Definitions – Work in Progress: Numismatics and Numismatist

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December 11, 2012 – You certainly know the problem: You are using the same word as your business partner, nevertheless you are speaking of completely different things. Different languages, different procedures, different aspects – globalization presents our language competence with completely new challenges. MintWorld wants to contribute to liquidate possibilities of misunderstanding. We are working on an encyclopedia of technical terms used by the coin producing industry. These definitions are thought as basis for discussion. We are looking for the appropriate word in your language. And we are looking for your commentaries.

Numismatics / Numismatist

by Ursula Kampmann, numismatist

Numismatics (derived from lat. nummus = coin) is the study of coins, medals and congeneric objects. Like epigraphy (the study of inscriptions) or codicology (study of handwritten codices) numismatics is considered an auxiliary science of history.
Traditionally the scholars specialised in numismatics were called numismatists as distinct from coin dealers and coin collectors. Since the 1970s this distinction has become blurred. Today, just to cite some examples, the Association of Swiss coin dealers calls itself Association of Swiss Professional Numismatists and in the United States we have the Professional Numismatists Guild uniting coin dealers.
Currently, a specialised formation in numismatics is offered only at the University of Vienna. Other universities, though, run additional courses in history or archaeology.