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Coin collector? Or numismatist?


Phil Anthos

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The definitions of other '-ist' suffixes (scientist, biologist, lexicologist) that relate to an -ology (such as numismatology) simply require the person to study the subject. You don't need a qualification (most early scientists were unqualified amateurs) or to publish papers, although if you did you are definitely a 'numismatist'. Collecting on its own would not make you a numismatist. Enjoying the history wouldn't necessarily either, although it would if that included "the devotion of time and attention to gaining knowledge of an academic subject."

I would say it's very likely an ancients collector is a numismatist, but very likely a Morgan dollar collector isn't.

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I guess I would be mostly described as a "collector" The nuances of the actual coining process are largely lost to me. I have a hard time focusing on the minutiae.

More than anything, I consider myself a history lover. These coins represent certain moments in history and I love that aspect. 

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7 hours ago, John Conduitt said:

The definitions of other '-ist' suffixes (scientist, biologist, lexicologist) that relate to an -ology (such as numismatology) simply require the person to study the subject. You don't need a qualification (most early scientists were unqualified amateurs) or to publish papers, although if you did you are definitely a 'numismatist'. Collecting on its own would not make you a numismatist. Enjoying the history wouldn't necessarily either, although it would if that included "the devotion of time and attention to gaining knowledge of an academic subject."

I would say it's very likely an ancients collector is a numismatist, but very likely a Morgan dollar collector isn't.

Ooooh!  I like that!  My career as a Bidnessist.  And now, I am a Retiredist!  

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Posted (edited)

There are numismatists who study but don't collect. There are collectors who acquire but don't study. Most of us are somewhere in the middle, I think.

 

 

Edited by DLTcoins
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Posted (edited)

I agree with others that the designation numismatist implies a certain level of familiarity with the relevant scholarship. To this, I would also add a formal background in classics and especially, the ancient languages. I certainly wouldn’t label a significant number of dealers or collectors ‘numismatists’. While I don’t think the categories are mutually exclusive, I would probably classify most outside academia as hobbyists. There are of course quite a few exceptions. I also think the divide is widening as more in academia adopt hostile attitudes towards collectors; for my part, I always try advocate for responsible collecting. When I explain that I buy provenanced material, the response is generally positive. I am in academia, but as a grad student I wouldn’t call myself a numismatist. Like most others, I’d probably fall somewhere in between.

Edited by Romancollector
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Posted (edited)

As stated by others, I think we're all somewhere on the spectrum of collector to numismatist ("I kept a penny I found in change" to "I spent years traveling to the world's museums/cabinets and meticulously analyzed images from hundreds of catalogs/reference guides to produce a die study").

I'm somewhere in the left-side of the middle due more to a lack of time than a lack of interest.

Edited by AncientJoe
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Posted (edited)

I suppose hunting and gathering is a good analogy as suggested by my user handle. Looking for specific things as we collect. I've considered numismatists to be professionals who earn money or are compensated by the sales of coins. For me, selling a coin is difficult and so I have never sold a coin in my modern iteration as a collector. I've given away many for different educational purposes as a way to introduce students to ancient history as a coin in hand can fuel the imagination. My baccalaureate education was as an archaeologist and linguist so I've often viewed coins through that lens.

Edited by Ancient Coin Hunter
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I collect and work as a professional numismatist, so definitely both! But as others have pointed out, it really depends. For me, numismatist implies some deeper understanding of the numismatic material (or at least some part of it), often translated into articles or lectures (though not necessarily in an academic setting). Opinions also might differ on what 'true' collecting is. For instance, the great BCD in his Corinth catalog laments how collectors are led into buying coins of very high quality, but which have little to do with one another, leading to a disjointed collection that doesn't really tell a story (or advance science) as an ensemble (though it can be financially rewarding!) For him, true collecting was, for instance, building up a collection centered around a specific mint, and acquiring as many pieces as possible, also those in poor condition, in order to further our knowledge.

I admit, I am very much guilty of assembling a disjointed collection - my criterium is that the coins have a provenance before November 1972 (when the Unesco World Heritage Convention was adopted), but apart from that, there is no real direction. But I hope when it will be sold in the future (its still in its infancy now), it will inspire other collectors to delve into the fascinating history of numismatics and collecting - in that way, my collection will still have contributed something.

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I think that I fall into the category Accumulator Extraordinaire.

I'm aiming to recreate the last scene of Citizen Kane, though there is an issue with the size of my backyard, and the neighbors, of course.

Citizen Kane (1941) – Cinema Lovers Club

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