What is a Numismatist? | What is a Rare Coin Collector Called?


schedule Mon-Fri : 9am - 6pm,

schedule Sat : 9am - 4pm

Monday – Friday: 9am – 6pm
Saturday: 9am – 4pm
Sunday: Appointment only


What Is a Numismatist?

We deal with forms of currency every day as we buy and sell coins. Suppose you’re fascinated by the history of coins and currency, including the period of its production, and you’re eager to delve into the details. In this case, you can consider yourself a budding numismatist. Learn more about the work of a numismatist, how numismatists differ from coin collectors, and what you can do if you’re interested in becoming one.

What Is Numismatics?

Close on silver dollar and other coins on wooden table
Image via Unsplash by aurazon

Numismatics refers to the study of the physical presence of various payment forms, such as currencies. For example, when applied to coins, numismatics considers the research that goes into coin production, usage, and rarity. 

Numismatics comprises several specialty subcategories such as the following:

  • Exonumia, the study of coin-like items, such as medals, used in place of currency.
  • Notaphily, the study of paper currency, such as banknotes.
  • Scripophily, the study of securities, such as stocks and bonds.

Are Numismatists and Coin Collectors the Same?

You may be confused about the difference between numismatists and individuals who are coin collectors. While the two deal with currency, not all coin collectors are numismatists. 

Coin Collectors

Coin collectors aim to assemble a collection of coins, usually to create sets of coins or own certain types of coins. Coin collectors tend to be motivated by ownership of the coins themselves without delving too far into the details of the country of origin or date. Hobbyist coin collectors are those who enjoy collecting coins as a leisure pursuit.


Numismatists can be motivated to collect and assemble coin sets like coin collectors. However, numismatists take a more historical approach to the coins they collect. They are interested in knowing the coins’ production period, the history behind the coins, and the mints where the coins originated. In this sense, numismatists are like currency historians who seek to study and preserve the knowledge behind the history of coins and currency.

What Is the History of Numismatics?

Stacks of coins in descending height
Image via Unsplash by angiejj

According to Investopedia, the field of numismatics began during the European Renaissance. The first English usage of the word numismatics occurred in 1829. The word derives from the adjective form numismatic, which means “of coins.” This term traces its origins to the French word “numismatiques,” which derives from the Latin word “numismatis.”

What Numismatic Societies Exist Today?

Today, numismatic societies exist throughout the world. Examples include the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association, the Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand, and the International Numismatic Commission. 

The United States is home to three long-standing numismatic organizations: the American Numismatic Association, the American Numismatic Society, and the Professional Numismatists Guild.

American Numismatic Association

The American Numismatic Association traces its origins to Dr. George F. Heath of Monroe, Michigan. Heath desired to share his interest in studying his coin collection with fellow coin enthusiasts. In 1888, he published a four-page pamphlet, “The Numismatist,” that listed his coin needs and described topics related to the study of coins. 

In 1891, Heath, William G. Jerrems, David Harlowe, J.A. Heckelman, and John Brydon met in Chicago, Illinois, and founded the American Numismatic Association. Since 1891, the American Numismatic Association has expanded to become one of the largest nonprofit numismatic organizations of its type in the world. The association holds two conventions each year with exhibits, educational programs, and affiliated specialty organization meetings. 

The association maintains its headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

American Numismatic Society

Founded in 1858, the American Numismatic Society exists to promote the study of and public appreciation for coins, currencies, medals, and related objects. The society’s permanent collection contains more than 800,000 items dating from 650 B.C. to the present. Its numismatic library houses approximately 100,000 artifacts, books, and documents. 

The American Numismatic Society grew in influence and recognition, thanks to the contributions of individuals such as Archer M. Huntington, who graciously underwrote the donation of the land and the building that functioned as the society’s headquarters at the turn of the 20th century. Edward T. Newell, a Greek coins scholar, also directed the society’s work and left his substantial personal coin collection to the organization. 

During the latter half of the 20th century, the society progressed to become the foremost numismatic research institution existing in the United States. In addition to serving as a physical repository for its vast numismatic collection, the American Numismatic Society has committed itself to offer scholarly resources and programs. It provides these programs to promote research in numismatics and encourages the use of its collections. 

The society maintains its headquarters in lower Manhattan in New York City. 

Professional Numismatists Guild 

Close on pile of American coins
Image via Unsplash by shotbycerqueira

Founded in 1955, the Professional Numismatists Guild is a nonprofit organization maintaining a diverse membership composed of the country’s top rare coin and paper money experts. These individuals consent to personal background checks and a stringent code of ethics in the purchasing and selling of numismatic items. They must also guarantee the authenticity of the numismatic items they sell.

The Professional Numismatists Guild also commits itself to uphold the highest standards of numismatic education and knowledge. To that end, the guild offers an internship program and a Young Numismatists Summer Seminar Scholarship Program. 

The internship program connects interns with three-month placements at prominent PNG member-owned organizations. Throughout their internship, interns gain hands-on experience and knowledge of the elements necessary to pursue a career in numismatics. 

The Young Numismatists Summer Seminar Scholarship Program awards a scholarship to an aspiring young numismatist to attend the American Numismatic Association’s Summer Seminar held in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The seminar consists of six-day sessions that offer instruction on specific numismatic-related topics and business and technical aspects of numismatics. 

Where Can I Have My Coins and Currency Examined to Determine Their Value?

Americash Jewelry & Coin Buyers, Inc. has been purchasing coins and currency for more than 20 years. Our team specializes in rare coins and currency such as gold coins, proof sets, investment holdings, silver dollars, and U.S. currency from 1934 and earlier.

Americash Jewelry & Coin Buyers purchases and sells coins and currencies graded by respected professional numismatic organizations such as the American Numismatic Association Certification Service, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, Professional Coin Grading Service, and the Paper Money Guaranty. 

Contact Americash Jewelry & Coin Exchange

If you have rare coins and currency that you’d like to have our professional appraisers examine, bring them to our Westmont, Illinois, location at 16 W. Ogden Ave. Please schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 630-969-9600.

Serving western suburbs of Chicago and the surrounding communities.

  • Darien
  • Hinsdale
  • Oak Brook
  • Oak Brook Terrace
  • Burr Ridge
  • Indian Head Park
  • Downers Grove
  • La Grange
  • Naperville
  • Lisle
  • Clarendon Hills
  • Wheaton
  • Glen Ellyn
  • Bloomingdale
  • Winfield
  • Elmhurst
  • Woodridge
  • Westchester
  • Willowbrook
  • La Grange Park
  • Carol Stream
  • Warrenville
  • Geneva
  • St. Charles
  • Batavia
  • Aurora
  • River Forest
  • Oak Park
  • Riverside
  • Elmwood Park

16 W Ogden Ave, Westmont, IL 60559

Americash Jewelers Inc. BBB Business Review