The Numismatics Portal

Electrum coin from Ephesus, 520-500 BCE. Obverse: Forepart of stag. Reverse: Square incuse punch

Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, medals and related objects.

Specialists, known as numismatists, are often characterized as students or collectors of coins, but the discipline also includes the broader study of money and other means of payment used to resolve debts and exchange goods.

The earliest forms of money used by people are categorised by collectors as "odd and curious", but the use of other goods in barter exchange is excluded, even where used as a circulating currency (e.g., cigarettes or instant noodles in prison). As an example, the Kyrgyz people used horses as the principal currency unit, and gave small change in lambskins; the lambskins may be suitable for numismatic study, but the horses are not.[dubious ] Many objects have been used for centuries, such as cowry shells, precious metals, cocoa beans, large stones, and gems. (Full article...)

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Banknotes of the Australian dollar in a wallet. In 1988, Australia was the first country to introduce polymer banknotes for circulation.

Polymer banknotes are banknotes made from a synthetic polymer such as biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP). Such notes incorporate many security features not available in paper banknotes, including the use of metameric inks. Polymer banknotes last significantly longer than paper notes, causing a decrease in environmental impact and a reduced cost of production and replacement. Modern polymer banknotes were first developed by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and The University of Melbourne. They were first issued as currency in Australia during 1988 (coinciding with Australia's bicentennial year); by 1996, the Australian dollar was switched completely to polymer banknotes. Romania was the first country in Europe to issue a plastic note in 1999 and became the third country after Australia and New Zealand to fully convert to polymer by 2003.

Other currencies that have been switched completely to polymer banknotes include: the Vietnamese đồng (2006) although this is only applied to banknotes with denominations above 5,000 đồng, the Brunei dollar (2006), the Nigerian Naira (2007), the Papua New Guinean kina (2008), the Canadian dollar (2013), the Maldivian rufiyaa (2017), the Mauritanian ouguiya (2017), the Nicaraguan córdoba (2017), the Vanuatu vatu (2017), the Eastern Caribbean dollar (2019), the pound sterling (2021) and the Barbadian dollar (2022). Several countries and regions have now introduced polymer banknotes into commemorative or general circulation, including: Nigeria, Cape Verde, Chile, The Gambia, Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam, Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, Botswana, São Tomé and Príncipe, North Macedonia, Russia, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Morocco, Albania, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Israel, China, Taiwan, Kuwait, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, Isle of Man, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Libya, Mauritius, Costa Rica, Honduras, Angola, Namibia, Lebanon, the Philippines, and Egypt. (Full article...)
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Credit: Poznaniak

The Lituanian 1 litas commemorative coin was released into circulation in 2005 to promote reconstruction of the royal palace.

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Newfoundland 2 dollar coin
Reverse, Newfounland two dollars

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The Mercury dime is a ten-cent coin struck by the United States Mint from late 1916 to 1945. Designed by Adolph Weinman and also referred to as the Winged Liberty Head dime, it gained its common name because the obverse depiction of a young Liberty, identifiable by her winged Phrygian cap, was confused with the Roman god Mercury. Weinman is believed to have used Elsie Stevens, the wife of lawyer and poet Wallace Stevens, as a model. The coin's reverse depicts a fasces, symbolizing unity and strength, and an olive branch, signifying peace.

By 1916, the dime, quarter, and half dollar designed by Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber had been struck for 25 years, and could be replaced by the Treasury, of which the Mint is a part, without Congressional authorization. Mint officials were under the misapprehension that the designs had to be changed, and held a competition among three sculptors, in which Barber, who had been in his position for 36 years, also took part. Weinman's designs for the dime and half dollar were selected. (Full article...)

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Series of 1886 $1 silver certificates portraying Martha Washington, the only woman in United States history to be featured on its banknotes.

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Numismatic terminology

  • Bullion – Precious metals (platinum, gold and silver) in the form of bars, ingots or plate.
  • Error – Usually a mis-made coin not intended for circulation, but can also refer to an engraving or die-cutting error not discovered until the coins are released to circulation. This may result is two or more varieties of the coin in the same year.
  • Exonumia – The study of coin-like objects such as token coins and medals, and other items used in place of legal currency or for commemoration.
  • Fineness – Purity of precious metal content expressed in terms of one thousand parts. 90% is expressed as .900 fine.
  • Notaphily – The study of paper money or banknotes.
  • Scripophily – The study and collection of stocks and Bonds.


Numismatic topics

Money - Coins - Banknotes - Electronic money - Exchange rate - Legal tender - Clubs - Terminology

Ancient currency: Asia - Byzantium - Greece - Primitive Money - Roman - Indian coinage

Modern currency: Africa - The Americas - Asia and the Pacific - Europe - Bullion coins - Challenge coin - Commemorative coins - Token coins

Economics: Banking - Bonds - Cheques - Credit Cards - Fiat currency - Gold standard - Mints - Monetary union - Reserve currency - Stocks

Production: Coining (machining) - Designers - Die making - Mint (coin) • Coinage Metals: Aluminum - Bronze - Copper - Gold - Platinum - Silver - Tin

Exonumia - Notaphily - Scripophily

List articles

Central banks • Currencies • Circulating currencies • Historical currencies • US community currencies • Canadian community currencies • Mints • Motifs on banknotes • Most expensive coins


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Most traded currencies

Most traded currencies by value
Currency distribution of global foreign exchange market turnover[1]
Rank Currency ISO 4217
Symbol or
Proportion of daily volume Growth rate (2019-2022)
April 2019 April 2022
1 U.S. dollar USD US$ 88.3% 88.5% Increase 0.2%
2 Euro EUR 32.3% 30.5% Decrease 5.5%
3 Japanese yen JPY ¥ / 16.8% 16.7% Decrease 0.6%
4 Sterling GBP £ 12.8% 12.9% Increase 0.7%
5 Renminbi CNY ¥ / 4.3% 7.0% Increase 62.7%
6 Australian dollar AUD A$ 6.8% 6.4% Decrease 5.8%
7 Canadian dollar CAD C$ 5.0% 6.2% Increase 24%
8 Swiss franc CHF CHF 4.9% 5.2% Increase 6.1%
9 Hong Kong dollar HKD HK$ 3.5% 2.6% Decrease 25.7%
10 Singapore dollar SGD S$ 1.8% 2.4% Increase 33.3%
11 Swedish krona SEK kr 2.0% 2.2% Increase 10%
12 South Korean won KRW ₩ / 2.0% 1.9% Decrease 5%
13 Norwegian krone NOK kr 1.8% 1.7% Decrease 5.5%
14 New Zealand dollar NZD NZ$ 2.1% 1.7% Decrease 19%
15 Indian rupee INR 1.7% 1.6% Decrease 5.8%
16 Mexican peso MXN $ 1.7% 1.5% Decrease 11.7%
17 New Taiwan dollar TWD NT$ 0.9% 1.1% Increase 22.2%
18 South African rand ZAR R 1.1% 1.0% Decrease 9%
19 Brazilian real BRL R$ 1.1% 0.9% Decrease 18.1%
20 Danish krone DKK kr 0.6% 0.7% Increase 16.6%
21 Polish złoty PLN 0.6% 0.7% Increase 16.6%
22 Thai baht THB ฿ 0.5% 0.4% Decrease 20%
23 Israeli new shekel ILS 0.3% 0.4% Increase 33.3%
24 Indonesian rupiah IDR Rp 0.4% 0.4% Steady 0%
25 Czech koruna CZK 0.4% 0.4% Steady 0%
26 UAE dirham AED د.إ 0.2% 0.4% Increase 100%
27 Turkish lira TRY 1.1% 0.4% Decrease 63.6%
28 Hungarian forint HUF Ft 0.4% 0.3% Decrease 25%
29 Chilean peso CLP CLP$ 0.3% 0.3% Steady 0%
30 Saudi riyal SAR 0.2% 0.2% Steady 0%
31 Philippine peso PHP 0.3% 0.2% Decrease 33.3%
32 Malaysian ringgit MYR RM 0.2% 0.2% Steady 0%
33 Colombian peso COP COL$ 0.2% 0.2% Steady 0%
34 Russian ruble RUB 1.1% 0.2% Decrease 81.8%
35 Romanian leu RON L 0.1% 0.1% Steady 0%
36 Peruvian sol PEN S/ 0.1% 0.1% Steady 0%
37 Bahraini dinar BHD .د.ب 0.0% 0.0% Steady 0%
38 Bulgarian lev BGN BGN 0.0% 0.0% Steady 0%
39 Argentine peso ARS ARG$ 0.1% 0.0% Decrease 100%
Other 1.8% 2.3% Increase 27.7%
Total[note 1] 200.0% 200.0%

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  1. ^ The total sum is 200% because each currency trade is counted twice: once for the currency being bought and once for the one being sold. The percentages above represent the proportion of all trades involving a given currency, regardless of which side of the transaction it is on. For example, the US dollar is bought or sold in 88% of all currency trades, while the euro is bought or sold in 31% of all trades.
  1. ^ "Triennial Central Bank Survey Foreign exchange turnover in April 2022" (PDF). Bank for International Settlements. 27 October 2022. p. 12. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-10-27. Retrieved 2022-10-29.
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