What is a numismatist?

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


    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Quite true. Problem is most people have their own personal definitions for just about all words, and they are all too often completely different from what others say the definition is. This thread and the posts it contains is a perfect example of that.

    My personal definition of a numismatist is simple - one who studies money. Of course the key word in that definition is studies.
    Dynoking, halfcent1793 and bernard55 like this.
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  3. charley

    charley Well-Known Member

    That may be, but the purpose of studying is preparing to eventually be tested, and pass a test that is prepared by qualified persons in the subject being tested. The test is invalid if self-testing is used for a pass-fail result. If the result is failure (and is usually failure by most of us involved in the hobby), then it is wise to keep studying. And never stop.
    bernard55 likes this.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    I gotta disagree with this. The purpose of studying is the acquisition of knowledge, nothing more, and nothing less.

    Test serve one purpose and only one purpose, to allow others to judge how much knowledge the one being tested has.
  5. charley

    charley Well-Known Member

    OK. You lost me at gotta.
  6. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    charley, posted: "You lost me at gotta."

    :rolleyes: If you read what Doug wrote in both posts above VERY S L O W L Y, you won't be "lost."
    Dynoking likes this.
  7. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . . Supporter

    I get "tested" every time I buy a coin . . . . . .

    I lose money on every single transaction, but MAKE UP FOR IT IN VOLUME . . . . .

  8. ewomack

    ewomack 魚の下着

    Like many definitions, it depends on who you ask, but I think decent boundaries can exist even here. I wouldn't consider someone who collects change and who has never read a word about coinage, history, etc., a "numismatist." That said, I wonder how many people like that actually exist? I see a lot of roll hoarders here picking up Red Books, reading magazines, discussing minting techniques, errors or history, going to clubs, etc., and I would consider all of them numismatists. Though it ultimately doesn't really matter in the end, it feels like a "numismatist" should do more than just collect or possess coins. For example, my grandmother had bags and bags of coins that she saved from change, far more than I've ever had, but she knew nothing about them whatsoever. I wouldn't call her a "numismatist."
    Dynoking likes this.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    OK. Perhaps if you studied a bit, that could be rectified.

    contraction INFORMAL
    have got a.
    "I gotta licence"
    have got to.
    "you gotta be careful"
  10. coin_nut

    coin_nut Well-Known Member

    I have bought a number of coins from a famous collector who lives in Victoria, BC. I will not mention his name. He long ago told me that he is an "Advanced collector". I puzzled over that for a while, then later he told me about flying half way around the world to attend a coin show in India, and I suspect he was also buying some high dollar items there. Probably he is a numismatist and I am more of a rookie collector. I have MANY coins, and most are very low value. I keep studying and learning more all the time. Maybe someday I will become a numismatist or advanced collector.
  11. Seascape

    Seascape U.S. & World Collector

    I would open up a coin shop directly across the street.
    Dynoking likes this.
  12. CoinJockey73

    CoinJockey73 Well-Known Member

    If you have to ask, you're neither.
  13. Phil's Coins

    Phil's Coins Well-Known Member

    That person is in the business of SELLING to individuals seekin coins. He is TRYING to make it appear that HE is a numismatist and as a dealer he should be listened to.
    I have met several over the years that know less about coins than my 12 year old grandson.
    Semper Fi
  14. halfcent1793

    halfcent1793 Well-Known Member

    Absolutely. You need to find a more knowledgeable dealer. Perhaps one who is an actual numismatist rather than just a businessman.
  15. rte

    rte Well-Known Member

    AKA coin doctor? :p
  16. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Supporter! Supporter

    I'd say they are being pompous if they are looking down their noses at their customers.
    coin_nut likes this.
  17. Mike Thornton

    Mike Thornton Learning something new everyday.

    That's how my wife describes me and I can't argue (would only waste the time). We might find ourselves on consecutive episodes of Hoarders someday.
    ZoidMeister and Trish like this.
  18. whopper64

    whopper64 Well-Known Member

    IMHO I consider myself a collector, having varied collections & learning the history associated with each. However, since I do not have the time or the patience to delve into the minutae of each variety, error, and/or type I do not consider myself a true numismatist. That is why I enjoy CT, so much info and the work is done by others who are numismatists for mine and other's benefit. I've learned quite a bit by picking and choosing those posts that interest me and educate me in the fine points of collecting.
  19. Rich Buck

    Rich Buck Yukon Cornelius

    Great questiion. I started loving coins as a paperboy. I bought my first Coins Magazine in 1973.
    Every day, I either notice a coin or some days dig them up. I started buying when I was 12.
    I'll be 61 in a few weeks and my passion for coins and tokens has never ceased. I've learned so
    much because of this "Hobby". I definitely consider anyone interested in coins and collects coins to
    be a Numistatist.
    Dynoking, bernard55 and coin_nut like this.
  20. coin_nut

    coin_nut Well-Known Member

    Good answer, I like your attitude. I am 10 years your senior and just got back into coin collecting about 5 years ago. Of course, I went hog wild.
    bernard55 likes this.
  21. John gyger

    John gyger New Member

    Semantics provides for distinctions without differences when the reality is that knowledge of numismatics is a continuum. Some have more knowledge than others (a known, known). It is the way of things. One of my standards is to be in the upper 50th percentile of the big things in life and the specific subjects which are are important to me in order to have the life I wished to have. I am 63 y/o and started collecting at age 12 and, I like to think I know a bit about Morgan dollars. Yesterday I had a table at the Lebanon (PA) coin club coin show. Nice people, nice show. A gentleman was looking thru one of my boxes of Morgan’s and was making comments (VAM’s, breaks, laminations,die characteristics) along the way. An hour later I had gotten an education I would have gladly paid for. He pointed out aspects of the Morgans that I was clueless to. At that moment, being the pupil, I wisely listened, ears, eyes open, mouth shut except for questions. Beware the pride that accompanies a little bit of knowledge. That pride can lead to type 2 errors (I don’t know what I don’t know). In those moments it is important to play the fool and ask the dumb questions. The knowledge he imparted was invaluable and I sucked it up, everything I could. My work is as a critical care RN and am often in situations where folks are being evaluated based on how many letters appear after their name on their name tag. I am frequently compared/attempted diminishment, because I insist that the only two letters after my name on my badge is RN despite having several others.
    Ascribing titles to people implies a certain level of competence via testing. This of course is wrong as interactions with titled/smart people continue to disappoint one and all.
    Point is, if you or others consider you as a numismatist is immaterial.
    Does the activity bring joy or satisfaction of some type. If so, continue the activity for respite or inspiration and give a polite nod to those who do not know you but are able to define you because of where you compare to them according to them.
    As is said, “comparison is the thief of joy”
    Gotta like coins though.
    JimsOkay, longshot, coin_nut and 3 others like this.
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