Numismatics: (Greek: numisma = coin)
Numismatics is the collecting
and the study of coins and related forms of money, such as paper
currency and tokens. As the products of human
artistry and ingenuity, coins reflect human history through 2,500
years with a fidelity found in few other groups of objects. The
application of numismatics as a sophisticated historical tool is
a relatively new field, but it has immeasurably broadened our
knowledge and conception of the past.
The systematic collecting of coins for their rarity or historical significance began during the Renaissance, when wealthy admirers of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations made collections of coins from those eras. The numismatic enthusiasm of the time also resulted in the widespread counterfeiting of ancient coins, and, beginning in the 17th century, collections began to be cataloged, in part in an attempt to distinguish genuine from false coins. The growth of numismatics as a field of historical study dates from this period. By the 20th century the large-scale collecting of coins had become a specialty of museums and other endowed or wealthy institutions.
Present-day collections of major importance include those in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the American Numismatic Society and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, both in New York City; and the great city museums of London, Paris, Vienna, and Berlin.
In todays day and age, numismatics is not as popular as it used to be about 30-40 years ago. One of the main reasons being, todays coins don't have much of a bullion value, i.e. value for the material a substance is made out of (Like Gold, Silver, Platinum,Etc.) Governments of many countries now issue proof coins which have a significant bullion value, this is definatily encouraging budding numismats and established coin collectors.
The use of numismatics for historical study is not necessarily restricted to ancient times, nor is it limited to coinage. Numismatists are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the science can be employed to answer questions about more recent history and have found that paper money and tokens can be as informative as metal coins. One estimate puts the number of people in the United States who collect coins, bills, tokens, and medals and decoration at around 20 million; worldwide, the figure is likely to be four or five times as large.
In addition to their historical interest, coins are often collected as an investment. The value of collections of older coins usually increases with time, and many coins of even fairly recent vintage are now worth more than their face value because of their gold or silver content alone. Rarity is an important determinant of value; the physical condition of a coin is also a value factor, and coins are graded on a scale ranging upward as follows :
Mintage (Production Of Coins)
Mintage is the process by which
metal money is coined by a government. A mint is the
place where coins are manufactured, as well as being a repository
for the gold and silver bullion used to produce coins. The
use of metal shapes as currency has a history stretching back to
the 4th millennium BC in Egypt. In the Western world
true coinage came into being in Lydia (Anatolia) and Greece
around 700 BC. At this time measured quantities of gold, silver,
or copper were melted and cast into regular shapes and then
stamped with marks representing their value and the name or image
of the issuer--a ruler or a state--as a guarantee of value.
Gold and silver coins were usually produced with designs that had been stamped into their surface with bronze or iron dies. Molten gold or silver was poured onto a flat surface or into a mold, where it cooled in a circular shape. This coin blank, or planchet, was placed between an upper and lower die, and a hammer blow incised the dies' designs on both faces. The designs on the dies themselves were produced with punches or by engraving.
The most common method of producing coin blanks in medieval times involved hammering the cast metal into sheets from which the blanks were cut. Several small dies, used in various configurations, could serve to make a variety of coin faces. In Renaissance Europe coinage metal was cast into small ingots, which were then mill-rolled into thin strips out of which the blanks were punched or cut. Improved die-making techniques produced more intricate, detailed designs; and the dies themselves were made from steel. instead of hammers presses were used to strike the coins.
Modern mintage methods use precise processes for producing the metals from which coins are made. The ingots cast from these metals are roller-reduced to metal coils from which the blanks are punched. Coin rims are made by forcing the blanks into holes that are marginally too small. High-speed presses can strike 40,000 coins per hour!
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( Edited By Varun Parekh )
Because variations of this question are the most common numismatic queries on the Net, and they are not nearly as easy to answer as you might think, this entire section is devoted to helping you learn the value of your coins. In general, a coin must be physically examined to determine its authenticity, grade and the presence or absence of problems before a value can be established.
Like anything else, a coin is "worth" what someone is willing to pay for it. Several factors will be taken into account by a potential buyer to establish what he or she considers a fair price: