Numismatics: What you should know about coin collecting

Numismatics refers to the study and collection of currency. You’re probably familiar with the value of the coins in your pocket, but they may be worth more than you think. This is because coins and currency in general often has cultural and historic value. Here’s what you should know.

A short history of money

Money came about because direct exchange, such as trading and bartering, has limits. For example, if the arrow maker needs food but the farmer doesn’t need arrows, the arrow maker has to give the farmer something valuable that the farmer can exchange with someone else.

The earliest forms of money, such as cowrie shells, appeared around 3000 BC. Standardized coinage didn’t come about until around 700 BC.

What coins can teach us

We can learn a lot from currency. For instance, while early coins were made from precious metals such as gold and silver, ancient Sparta minted its coins from comparatively worthless iron so that its citizens couldn’t engage in foreign trade. This says a lot about how deep Sparta’s isolationism ran.

Depicting rules on coins

Alexander the Great established the practice of representing the issuing ruler on coins during the Hellenic era. Over the course of reign his reign, the use of standardized coins ensured that the various territories he conquered could engage in commerce with one another using a common currency. This evolved into the modern custom of representing historically or culturally important figures on coins and bank notes.

Modern coins

Coins aren’t just ancient history. The Royal Canadian Mint produces special coin sets every year to commemorate important events and honour people like Canadian human rights activist Viola Desmond. In addition, coins follow us everywhere we go and can become reminders of memorable personal events.

Why collect?

Collecting coins is a great way to learn about history, but also to express your enthusiasm for art, science and popular culture. In addition, coin collectors are a passionate and friendly bunch, and there’s always more to learn. Plus, you might have valuable coins at home and not even know it. Collecting coins can become a profitable hobby in some cases.

Collecting coins in Toronto

Whether you’re just starting out and need to stock up on coin supplies or you’re wondering how much your coins are worth, Century Stamps is the place to go in the Toronto and Mississauga area. We stock a wide range of supplies, and you simply need to get in touch with us to set up a free assessment of your collection.