Portal:Numismatics

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The Numismatics Portal

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Numismatics (ancient Greek: νομισματική) 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 a much larger study of payment media used to resolve debts and the exchange of goods.

Exonumia is the study of coin-like objects such as token coins and medals, and other items used in place of legal currency or for commemoration. Notaphily is the study of paper money or banknotes. Scripophily is the study and collection of stocks and Bonds. Numismatics is an ancient discipline, reaching as far back as Julius Caesar, who is often credited with writing the first book on numismatics. It can include the study of many different aspects relating to coins, including history, geography, economics, metallurgy, usage, and manufacturing processes.

Economic and historical studies of money's use and development are separate to the numismatists' study of money's physical embodiment (although the fields are related; economic theories of money's origin depend upon numismatics, for example).

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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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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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The Mercury dime is a ten-cent coin struck by the United States Mint from 1916 to 1945. Designed by Adolph Weinman and also known as the Winged Liberty dime, it gained its common name as 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.

Although the new coin's design was admired for its beauty, the Mint made modifications to it upon learning that vending machine manufacturers were having difficulties making the new dime work in their devices. The coin continued to be minted until 1945, when the Treasury ordered that a new design, featuring recently deceased president Franklin Roosevelt, take its place.

Banknotes

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Credit: Ronald Wise, banknoteworld
Back of 100 Kyrgyz som, printed and issued in 2002.

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 is 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 is the study of paper money or banknotes.
  • Scripophily is the study and collection of stocks and Bonds.

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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

Production: Coining (machining) - Designers - Die making - Mint (coin) • Coinage Metals: Aluminum - Bronze - Copper - Gold - Platinum - Silver - Tin

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Economics on Wikinews Money on Wikiquote Numismatics on Wikibooks Numismatics on Wikisource Currencies on Wikicommons
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