 Swiss franc note, the fourth highest non-commemorative banknote in the world.

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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.

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Numismatic topics



List articles

Central banks • Currencies • Circulating currencies • Historical currencies • US community currencies • Canadian community currencies • Mints • Motifs on banknotes • Most expensive coins

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Most traded currencies

Most traded currencies by value
Currency distribution of global foreign exchange market turnover[1]
Rank Currency ISO 4217
code
Symbol or
abbreviation
Proportion of
daily volume,
April 2019
Proportion of
daily volume,
April 2022
1
U.S. dollar
USD
US$
88.3% 88.5%
2
Euro
EUR
32.3% 30.5%
3
Japanese yen
JPY
¥ / 円
16.8% 16.7%
4
Sterling
GBP
£
12.8% 12.9%
5
Renminbi
CNY
¥ / 元
4.3% 7.0%
6
Australian dollar
AUD
A$
6.8% 6.4%
7
Canadian dollar
CAD
C$
5.0% 6.2%
8
Swiss franc
CHF
CHF
5.0% 5.2%
9
Hong Kong dollar
HKD
HK$
3.5% 2.6%
10
Singapore dollar
SGD
S$
1.8% 2.4%
11
Swedish krona
SEK
kr
2.0% 2.2%
12
South Korean won
KRW
₩ / 원
2.0% 1.9%
13
Norwegian krone
NOK
kr
1.8% 1.7%
14
New Zealand dollar
NZD
NZ$
2.1% 1.7%
15
Indian rupee
INR
1.7% 1.6%
16
Mexican peso
MXN
$
1.7% 1.5%
17
New Taiwan dollar
TWD
NT$
0.9% 1.1%
18
South African rand
ZAR
R
1.1% 1.0%
19
Brazilian real
BRL
R$
1.1% 0.9%
20
Danish krone
DKK
kr
0.6% 0.7%
21
Polish złoty
PLN
0.6% 0.7%
22
Thai baht
THB
฿
0.5% 0.4%
23
Israeli new shekel
ILS
0.3% 0.4%
24
Indonesian rupiah
IDR
Rp
0.4% 0.4%
25
Czech koruna
CZK
0.4% 0.4%
26
UAE dirham
AED
د.إ
0.2% 0.4%
27
Turkish lira
TRY
1.1% 0.4%
28
Hungarian forint
HUF
Ft
0.4% 0.3%
29
Chilean peso
CLP
CLP$
0.3% 0.3%
30
Saudi riyal
SAR
0.2% 0.2%
31
Philippine peso
PHP
0.3% 0.2%
32
Malaysian ringgit
MYR
RM
0.1% 0.2%
33
Colombian peso
COP
COL$
0.2% 0.2%
34
Russian ruble
RUB
1.1% 0.2%
35
Romanian leu
RON
L
0.1% 0.1%
Other 2.2% 2.5%
Total[note 1] 200.0% 200.0%

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  1. ^ The total sum is 200% because each currency trade always involves a currency pair; one currency is sold (e.g. US$) and another bought (€). Therefore each trade is counted twice, once under the sold currency ($) and once under the bought currency (€). The percentages above are the percent of trades involving that currency regardless of whether it is bought or sold, e.g. the US dollar is bought or sold in 88% of all trades, whereas the euro is bought or sold 32% of the time.
  1. ^ "Triennial Central Bank Survey Foreign exchange turnover in April 2022" (PDF). Bank for International Settlements. 27 October 2022. p. 12. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-10-27. Retrieved 2022-10-29.
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