What is a numismatist?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by bernard55, Aug 26, 2021.

  1. bernard55

    bernard55 Active Member

    I had an interesting experience recently.

    I was recently told by someone that runs a large coin dealer (someone I recently met) -- "you are a collector, NOT a numismatist". I asked for clarification and they said, "you never made living selling coins". I referred them to this definition from Wikipedia: A numismatist is a specialist in numismatics. Numismatists include collectors, specialist dealers, and scholars who use coins and other currency in object-based research. ...and they said, "yea, that's wikipedia for you..."

    I've been a collector (as a hobby) since I was a kid.. I specialize in US and World coins from the 1700s and I'm attached to them because of their history. I've also sold many on eBay and I usually purchase from a few dealers that I respect. I also just started my entry into ancients but I have a huge amount to learn...

    My question: What IS the real difference between a collector and a numismatist? Is a coin dealer a numismatist? How do you become a numismatist? What do you study to be a numismatist?
    Trish, GH#75 and YoloBagels like this.
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  3. derkerlegand

    derkerlegand Well-Known Member

    Forget it, you're a numismatist. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.
  4. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    I have been a rabid coin collector since the late 1960's. I have long said that I am a rabid hobbyist and not a numismatist. I know all that I care to know to enjoy my hobby and am well versed on most US coin series, key dates and such. But well versed does not translate to educated. If you want to talk about die pairings and the like... I am out.... I love it when I can read some of the posts here by the true numismatists. I learn something every time I do.... Education defines a numismatist in my eyes and that has nothing to do with marketing coins.
    Dynoking, Trish, 1776 and 6 others like this.
  5. Inspector43

    Inspector43 Celebrating 75 Years Active Collecting Supporter

    A PhD can be a scholar or a Posthole Digger.
  6. expat

    expat Remember you are unique, just like everyone else Supporter

    Taken from the web
    Numismatics is the study of coins and other currency units and is usually associated with the appraisal and collection of rare coins. Numismatists study the physical properties, production technology, and historical context of specimens of currency.
    Dynoking, ksparrow, bernard55 and 4 others like this.
  7. expat

    expat Remember you are unique, just like everyone else Supporter

    Even though I posted a "description" above, my personal view is that anyone who is interested in collecting coins of whatever type, condition or quantity, is a numinmatist. The big hole this world has dug for itself, is it doesn't feel comfortable unless everyone and anything has a "name", title or description. Can then be pidgeonholed very nicely into like groups and managed without having to deal with "individuals"
    rte, bernard55, AdamL and 5 others like this.
  8. charley

    charley Well-Known Member

    PHD in Numismatics.
    bernard55 and Randy Abercrombie like this.
  9. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    :rolleyes: That dealer is an uneducated :bucktooth: idiot; and I don't care who, how long, or how big his company is. It's too bad we'll never know who he is.
  10. 1stSgt22

    1stSgt22 I'm just me!

    OK! Opinions are like hind ends! Everybody has one and most of them stink, but here's my opinion anyway!!! If you collect, buy, sell, invest in, or trade coins you are a numismatist. You can also specialize in certain aspects such as errors, varieties, U.S. coins, foreign coins, ancient coins. Being a numismatist means you are part of a large group of coin lovers who do their own thing (as we said in the old days). It's kinda like being a ball player! Do you play baseball, football, basketball? At what level? PeeWee, Little League, middle school, high school, college, pro? Just one big happy family!!! That's my story and I'm stickin to it!!!!!
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2021
  11. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Your wikipedia definition is acceptable. A collector is just that, they collect, a numismatist studies. We learn about the designs, why they came about, the history behind them, the economic, social, and political reasons for their existence and the times from which they were from, methods of manufacture, some chemistry, metallurgy, etc. We may specialize in a particular series or be wide ranging. How do you become a numismatist? You read, a lot, and about many things.

    You can be a collector without being a numismatist (I've known many that weren't, all they knew was what coins they still needed and possibly what they would cost and basically nothing else). You can be a numismatist without being a collector (most numismatists are also collectors, but not all of them). You can be a dealer without being either one, and I have known some dealers like that. They knew markets, were good salesmen, and could read slabs and the greysheet, but knew little about coins. But most dealers are to at least some extent collectors and/or numismatists.
    Dynoking, longshot, muhfff and 8 others like this.
  12. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    What’s in a name?
    charley and bernard55 like this.
  13. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Names are merely labels, but words have meanings.
    Trish and bernard55 like this.
  14. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    You're being too nice!
    Insider likes this.
  15. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP Supporter

    Some people set aside 1976 quarters and silver coins in the 60s and didn't go any further. Some people just set aside pocket change that looks interesting without ever studying it any further. I'd say that's a coin collector.

    If you have most of the redbook in your head and know details about varieties, start and end dates for series', understand grading, know all of the types of coinage the US has had for the past 200 years, or maybe you're well versed in ancients, etc... I would say that is a numismatist. Has nothing to do with buying or selling.
    Dynoking, Spark1951 and bernard55 like this.
  16. MIGuy

    MIGuy Supporter! Supporter

    I had an aunt and uncle in upstate New York back in the 70s who were nudismasochists I was told.
    John Skelton, charley and bernard55 like this.
  17. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    What's an Numismatist? Short answer...........a person who collects, gathers, or studies coins.......
    fretboard, Rich Buck, charley and 2 others like this.
  18. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    I'd have loved to have met them......... devil.gif
    fretboard, charley and MIGuy like this.
  19. bernard55

    bernard55 Active Member

    Thank you Conder101... I like how you put this... " A collector is just that, they collect, a numismatist studies."

    I read an article once about the 7 motivations of a collector. Here were my notes that categorized the motivations of collectors (not just coins, but cards, wine, cars etc..). I fit best into #4 and I think that would allow me to refer to myself as a numismatist. But I agree with the others (labels can do more harm than good as I think I triggered some bad feelings referring to myself as a numismatist)

    1. To purchase an asset for a financial flip or long-term return, using it to store value
    2. To own an asset before someone else does. Asset is rare and available now and you don’t want someone else to get it before you do
    3. For the thrill of the hunt, to acquire an object of desire, to acquire an entire set
    4. To understand and preserve history
    5. To ‘organize’ and complete an entire set
    6. To connect to a community (celebrity or sports team)… Social interaction with a group of like-minded people
    7. To own a 1 of a kind, to own the most expensive, to own the highest quality, to own a special piece of history etc..
  20. masterswimmer

    masterswimmer A Caretaker, can't take it with me

    Regardless of the definition of numismatist, collector, hoarder or stacker, that dealer is a bloviating buffoon.

    He had a prospective buyer in front of him. Someone willing to spend their hard earned cash in his establishment. His motivation to compel you to buy from him is to insult, degrade and minimize your self labeling, because you basically put yourself on his level as a numismatist?

    You want to spend your money with me and call yourself the leading authority, worlds best, Guinness Book of Records, greatest bowtie aficionado on the planet? Go for it. Just show me the Benjamin's!

    I wouldn't spend a dime with a blowhard like that.
    Dynoking, Magnus87, charley and 3 others like this.
  21. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . . Supporter

    I am a HOARDER . . . . .

    Someday, they are going to have a TV show about me . . . . . .

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