The Cultural Aspect of Numismatics

Numismatics (the study or collection of coins, money or medals) is a science, which could be said to have originated as the “hobby of kings”, since it realistically took hold in Britain during the 16th and 17th centuries, when cabinets of coins, usually Roman coins, were collected in catalogues by princes and nobles. Certainly, from that time onward, numismatics held a cultural interest throughout different countries worldwide, as represented by the establishment of numismatic societies within countries, such as, Russia, Greece, Canada, Malaysia, Israel, Tasmania and Perth. These societies underpin the cultural importance of numismatics within society today, so a brief overview of the major societies is detailed in the following paragraphs, together with a reference to a business in numismatics.

The Royal Numismatic Society was founded in 1836 and has recorded a veritable historical account of the interest in numismatics. Its earliest account dates back to the 16th and 17th century, although there are historical records of the presence of numismatics long before that time. By the time of the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution gave rise to a greater wealth enjoyed by people who desired to participate in intellectual and cultural pursuits, such as, numismatics. Added to this, was the development of the railways, which enabled people to travel from afar and meet with like-minded individuals for meetings at societies like the Royal Numismatic Society.

Later, in 1903, the British Numismatic Society was established as a charitable organization, with an array of honorary members, who all have contributed in some measure to British numismatics. The intention of the British Numismatic society is to represent the British numismatics in the wider world, because its establishment took place due to the Society’s first president’s dissatisfaction with the lack of interest in British numismatics. Over the years, the attitude towards numismatics has changed and the British Numismatic Society now enjoys a solid relationship with the Royal Numismatic Society, as they both work to keep numismatics in the forefront of society today.

Not far behind Britain, the American Numismatic Society was formed in 1858 and due to the generous leadership of former Presidents like Archer M. Huntington in 1929 and Edward T. Newell, the Society evolved in the latter half of the 20th century into a highly respected numismatic research organization. In fact, the American Numismatic Society now boasts a cabinet of nearly one million objects, together with an impressive library of over 100,000 items, which counts as the most comprehensive numismatic collection in existence. Interestingly, the Society also offers a graduate Seminar in Numismatics and continues its research programs and publishing.

Last but not least, the World Internet Numismatic Society was formed in 1999 as the online focal point for the “hobby of kings”. It was inevitable that the internet would play a cultural part in the evolution of modern-day numismatics. After all, the internet is able to portray selected coins onscreen, each with its own unique imagery, so that the coins handsomely capture a small, yet often, important part of history in gold or silver. Today, the World Internet Numismatic Society endeavors to generate and maintain worldwide interest in numismatics by encouraging the use of modern-day technologies, including the internet and digital photography, to not only keep the science alive, but also to commend numismatics as the “caretakers” of our history.

Mindful of the cultural background of numismatics, there now exists the opportunity for people worldwide to engage in the collection of beautiful coins, with the aim of promoting numismatics as an online business. For those interested, a visit to http://www.numistv.com will enable one to review the business package and join a growing network of individuals, who are keen to participate in an interesting and lucrative online business, which may even play a part in the cultural renaissance of numismatics. Who knows?

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