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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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The U.S. Mint in New Orleans operated as a branch of the United States Mint from 1838 to 1861 and from 1879 to 1909. During its years of operation, it produced over 427 million gold and silver coins of nearly every American denomination, with a total face value of over $307 million. It was closed during most of the American Civil War and the period called Reconstruction. After its decommissioning as a mint, the building served a variety of purposes, including as an assay office, a United States Coast Guard storage facility, and a fallout shelter. Since 1981 it has served as a branch of the Louisiana State Museum. As of August 2006 it is closed to the public pending repairs following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The New Orleans Mint has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and is currently the oldest surviving structure to have served as a U.S. Mint. Along with the Charlotte Mint, it is one of two former mint facilities in the United States to house an art gallery.

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Credit: US Mint, User:Dbenbenn & Sniff

A stunning 2002 Lincoln cent proof with a mirror-like finish. Lincoln's profile is complemented by a frosty cameo finish.

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Newfoundland 2 dollar coin

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The British decimal Two Pence (2p) coin was issued by the Royal Mint on 15 February 1971, the day the British currency was decimalised. In practice it had been available from banks in bags of £1 for some weeks previously.

The coin was initially minted from bronze, but since 1992 it has been minted in copper-plated steel except for a few months in 1998 when bronze was used again. As copper-plated steel is less dense than bronze, post-1992 coins have been slightly thicker. The coin weighs 7.1 grams and has a diameter of 25.9 millimetres.

Banknotes

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Credit: commons:User:Red devil 666.
Face of the famous 1896 $2 "Educational Series" silver certificate.

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 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...


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