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Coin collector? Or numismatist?


Phil Anthos

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As the title says, do you consider yourself one or the other? Or both? Is one more important than the other? More satisfying? Can I possibly get anymore question marks into this paragraph?

Discuss among yourselves...

~ Peter 

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One would really have to be very full of themselves to think one more important than the other. And satisfaction is subjective 😉
Really, I think of it more like a spectrum. We all start out as collectors and the second we start learning about the subject matter we begin straying towards scholarship. Most everyone is somewhere on that scale.

Rasiel

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Posted (edited)

I've been through a few varieties of this question on other forums. It all seems to come down to how one defines the terms. Some think "numismatist" and "coin collector" mean exactly the same thing, as a US Mint site states. Wikipedia, which I know isn't always the best source of information, defines "numismatist" as: "a specialist, researcher, and/or well-informed collector of numismatics/coins," but then goes on to say "Numismatists can include collectors, specialist dealers, and scholar-researchers who use coins (and possibly, other currency) in object-based research." So, it basically says that numismatists include both collectors and researchers/scholars. As such, a "collector" is a type of "numismatist," and a "scholarly researcher of coins" is another type of "numismatist." The question seems to assume that "numismatists" and "coin collectors" are not the same thing, and that "numismatist" has a different meaning leaning more towards scholarly pursuits. But, if they do mean the same thing, then we're all likely both "numismatists" and "coin collectors" on this site. I've never seen this question fully settled because of the broad, and seemingly not fully agreed upon, definition of "numismatist."

Maybe a better question would be: What kind of numismatist do you consider yourself? A collector or a researcher?

Edited by ewomack
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Hmm. Maybe I’m off base here and maybe I’m not, I’d consider myself a “collector”.

reason I pick this is I enjoy the hunt and the browsing for deals, probably as much if not more than the coin. I have certain coins I’m interested in acquiring, as do we all, but I like finding under appreciated coins in auctions, or just the time seeing the coins in auction offerings. When good examples appear, I decide I’d like them in my collection, both due to appearance and rarity.

I suppose knowing the history behind the coin adds some value, but other than its reasoning for the rarity, I’m not as interested in what’s behind it.

So in the end, I’m a “collector” due to the love of window shopping and deal hunting for the coins.

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Posted · Supporter

Whichever makes me sound more pompous, but with some flare. 

Numismatist extraordinaire or collector of classics thingys 🤪

Seriously, why should there be a dividing line between the two? They seem to intersect and overlap

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Posted (edited)

I am not sure what I am.  However, I rarely if ever have sold any of my coins.

So far, my collection has been a Black Hole... I capture coins, but they never leave my clutches. :D

I reckon I ACCREET.

upload_2021-8-23_10-15-21.png

Edited by Alegandron
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Related question: assuming you are a coin collector, Why?

Why Do We Want This Stuff? Eight Views on the Psychology of Collecting (coinweek.com)

1. Hunting and Gathering

2. Consumerism

3. Prevent and Accept Death

4. Connection with Something Larger

5. Mastery

6. Reducing Anxiety

7. Joy of Buying

8. Return to Childhood

 

I note that Coinweek doesn't include "love of history"!

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Posted · Benefactor
Posted (edited)

I think of myself as a coin collector who enjoys research, but in order to sound as pretentious as possible, I should probably start telling people instead that I am devoting my retirement to the study of classical numismatics.

Edited by DonnaML
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Posted · Benefactor
2 hours ago, Bonshaw said:

Related question: assuming you are a coin collector, Why?

Why Do We Want This Stuff? Eight Views on the Psychology of Collecting (coinweek.com)

1. Hunting and Gathering

2. Consumerism

3. Prevent and Accept Death

4. Connection with Something Larger

5. Mastery

6. Reducing Anxiety

7. Joy of Buying

8. Return to Childhood

 

I note that Coinweek doesn't include "love of history"!

What a peculiar list. Presumably it was not created with ancient coin collectors in mind.

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In my view, a numismatist like an archeologist, is either certified by an official organisation or has amassed years of specialised experience in a particular niche, potentially reaching a level where they could write a dissertation for a Ph.D. However, individuals like us, who are a bit more experienced than beginners and have an eye for specific coins, might be likened to citizen scientists. We contribute to the accumulation of data on a particular subject through our independent research, die studies, counterfeit detection, and the addition of our findings to the collective record.

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For me numismatist implies a level of academic contribution in the field of numismatics, I am a collector who enjoys hearing/reading/sharing what numismatists & historians have to say about the coins that I collect.

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4 hours ago, DonnaML said:

What a peculiar list. Presumably it was not created with ancient coin collectors in mind.

I suppose that's the point!

Collecting is a "bug" that you either have or not (unless the normies are really suppressed collectors?). If you're born with or acquire the bug, then you'll collect something, whether that's coins, beanie babies, or garden gnomes.

Collecting seems to be part of the human condition, and as such must have some universal basis in primitive urges such as hunting and gathering or whatever!

As for myself, part Gollum, part student.

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I enjoyed this book. Despite the US coins depicted on the cover, it's 100% applicable to ancient coin enthusiasts and collectors. The author has a Ph.D. in psychology and is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at James Madison University. He is a coin collector himself. 

9781440217012-us.jpg

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Posted · Supporter

Coin collector or numismatist?  If you often spot misattributions and errors in the catalog descriptions of coins at auction by major firms, you are a numismatist.  Collecting is another thing entirely. 

image.jpeg.b1993cde339f47da3985a2f52a917022.jpeg

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Hrefn said:

Coin collector or numismatist?  If you often spot misattributions and errors in the catalog descriptions of coins at auction by major firms, you are a numismatist.  Collecting is another thing entirely. 

image.jpeg.b1993cde339f47da3985a2f52a917022.jpeg

I like your distinction...

It also hints at why I became dis-interested in collecting Modern US coinage... same issues for ever and ever; slight, MACHINE variations; the minutia of dates and mints - such a minor (and in my eyes, MUNDANE) change in a coin and history; rarity defined by THOUSANDS of coins in the population...etc... all leading to a BORING collection.  Gee, I just get so "excited" by having a consecutive collection of Kennedy Half-Dollars...  

Even when I was younger, collecting US Coins, I focused on the off-beat, niche, rich in history, and NOT the same:  Hard Times Tokens, Civil War Tokens, Odd-Denoms, etc. etc. 

BE ECLECTIC!

 

Edited by Alegandron
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Roman Collector said:

I enjoyed this book. Despite the US coins depicted on the cover, it's 100% applicable to ancient coin enthusiasts and collectors. The author has a Ph.D. in psychology and is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at James Madison University. He is a coin collector himself. 

9781440217012-us.jpg

This is how I got started...

Edited by Alegandron
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Posted · Supporter

I am secure in the description of collector. I like to make sure a coin is correctly attributed, I like to read the historical or mythological write ups of the character, deity or God/Goddess and I absolutely adore the feeling of holding in my hand something that 1700+ years ago did the same. The intellectual researching I leave to others, but I do like to read their results.

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Posted (edited)

Its purely a matter of opinion of course, but I tend to view a numismatist as an individual steeped in the relevant academia whereas a collector simply buys a coin because it looks nice, it has a historical connection, or what ever reason have you. 

Not all collectors are numismatists and not all numismatists are collectors. Some are both. If you wanted to be a bit more strict, perhaps the line between the two can be drawn at actually publishing works on numismatics in a journal.

Another exception might be a coin dealer or employee. Its a complicated question 🙂

Edited by TheTrachyEnjoyer
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