Numismatics - Coins and Paper Money

Cover of the book on monetary history by Glyn Davies. For most of recorded history money has meant coins. However banking was invented well over a thousand years before coins and China abandoned paper money in favour of coins just as Europe was turning to paper. Today intangible forms of money ranging from e-money to Bowie bonds are becoming important.

For a narrative account of monetary history since the dawn of civilisation onwards see A History of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day by Glyn Davies.

The web site based on the book includes an extensive annotated chronology as well as some essays by Roy Davies based on certain themes from the book.

See also
Money in fiction Financial Scandals

 

A select list of links to information sources and articles on Coins and Paper Money

For information about particular coins and banknotes try the most appropriate links below and if they don't have the information you need you can try the numismatics books in your public library, or ask a local coin dealer (try the Yellow Pages). Don't ask me how much coins or banknotes are worth. Use the price guides in some of the links below or try coin dealers, the numismatic collections of libraries etc.

Numismatic Links

Coin Today : Daily Numismatic and Coin News
It claims to be the world's most read daily coin and numismatic news source. Coin Today also has sections on sources of information about coin prices.
 
British Commonwealth Numismatic Forum
A website covering all aspects of British Commonwealth numismatists. Numerous discussion groups specialising in different topics are included.
 
Numismatics and Coin Collecting new!
A guide, with links, intended mainly for beginners.
 
Startlocal: Guide to Coin Collecting
A source of information on the history of numismatics and practical information for beginners.
 
Coin Talk
A major numismatic discussion forum. All aspects are covered, including questions of how much particular coins are worth.
 
CoinLink
This site aims to be the world's largest collection of numismatic links. It has a lot of information about the value of coins and Coin Prices Guide.
 
US Coin Pricing Guide
Part of the Best Coin website.
 
Professional Coin Grading Service
Provides information about the value of coins.
 
What's it Worth? Coin Collecting FAQ
Part of a file on answers to frequently asked questions.
 
Values of Coins of the UK
A page maintained by Tony Clayton, with data from Coin News or Coin Yearbook.
 
Paper Money Collecting FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions (including "what's it worth?") on the subject of paper money collecting for the newsgroup rec.collecting.paper-money.
 
The International Banknote Society
The primary aim of the IBNS web site is to provide services to the IBNS members and Paper Money collectors in general. Topics covered include collecting, researching, studying, trading, storing and exchanging paper money.
 
Leftover Currency (LOC)
The LOC website enables people to exchange withdrawn and foreign banknotes and foreign coins for cash.
 
Gold Content And Value Calculator
A calculator for determining the value of the gold in gold coins.
 
World Banknotes and Currency - Price Lists
Current prices of banknotes arranged by country. The list is part of a British paper money dealer's website.
 
The Catalogue of Currencies
A major source of detailed information about the notes and coins in use in different countries. It also includes information on outmoded banknotes and coins that are no longer legal tender.
 
The American Numismatic Association
is dedicated to the collection and study of coins, paper money, tokens and medals.
 
USA Coin Book
At this website, you will be able to easily buy, sell, request and auction off your coin collections. It is an alternative to ebay for coin auctions. It also has estimated coin prices and values and members can use it to keep track of their collections.
 
Coin Collectors and Traders
An Australian directory.
 
Silver DollarCo.Net
A Seattle-based website with a focus on authentic U.S. silver dollars.
 
Guide to the History of US Coinage
An outline of interesting points in the history of US coinage with links to more information. It is part of the Mint.com website.
 
2-Clicks-Coins
The world's largest directory for coin collectors with lists of resources & guides for worldwide coin collectors.
 
NUMISMALINK.COM
A classified directory of internet resources focusing on rare coins, medals, tokens, and paper money. The emphasis is on links to numismatic periodicals, organizations, and educational sites. The site also includes a large collection of links to world mints and also to other directories of numismatic interest.
 
Allcoins.org
A large, non-commercial numismatic search engine and numismatic directory.
 
CoinNet
A dealer-to-dealer, computerised trading network.
 
Numismatica
This site is a good source of information on both coins and paper money.
 
Collector Network
A site for those who want to search for, buy or sell any collectibles - paper money, coins, stamps or anything you collect. It is also a great information resource - with articles, links and collecting events.
 
World Mints
A list from Numismatica.
 
Fotosearch Coins stock photos and images
A huge collection of coin-related images that can be downloaded for a fee.
 
Can Stock Coin Photos
Another large collection of coin-related images from a stock photography agency.
 
The Numismatist's Resource Guide to African Coins and Currency
Before colonization, few areas of Africa used the kind of currency typically expected in the modern world. People traded items, but they rarely used abstract forms of money. Today, African nations use a variety of currencies that attract collectors. Some of the coins even challenge the modern understanding of Africa's history.
 
Europe's early dated coins
An online expansion of the Albert Frey catalogue of dated European coinage before 1501 with additional coins up to 1530. The website also includes a listing of the coins in date order.
 
The Royal Mint
Home page of the British Royal Mint with information about its services. It also has articles written by staff of the Royal Mint Museum.
 
Post Office Shop: Coins
The UK Post Office sells a range of base metal, gold and silver coins, including many of a commemorative nature.
 
Penydarren locomotive bicentenary coin
On 21st February 1804, the  the first ever journey by steam train was made in South Wales. The locomotive designed by the Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick travelled from Penydarren in Merthyr Tydfil to Abercynon. To mark one of the most significant anniversaries in the development of the modern world the Royal Mint issued a special £2 coin.
 
The Austrian Mint: Foundation History
The history of the Austrian Mint goes back to 1194. It was established using the ransom paid the previous year for King Richard the Lionheart of England who was captured on his way back from the Third Crusade and imprisoned in Austria.
 
Exonumia
Articles of interest to all collectors of tokens, medals, buttons, badges, ribbons and other small collectibles.
 
Galata Coins
A dealer based in Llanfyllin, Wales and specialising in coins of the world. Galata also produces a number of publications, including books on British coin weights that were used for weighing coins in the days when coins consisted mainly of precious metals. The site includes news, catalogues of coins and books for sale, and book reviews.
 
Littleton Coin Company
An American company that has been serving coin collectors since 1945.
 
US Rare Coin Investments
An informative site for collectors and investors. Specialist in early US gold, St Gaudens, Bust dollars and Pattern coins. Free forum and newsletter.
 
Friends of the Segovia Mint
These pages have a considerable amount of information not just on the Segovia mint but on minting technology and the history of minting in general.
 
Whitman
A large website for collectors of coins, bullion, banknotes and stamps.
 
Delcampe
Another coin dealer's site where you can buy ancient and medieval coins.
 
cgb.fr Numismatic
This site includes many pictures of coins and banknotes from around the world, historical documents relevant to French monetary history from the reign of Charles II to Louis XVI, and a search engine.
 
Jean Elsen s.a.
This site of a numismatic auction house and coin dealer in Belgium includes, among other things, an extensive catalogue of books and a bibliography of relevant articles as well as the text of a number of articles by the company itself.
 
Metals Used in Coins and Medals
by Tony Clayton. This lists the various metals and alloys that have been used to make coins and gives details of their properties. It also explains why certain metals have not been used for making coins.
 
Calgary Coin Gallery
This site includes catalogues of coins originating in many parts of the world, (with some pictures) and a lot of historical information on topics such as Roman and Chinese coins, as well as links to other numismatics sites.
 
Department of Coins and Medals of the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge
Among the noteworthy features of this site are a database of coin finds in Britain 410-1180, and an online list of numismatic sales catalogues.
 
Philip Grierson
An obituary of the world-class scholarand collector who used coins to solve historical mysteries. Guardian, 18 January 2006.
 
Hasfam Coins & Currency Links and Resource Guide
It includes a large, alphabetically arranged directory of relevant sites.
 
Shuichi Yamashita's Numismatics site
This is a tri-lingual site, in Japanese, English and German. It has many images of oriental coins, many of considerable antiquity, and some western ones as well.
 
Numismatic History and Coinage of modern Greece
Information about the Greek drachma throughout history.
 
First known Roman brothel token to have been discovered in London on display at the Museum of London
A Roman brothel token, found in the River Thames, is on display at the British Museum, January - March 2012.
 
Coin shows Cleopatra's ugly truth
Antony and Cleopatra, one of history's most romantic couples, were not the great beauties that Hollywood would have us believe, academics have said. BBC, 14 February 2007.
 
Jane Austen to be face of the Bank of England £10 note
The Bank of England has decided that author Jane Austen is to feature on the next £10 note, avoiding a long-term absence of women represented on banknotes.
 
Images of Alexander the Great: Coins
In addition to images of the coins this site contains links to articles about them. It is part of a large site on all aspects of Alexander the Great.
 
The Coins and History of Asia
Containing information on almost 450 coins, these pages are to be a resource for students of Near Eastern, Persian, Indian, Central Asian and Chinese history from 600 BC to 1600 AD.
 
Asian Money Depot
The most comprehensive site on Chinese banknotes.
 
Arabic Coins
The Arabic Coins project stems from the idea of a PhD student in Arabic and Islamic studies whose main interest lies in cross-cultural topics such as those relating to Qur’an origins, isra’iliyyat, points of contact between Islam and other coeval Middle-Eastern religions
 
Islamic coins during the Umayyad, Abassid, Andalusian and Fatimid Dynasties
An article based on a book by Wijdan Ali.
 
University of Vienna Department for Numismatics and Monetary History
Information about research carried out by the department.
 
Euromaster
A site devoted to the Eurocoins issued by different countries using the single currency.
 
Irish Coins and Banknotes
by John Stafford-Langan.
 
The Coinage of the Baltic Countries
An overview of coins minted in the Baltic countries since the 13th century.
 
Norske mynter gjennom 1000 aar
1000 years of Norwegian coins. The articles are in Norwegian but you don't have to be able to read Norwegian to appreciate the photographs and diagrams.
 
Ecuador's 8 Escudos Coin in Moby Dick
Chapter 99 of Herman Melville's great novel is entitled the Dubloon. This website has a lot about the coin described by Melville.
 
The History of Coins and Banknotes in Mexico
From the Banco de México website.
 
University of Notre Dame Coin and Currency Collections
These web pages are particularly good in their coverage of colonial and early America. There are answers to frequently asked questions, including ones on how much particular coins and notes are worth.
 
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's American Currency Exhibit
This site contains images of currency and historical information.
 
America's historic currency exhibit
A teaching package with information about and images of historic American currency, now available on DVD.
 
Silver Certificate
Silver Certificates came in to being in the US in 1878. They were simply intended to be a surrogate for silver coin. This article about them is from the Wikipedia.
 
The Color of Money
by Clifford F. Thies. Information about the design of official US banknotes from the Civil War onwards.
 
Where's George?!
A project for tracking them movements of individual American banknotes.
 
Where's Willy?!
A project for tracking them movements of individual Canadian banknotes.
 
P. J. Symes
Peter Symes is a publisher of books and articles on world paper money. Many of his articles are freely available at his website. Among them are ones on note issues by various currency boards and the banknotes of certain secessionist states in different parts of the world.
 
ATS Numismatic, World Banknotes, Paper Money etc.
The site contains a large price list of old and recent world banknotes, including a selection of Polish and Russian issues, a complete catalogue of banknotes issued by Former Soviet Union countries and a large price list of emergency paper money. local, prisoner of the war(POW), private issues mostly from the time of first and second World War, collectible bonds and stock certificates.
 
Scripophily
Robert A. Kerstein's site devoted to the collection of cancelled old stocks and bonds.
 
Scripofilia
An Italian website selling old banknotes.
 
Secrets of Making Money
Information about how US banknotes are made and measures to defeat counterfeiters.
 
History of Scottish Banknotes
In most countries it is only the governments, through their central banks, who are permitted to issue currency but in Scotland three banks are still allowed to issue banknotes.
 
Private Issues - The Chief Treasury of Wales and the Black Sheep Company
An article about the work of Richard Williams who circumvented official restrictions on the issue of bank notes.
 
Michael Stokbro Larsen, Danish Teenager, Finds 365 Items From Viking Era
Danish museum officials say that an archaeological dig last year has revealed 365 items from the Viking era, including 60 rare coins.
 
Viking Coins in Norway
An essay by Thor-Egil Paulsen.
 
The Vikings and Money in England
An essay by Roy Davies.
 
The Significance of Celtic Coinage
An essay by Roy Davies.
 
Money and Coins in Medieval Wales
An essay by Roy Davies.
 
History of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day
This is a series of essays based on a book with the same title by Glyn Davies. The three essays listed above belong to this collection but in addition there are others of related interest.
 
British Coins before the Florin, Compared to French Coins of the Ancien Régime
This site not only has a considerable amount of information about particular types of British and French coins, including their sizes and weights, but also covers Bank of England notes, American coins, and the British Coinage of India, 1835-1947.
 
Celtic Coin Index
A collection of more than 28,000 images of Celtic coins found in Britain, and information about minting techniques, further reading, etc.
 
Massive Celtic coins hoard found on Jersey
A massive hoard of Celtic coins worth millions of pounds has been found on the island of Jersey. The hoard comprises 30,000 to 50,000 coins and is thought to have been buried to protect it from the advancing armies of Julius Caesar. Independent, 26 June 2012.
 
Iron Age coins discovered in Jersey after 30-year search
About 50,000 silver and bronze coins comprising the largest hoard of Iron Age Celtic coins found anywhere in northern Europe has been discovered by two amateur metal detectorists who have been searching in the same field in Jersey for 30 years. The coins would have been buried at a time when Caesar was slicing his way through Gaul, and hiding treasure would have seemed a prudent move. Guardian, 26 June 2012.
 
Novice treasure hunter finds hoard of Roman gold coins during first outing
Wesley Carrington, a novice treasure hunter revealed how he found a hoard of Roman gold coins worth at least £100,000 – just 20 minutes into his first metal detecting venture in St Albans, Hertfordshire. Metro 5 June 2013.
 
Why Frome is still cashing in on the Romans
In April 2010, a man who hated history at school unearthed the largest coin hoard ever found in Britain. But why had it been buried in a field in Somerset? The Observer, 12 December 2010.
 
"Exceptional" Roman coins hoard
One of the largest deposits of Roman coins ever recorded in Wales, has been declared treasure trove. Nearly 6,000 copper alloy coins were found buried in two pots in a field at Sully, Vale of Glamorgan by a local metal detector enthusiast in April 2008.
 
Ancient gold hoard found in Midlands
Archaeologists unearthed between 3,000 and 4,000 silver and gold ancient British coins as well as other treasures near Market Harborough in south Leicestershire. The coins, date from the first four decades of the first century AD. Most are Corieltauvian, but some were minted by other British tribal groups. The Independent, 8 April 2003.
 
Coriosolite Expert System
The Coriosolites were one of several tribes in Brittany who issued a large number of coins at the time of Caesar's campaigns in Gaul. This site has a great deal of information about Celtic coins, and includes details of computer techniques used in their classification.
 
Coin unearths new Roman emperor
A coin that confirmed the existence of Domitianus, a little-known Roman emperor is going on display at a new exhibition at the British Museum. BBC, 25 February 2004.
 
Mike R. Vosper's Celtic, Roman & Hammered Coin site
A wide range of coins for sale.
 
Perspectives in Numismatics
Studies Presented to the Chicago Coin Club
These studies, edited by Saul B. Needleman, cover a range of topics from Roman and medieval coins onwards.
 
Britain's hoard of ancient coins
The British Museum has unveiled the most expensive coin in history. The ninth-century coin depicts Coenwulf, the ruler of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia from 796 to 821, and it is thought to be the oldest example of gold currency commemorating a British ruler - which helps to explain why the museum paid £357,832 to the anonymous person who found it near Bedford in 2001. The Guardian, February 9 2006.
 
Making Coins and Period Coins
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme compiled by Stefan li Rous.
 
National Musuem of Wales: Numismatics
Information about the museum's coin collections.
 
Dug UpJay
A website shared by Jay Howe, a well-known metal detectorist and Paul White, a dealer.
 
UK Detector Net
Among other things this site includes news of recent discoveries of coin hoards by metal detectorists.
 
What's a Guinea? Money and Coinage in Victorian Britain
An explanation by Paul Lewis of Britain's pre-decimal coinage.
 
UK Coin Company
A company specialising in pre-1967 British coins.
 
The Coins of Tranquebar Danish East India 1620-1845
by Uno Barner Jensen who has written a book on the subject. (It is available in English as well as Danish).
 
Phoenician Money
Examples of Phonecian coins.
 
Did the Phoenicians discover the New World?
Mark McMenamin, a geologist at Mount Holyoke, claims that gold coins minted in Carthage between 350 and 320 BC have a design incorporating a map of the ancient world, including the area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and the land mass representing the Americas.
 
Israeli caves yield ancient coins
Israeli archaeologists have discovered coins they believe date back to a failed second-century Jewish rebellion against Roman rule. BBC, 18 April 2003.
 
Menorah Coin Project
A database with a of a die by die indexing, classification and representation of Biblical coins.
 
Genuine Coins of the Bible Period
A website created by Edmond W. Holroyd for the purpose of affirming, through the physical evidence of ancient coins, that the history described in the Bible is real history, not fiction.
 
The coins of Pontius Pilate
They are not really beautiful, or truly rare, nor are they of very great monetary value. Yet these apparently modest coins carry in their weight an era and an act which would have immense consequence to the history of the world.

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Last updated 25 June 2014.
Roy Davies