Numismatists: The Definition, photo courtesy of

Simply put, a numismatist studies coins. More specifically, it is a person who studies currency including coins, paper money, bartered goods, or jewelry. Typically, a numismatist is also an avid coin collector, but not always.

Are All Coin Collectors Numismatists?

People often wonder if the term numismatist is just a fancy term for a coin collector, but it is not. While a numismatist may collect coins, and therefore be a coin collector, not all coin collectors are numismatists. In order to be considered a numismatist, one must study currency, which includes coins.

To be clear, one is not inferior to the other. In fact, it’s possible for a coin collector and numismatist to have the exact same coin collection — what differs is the way they approach coin collection.

The Approach

Coin collectors gather and collect coins. Some are very honed in on the historical context of their coins and work diligently to create and complete sets. Still, there are other coin collectors who may strive to complete sets, or not. Perhaps they are merely after finding an intriguing, rare coin. Sometimes coin collectors are drawn to certain pieces without knowledge of their date, country of origin, or even denomination.

On the other hand, a numismatist approaches coin collection from a historical standpoint. He or she knows the time period of the coin, its history of the coin itself and the mint from which it originated. Numismatists often work to complete sets, but their primary motivation is rooted in science. After all, numismatist literally means one who studies currency — which explains their scientific, deductive approach.

Numismatists aren’t limited to coins, instead, they also collect and study other forms of currency, including paper money and bullion.

Collecting Knowledge

Numismatists are important players in advancing the knowledge and history of coins throughout the world. Numismatists are students of coins or currency as a whole. They’re generally divided into two groups: either scholars focusing on history, archaeology, and collecting coins for public collections or coin collectors and dealers.

There are various organizations devoted to numismatics. They help collect and disperse important information about the history of coins, rare coins, and collectibles. These organizations, along with trade shows, are invaluable for a numismatist.

Another great resource for coin collectors and numismatists alike is Some coins that may interest a numismatist include world coins like the 10 Guilder Gold Coin from the Netherlands, the Gold World English Sovereign Queen Victoria Jubilee Coin, or Mexican Gold 5 Pesos. These and many other intriguing pieces are available for purchase to collectors and scholars alike on

The Staff

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