Numismatist (specialist)

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A numismatist is a specialist in numismatics ("of coins"; from Late Latin numismatis, genitive of numisma). Numismatists include collectors, specialist dealers and scholars who use coins in object-based research. Although the term numismatics was first coined in English in 1829, people had been collecting and studying coins long before this, all over the world.[1]

The first group chiefly derive pleasure from the simple ownership of monetary devices and studying these coins as private amateur scholars. In the classical field amateur collector studies have achieved quite remarkable progress in the field. Examples are Walter Breen, a well-known example of a noted numismatist who was not an avid collector, and King Farouk I of Egypt was an avid collector[2] who had very little interest in numismatics. Harry Bass by comparison was a noted collector who was also a numismatist.

The second group are the coin dealers. Often called professional numismatists, they authenticate or grade coins for commercial purposes. The buying and selling of coin collections by numismatists who are professional dealers advances the study of money, and expert numismatists are consulted by historians, museum curators, and archaeologists. See, for example, the International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN) and the British Numismatic Trade Association (BNTA).

The third category are scholar numismatists working in public collections, universities or as independent scholars acquiring knowledge about monetary devices, their systems, their economy and their historical context.[3] Coins are especially relevant as a source in the pre-modern period.

Training and recognition[edit]

There are very few academic institutions around the world that offer formal training in numismatics. Some may offer numismatics as part of a course in classical studies, ancient history, history or archaeology. Scholar numismatists may focus on numismatics at postgraduate level, where the training is more research-based. As a result, most scholar numismatists will approach numismatics from within another academic discipline (eg history, archaeology, ancient or modern languages, metal sciences), perhaps after attending a numismatic summer school, usually based where there is an excellent coin collection. Recognition of scholarly numismatic expertise may be in the form of a postgraduate qualification, and/or in the form of a medal awarded by a numismatic society: for example, the Medal of the Royal Numismatic Society, which may be awarded to scholar numismatists of any nationality.

Donald H. Kagin earned the first PhD in Numismatics granted in the United States in 1979.[4]

Numismatic institutions

Numismatic summer schools

Numismatic organisations (selection)[edit]


Numismatic Societies

Biographical resources[edit]

As scholar numismatists work on coins (and related objects) within their particular area of interest (eg a particular part of the world, a particular period of history, or a particular culture), they are often known in those fields, as well as in numismatics. Biographical resources relating specifically to numismatists include the following:

List of scholar numismatists[edit]

See also Medal of the Royal Numismatic Society and International Numismatic Council.


  1. ^ "numismatist". thefreedictionary. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  2. ^ Lester, Carl N. "Numismatic "Gumshoe:" On the Trail of King Farouk". Gold Rush Gallery. 
  3. ^ "An Overview of Numismatics". Gainesville Coins. Retrieved June 13, 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Numismatic summer school at the British Museum
  6. ^ Eric P. Newman Graduate Seminar in Numismatics, American Numismatic Society
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ In Coins Weekly.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Ernest Babelon (1854-1924) by Felicity Bodenstein, in INC, Compte rendu 57, 2010, pp.33-38.
  13. ^ obituaries " A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe. Retrieved on 2011-11-24.
  14. ^ Mark Blackburn. Telegraph. Retrieved on 2011-11-24.
  15. ^ Gabriele Lancillotto Castelli (1727-1792) by Katia Longo, INC Compte rendu 61, 2014, pp.32-36.
  16. ^ Secondina Lorenza Cesano (1879-1973) by Nicola Parise, INC Compte rendu 47, 2000, pp. 60-65.
  17. ^ Esprit-Marie Cousinéry (1747-1833) by Daniela Willams, INC Compte rendu 59, 2012, pp. 27-37.
  18. ^ Joe Cribb. British Museum. Retrieved on 2011-11-24.
  19. ^
  20. ^ Sylvester Sage Crosby (1831-1914) by John M. Kleeberg, INC Compte rendu 52, 2005, pp. 15-19.
  21. ^ Hermann Dannenberg (1824-1905) by Bernd Kluge, INC Compte Rendu 60, 2013, pp. 38-42.
  22. ^ Joseph Hilarius Eckhel (1737-1798) by Günther Dembski, INC Compte Rendu 48, 2001, pp. 55-59
  23. ^ Michael Grant (1914-2004) by Michel Amandry, INC Compte Rendu 51, 2004, pp. 13-19.
  24. ^ Philip Grierson, obituary
  25. ^ Barclay Vincent Head (1844-1914) by N. Keith Rutter, INC Compte Rendu 60, 2013, pp. 25-37.
  26. ^ George Hill (1867-1948) by Andrew Burnett, INC Compte Rendu 46, 1999, pp. 64-68.
  27. ^ Friedrich Imhoof-Blumer (1838-1920) by Benedikt Zäch, INC Compte Rendu 54, 2007, S. 30-37.
  28. ^ Kenneth Jenkins, obituary
  29. ^