Coins are more than just a legal tender or currency for most people. They are memories, histories, symbology, souvenirs, mysteries and because of these things, a hobby and/or business. We all know someone who collects coins as a hobby or who loves to research on coins and is really interested in knowing about different coins of different places of different times.
But, there is always a start and we are going to discuss about numismatics, that is the word used to describe study of coins but is also colloquially used for coin collection. This hobby or interest of collecting coins came only after the iron age in Anatolia (which is today called Turkey), that is when coins were first developed. They started rapidly around the world and each empire or kingdom would have its own unique coin(s). People started collecting coins that we discontinued soon after they were initiated, making them rare and hence, invaluable. Such coins were also a potential source of money as many would pay a fortune to possess rare yet artistically and historically strong coins.
The hobby of collecting coins started gaining popularity in the fourteenth century. It was during the Renaissance, when numismatics became a fad among people from the elite classes, especially kings and queens. In fact, today, collecting coins is called the ‘king of hobbies’ as in the old times it was called ‘hobby of kings’. Study of coins or numismatics became a part of academic discipline in seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. And hobbies were later turned into serious studies and became more systematic.
Numismatics helped people understand the history and culture of different places. There were hidden meanings as well that these hobbyists found and that helped in many discoveries as well.
As time moved ahead, this hobby started spreading among people from the middle class as well as things started getting more accessible. Today it’s not just about ancient coins, people keep coins from different countries they have traveled as a souvenir. Storytelling also emerged from the collection of coins.
Today you will find books that have been written on coins and the collection of coins, shows that have been conducted on the same, and there are a lot of people who are interested in this and devote great amount of time to numismatics. Coin collection also brings or unites the world as understanding culture of each other is a great way to mend countries.