MANY of us still don’t know that various other hobbies other than playing sports, reading novels and listening to music exist. Amongst those is the dying hobby of numismatics. Numismatics is the study or collection of currency. But it is widely perceived as the study of coin collection.
The tendency to collect coins may have existed a long time ago. Caesar Augustus used to give all types of coins as Saturnalia gifts. Patriarch is considered to be the first Renaissance collector. In 1355, he presented a collection of Roman coins to Emperor Charles IV.
In the early Renaissance period, members of the European nobility and royalty used to collect ancient coins. Such eminent coin collectors include Pope Boniface VIII, Emperor Maximilian of the Holy Roman Empire, Louis XIV of France and Ferdinand I.
Numismatics, in fact, has been described as the ‘hobby of kings’.
The Royal Numismatic Society was founded in 1836. It also published a journal that became the ‘Numismatic Chronicle’. The American Numismatic Society was established in 1858.
It is more out of a personal interest than for historical research purposes. King Farouk I of Egypt was an avid collector of coins but he was not a scholar who studied them like actual numismatists do.
There are also coin dealers who grade coins for commercial purposes as well as for scholar numismatists. Expert numismatists offer their services to historians, museum curators and archaeologists.
For the ones delving to know numismatics, it is further classified into four branches: numismatis, notaphily, scripophily and exonumia. Numismatis is the collecting of coins while notaphily is the collecting of paper money. On the other hand, scripophily is the collecting of stocks and exonumia is the collecting of coin-like objects, for example tokens and medallions.
Being an extremely fun hobby, it is an excellent investment because every coin you collect, the price rises second by second and the knowledge you treasure is creditable. Moreover, it is a real co-curricular which provides you a space to breathe in and engage yourself in the world of curiosity.
The matter of concern is that students and teachers have lost their interest in numismatics, which is a key reason for the decline of interest in the subject history.
A decade ago, old coins and banknotes were used as an aid to teach history which grasped students’ attention.
Engaging students in numismatics is quite fruitful in all scopes of life as it beats boredom, refines personality and induces sophistication.
As a hobby, numismatics, like every other hobby, is a universe in its own.
KHURRAM JAHANGIR KHAN Karachi