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Coins of fixed weight, stamped with governmental authority and used as money for exchange of value, and also medals, frequently supply dates, depict styles of weapons, clothing, and art forms, indicate attitudes, or testify to the existence of an institution or administrative procedure otherwise not known from written or archeological sources. They thus have value for both religious and secular history. They are important not only for tracing the evolution of the Roman Empire but also for the history of the Church from antiquity to modern times. After a brief survey of the Roman imperial coinage as background, this article discusses chiefly the coins and medals of direct concern to Church history. Hebrew coinage, and Hellenistic coinage that is pertinent, are covered in other articles.

Roman Coinage from Augustus to Constantine. During the Republic, magistrates called the tres viri auro, argento, aere flando, feriundo (the three men for minting and striking [coins] of gold, silver, and bronze) controlled the issue of coinage under the authority of the Senate, which was indicated by the stamp S.C. for Senatus consulto. The obverse image gradually changed from the goddess Roma and the Dioscuri on horseback to Jupiter, to the figure of Victory, to Juno of Lanuvium in a chariot, etc., and eventually to the personal history and portraits of the magistrates. In 44 b.c. the head of Julius Caesar appeared on silver coins. Augustus permitted the Senate to coin bronze, but in practice he exercised complete control of the mints, and only the portraits of members of the imperial family were authorized. On the reverse side of the coinage political phrases were employed, such as the signis receptis of Augustus commemorating the recovery of the standards lost to the Parthians at the battle of Carrhae. Later Vespasian proclaimed his subjection of the Jews with the legend Iudaea capta. Further propaganda purposes were served by the portrayal of civic virtues,

such as Abundantia, Concordia, Pudicitia, and this continued almost to the end of the empire. The imperial coinage regularly records the titles of the emperors and, until the reign of Alexander Severus (d. 235), the current or last consulship of the given princeps and his tribunician year.

Thus the life of the Roman state is depicted on its coins: official acts of the princeps, his liberalitas in the distribution of money and bread, the arrival of the grain fleet at Ostia, the departure on a military expedition against the barbarians, the adventus or salute by the troops to the emperor sitting before them on horseback, the circus games and temple sacrifices, public and family religious cults and ceremonial, the association of members of a dynasty or colleagues in the rule of the empire, and the rise and fall of individual emperors. The establishment of the tetrarchy by Diocletian after 293 is depicted on medals, and the coins of Diocletian demonstrate the gradual growth of the emperor's religiopolitical consciousness of himself as the protégé of Jupiter (Iovi conservatori Augusti ); and the coins of Maximian show him as a protégé of Hercules. The emperor gradually assumed a maiestas divina, as the comes or numen praesens of the godhead; he possessed the divine virtues of pietas and felicitas. This concept was already portrayed on coins that began with Aurelian's deo et domino nato. In solving the difficult historical problems concerned with the chronology of the tetrarchy and the reasons for its dissolution, coins play an essential part.

Constantine and Christian Coinage. In 306 constantine i is depicted on the imperial coinage as still a protégé of Hercules in the divinely ordered Diocletian tetrarchy; but in the official speech delivered at Constantine's wedding to Fausta, the daughter of Maximian (spring 307), the latter is compared to the sun god (Sol invictus ) rather than to the Jupiter of the tetrarchy's political theology. After 310, with the death of Maximian, Constantine's coinage no longer portrays Hercules; instead, Mars conservator is depicted as the protective deity accompanying the Sol invictus. This is a return to the tradition of Aurelian and Gallienus. Stress is placed, too, on the legitimacy of Constantine's rule, which can be traced to his lineage as the son of Constantius Chlorus. Subsequent coinage indicates the steps whereby Constantine gradually achieved full control of the empire, the year 312 being the turning point in both his religious and political thinking.

Silver coins minted at Treyes (312313) portray Constantine as Victor, crowned with an ornamented helmet at whose peak is the Christian monogram chi-rho; and a similar portrait appears on a silver medallion at Ticinum (315) and on coins issued at Siscia (317318). Coins in 320 carry the Vexillum with the Monogram of Christ; in 326 the Christian labarum appears with the legend Spes publica. However, as the empire was still pagan, Constantine did not interfere with the ordinary representations of the civic cult or the pagan portraiture of the emperor, and it took a century before all signs of pagan cult disappeared from the imperial coinage. Under Constantius II, Victory is depicted on a coin in the form of an angel crowning the emperor, who holds the standard of the cross. The legend reads: Hoc signo victor eris. During this period the Christian monogram appears frequently and is often accompanied by the alpha and omega. After a temporary revival of pagan types under Julian the Apostate, Christian-oriented coins predominate.

Byzantine and Medieval Coins. A medallion in gold commemorates the founding of Constantinople in 330 with the turreted statues of the two capitals, Rome and Constantinople, as the subject of equal veneration. After the death of Theodosius I (395) the gradual partition of the empire under Honorius (395425) and Arcadius (395408) is pictured on the coinage current at the time of the birth of Byzantium. Byzantine money as such begins under the Emperor anastasius i (491518) with a new copper coinage and also a gold coin modeled on the solidus of Constantine, eventually called the bezant. It was divided into a half (the semissis) and a third (the tremissis). The main silver coin was the miliarensis, along with a small coin, the siliqua or keration.

Under Heraclius (610641) the double miliarensis was first issued. Gradually the effigy of the emperor on the obverse of these coins was changed to that of the basileus in a majestic setting and clothed in hieratic vestments. Christ appears first on the reverse of a coin of a.d. 451, where He is depicted as assisting in the marriage of Marcian and Pulcheria. His next appearance, however, is much later, namely, on the coinage of Justinian II (685695). From c. 900 the Virgin Mary, and eventually the saints, appear on coins, despite the difficulties over iconoclasm, whose history can be traced to the coinage of the period.

From the 10th century the Byzantine emperor is usually depicted in the company of a sacred personage; this is particularly true of the cup-shaped solidi called the nummi scyphati, which appear in the 11th century. In 1261 michael viii palaeologus issued coins with the Virgin Mary standing in the midst of the walls of Constantinople after its reconquest from the Crusaders.

The principal inscriptions on the later Byzantine coinage refer to the emperor on the obverse and to the city of minting on the reverse, along with a reference to the saint depicted and often a prayer. From the time of justinian i profiles give way to the full face of the emperor, and the language of the inscriptions changes from Latin to Latin and Greek under Heraclius and to Greek alone under alexius i comnenus.

Coinage of the Medieval West. The Byzantine solidus or bezant had a widespread use in the Middle Ages and was the dominant gold coin to the 13th century. The Merovingians still imitated the golden triens of the Romans, but Charlemagne struck silver denerii in imitation of the Roman imperial types. Under the Capetians, however, the Byzantine influence is marked; the king is represented as a basileus, seated beneath a canopy, or standing with scepter in hand, or on horseback, or as a knight in battle. The legends have both a religious and a political significance: Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus Imperat; or Karolus Dei gratia Francorum rex. Under Henry II of England the Ave Maria on coins issued in his name as king of France reflects a political situation that lasted until the end of the Hundred Years' War.

The Arabs first adopted current Persian silver coins in the Orient; Byzantine copper coins in Syria and Palestine; and in Africa, the current gold coinage. Byzantine influence predominates in the Caliphite mints begun at Bashran (a.d. 660) and in the regular coinage established by Abdalmik (a.d. 695), having a gold dinar, silver dirhem, and a copper fels. The inscriptions are in Arabic and are uniformly religious. The various dynasties, such as the Omayyads and Abbasids, the Fatamids and Seljuks, continued the adaptation of Byzantine coinage, whereas the Mongols and Ottomans gradually adapted their coins to those of the Mediterranean commercial powers.

With the development of feudalism, individual suzerains as well as cities and monastic centers issued their own coinage. Although the golden solidus was the ideal coin, its large value gave way before a silver coinage under the Carolingians, and for general usage the denarius or penny of some 24 grains became almost the sole coin in circulation. The Arab silver piece, the dirhem, was worth two denier or denarii and spread with the Carolingian coinage to Germany, Italy, England, Scandinavia, Castile, and Aragon. A continuous depreciation in the value of coinage, which Gresham's (151979) law of bad money driving out good money would later explain, brought the denarius so low by the 12th century that it was issued in Germany as a bracteate, stamped on only one side.

Normans and Venetians. The Norman dukes in Sicily and southern Italy quickly adopted the Muslim money, but Roger II (113054) struck Latin coins with the legend Dux Apuliae, and they accordingly came to be known as ducats. Frederick II (121550) continued the Arab coinage but also struck Roman gold solidi and half solidi showing his bust on the obverse, as the Emperor Augustus, and the imperial eagle on the reverse side. The famous gold florin with St. John the Baptist on the obverse and the lily of Florence on the reverse was first struck in 1252 and quickly became a standard of value. Venice struck gold coins of the same weight as the florin (c. 1280), showing Christ standing on the obverse and the doge receiving the gonfalon from St. Mark on the reverse. Although it was at first called the ducat, it became known as the zecchino or sequin. This coinage, which was imitated by the other maritime and commercial Italian citystates, caused the Mameluke sultans of Egypt to employ the weight of the florin and sequin for their gold money in commerce between Europe and India. In the 14th century a heavy silver coin appeared called the denarius grossus, or groat, and in its successive types can be traced the artistic evolution that was leading into the Renaissance.

Papal Coinage. The popes began to strike money when Adrian I (772795) issued a gold Beneventan type coin on which a crude hieratic human figure adorns the obverse, and a cross with an inscription, the reverse. The names of the popes and the Western emperors are associated on papal coins from Leo III (795816) to Leo IX (1049) in monogrammatic inscriptions. Under John VIII (872882) the bust of St. Peter appears; it is crowned with a conic miter in coins of Sergius III (904911), whereas on the coins of Agapetus II (946955) Peter is depicted with the keys and a cross. With Benedict VI (973974) a series of papal effigies began. However, from Leo IX (1049) to Urban V (1362) no papal coins were issued. The Roman Senate struck coins after 1188 with the effigies of Peter and Paul crowned with nimbi on ducats of gold and with inscriptions, such as S. Petrus Senator Mundi, Roma Caput Mundi, and SPQR (Senatus Populusque Romanus ).

Boniface VIII (12951303) issued a large silver coin from the mint at Ponte della Sorga bearing his portrait under a miter; he carries a key and cross in his right hand, and the whole is accompanied by the legend Domini Bo (nifaci ) Papae. Clement V (130514) depicted the pope in frontal figure with miter, giving his blessing, and John XXII (131634) stamped the full figure of the pope on the obverse, mitred and sitting on a throne. Charles of Anjou (King of the Two Sicilies 126685), struck gold ducats when he was governor of Rome, and Cola di Rienzi (134748) did the same as tribune. Charles's coins imitate the Venetian type and show Peter giving the gonfalon to a kneeling senator; later coins portray the coat of arms of the senator who issued the money.

Some papal issues of money were struck at Avignon between 1342 and 1700, and there were papal mints at Ancona, Bologna, Piacenza, Parma, and Ferrara. On his return to Rome, Urban V (136270) claimed the sole right to issue papal money; and from Martin V to Pius IX there was a continuous papal coinage on which the effigy of the popes appears in realistic and often highly artistic style. Callistus III (145558) struck ducats of gold and an issue of silver grossi denarii exhibiting the bark of Peter (or navicella ) with full rigging surmounted by a cross and the legend Modice fidei quare dubitetis. Julius II (150313) put both Peter and Paul on the ship with a blown sail and the legend Non prevalebunt. This type was continued under later popes. Papal coins were struck also with Biblical scenes, representing Christ, the crib, the ark of Noa, etc., or to commemorate the architectural accomplishments of Renaissance and later popes.

Renaissance and Modern Period. With the issue of the thaler or dollar in Germany in 1518, silver money was widely used all over Europe, but it did not displace the denier since it was issued in various weights and purity by different countries. The ability to represent nature, the human portrait, and other objects had reached the zenith of accomplishment in Renaissance medallions, and the artistic style of medals influenced that of coinage. However, the requirements of rapidly expanding trade soon made the production of coins a commercial interest, and art was all but forgotten. In general trade the denier was the coin of exchange, while the solidus or German shilling was used as a gauge for money of account, and the system of librae (L), solidi (s), and denarii (d), was adopted; the pound was divided into 12 shillings and 20 pence to the shilling.

French and English Coinage. In France during the Middle Ages the common coin was the denier of the Abbey of St. Martin of Tours (denier tournois ), while the royal coinage was known as monnaie parisis. St. Louis IX (122670) introduced the gold sou and the gros tournois, and thus began an important reform in the French monetary system. Fourteenth-century French coinage had considerable artistic merit, and French medallions produced during the Renaissance and the Napoleonic period exhibit the same high artistic quality.

Following the example of Pepin, Offa of Mercia (757796) introduced the silver penny into England. Some types have the king's head or a religious symbol on the obverse and an ornament and inscription on the reverse. This coinage was imitated in the several English kingdoms and prevailed down to the late 10th century. Edward III in 1343 introduced a gold coinage that included the florin and the noble showing the picture of a rose. Edward IV (146170) struck a new gold coin, the angel. Henry VII brought in sovereigns worth 20 shillings and the shilling itself; his coins show a marked advance in portraiture.

Several attempts were made to introduce a copper coinage to replace the private tokens in wide, local circulation, but it was only in 1613 that John Harrington obtained a patent to produce copper farthings. The gold sovereign of James I was called a unite from the legend Faciam eos in gentem unam. Owing to the scarcity of gold during the civil wars, 20-and 10-shilling silver pieces were issued; but the Oxford mint put out 3-pound pieces, on one of which John Rawlins depicted the king on horseback looking over the town, and on the reverse, the heads of the "Oxford Declaration." In 1672 a true copper coinage of halfpence and farthings was introduced.

Italian and German Coinage. In Sicily and southern Italy the Normans first adopted the Arabic currency; but gradually Robert Guiscard (Duke of Apulia) and Roger I and Roller II of Sicily introduced also gold and silver coins modeled on Latin usage, while the Emperor Frederick II issued the first gold ducats or augustals. Charles of Anjou's gold coinage, already mentioned, quickly spread through the Levant. With Ferdinand I of Aragon the coinage of the Two Sicilies began to display the artistic portraiture that was characteristic of the Italian city-states all during the Renaissance.

In Germany, after Louis IV of Bavaria (131447), local coinage in the Low Countries, along the Moselle, and in the Rhinelands and Bavaria predominated over the imperial coinage. The introduction of the groat and the florin late in the 14th century began the modern period. From the 16th century, the thalerfirst produced by the Counts of Schlick, in St. Joachimsthal in Bohemia, in 1518became the dominant silver coin. The counts Palatine, who began coining in 1294, had mints at Heidelberg and Frankfurt. The margraves of Brandenburg minted coins in the late Middle Ages also, continuing the practice after 1701 as the kings of Prussia.

An abundance of gold in the 15th and 16th centuries is evident from the coins of Hungary and Transylvania. Early Polish coinage reflects direct English, German, and Byzantine influence, while the emerging Scandinavian states adopted the Anglo-Saxon types, using the runic alphabet for legends. During the late Middle Ages these lands drew upon the common European inheritance. In the Balkan states, both Byzantine and Venetian influences were predominant, as they employed images and legends that are entirely Christian. In Russia the Byzantine coinage held sway until Peter the Great modernized the currency. Ecclesiastical city-states, such as Cologne, Münster, Treves, Augsburg, Salzburg, and Mainz, issued their own coinage between the 11th and 18th century, as did other independent cities.

Contemporary coinage, while generally reflecting the standards of modern minting skills, suggests the vagaries of political fortunes in the various nations of the world. Moreover, it is dominated by the practical demands of trade and commerce, artistic considerations playing a secondary role. Modern metal coinage has become largely token currency; paper money takes the place of the earlier gold and silver coinages.

Numismatic Study. Collections of coins and medals are known to have existed in antiquity. On the occasion of celebrations, the Emperor Augustus gave rare or valuable coins to his entourage; and the bronze medals issued by the Antonine emperors trace the legendary history of Rome on their reverse; festive gold medals of Constantine Chlorus struck in 302 were discovered in Arras in 1922.

During the Middle Ages a number of medals were issued in commemoration of special events, such as the expulsion of the English from France at the close of the Hundred Years' War, and were distributed as gifts among the civil and ecclesiastical nobility. The main collections of coins and medals were inaugurated by the monasteries, most of which had a treasury for coins connected with the copyrooms and libraries. These monastic collections, seized by modern European governments after the French Revolution, became the foundation of many numismatic displays in public museums.

Petrarch and his circle of savants were among the first to recognize the value of coins for the interpretation and illustration of literary sources. With Cola di Rienzi, Petrarch turned to the study of numismatic evidence in an attempt to resurrect the customs of the ancient Roman republic and suggested that every library be equipped with an archive of numismatic specimens. This suggestion was honored by amateur savants and princes as well as by emerging commercial houses, such as the Fuggers, and by ecclesiastical nobles from prince-bishops to cardinals and popes. In 1553 Guillaume Rouille published a Promptuarium, which contained engravings of the Roman emperors obtained from coins and medals; and in 1570 Fulvio Orsini, the protégé of Pope Gregory XIII (157285), issued his Imagines et elogia virorum illustrium et eruditorum. His predecessors had been interested mainly in the iconography of the Roman rulers, but he extended his study to include a view of the past in all its achievements.

The treatise De asse et partibus eius by the great French classical scholar Guillaume Budé (14681540) was the first really systematic study on Roman coinage. Despite the increasing interest in coins and medals, the science of numismatics was founded only at the end of the 18th century by the Jesuit J. H. von eckhel (173798). Since that time the study of coins and medals has been pursued systematically and scientifically throughout the world. Owing to the progress of archeology, furthermore, large numbers of coins and medals not hitherto known are constantly being added to the earlier collections.

Bibliography: p. grierson, Coins and Medals: A Select Bibliography (London 1954). j. babelon, "Numismatique," L'Histoire et ses méthodes, ed. c. samaran (Paris 1961) 329392. h. hochenegg, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer andk. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 7:106970. g. lanczkowski and w. jesse, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3d ed. Tübingen 195765) 4:118487. r. s. poole et al., Encyclopaedia Britannia, 24 v. 11th ed. (New York 1911) 19:869911. j. eckhel, Doctrina numorum veterum, 8 v. (Vienna 179298), v.9, Addenda (Leipzig 1826). j. maurice, Numismatique constantinienne, 3 v. (Paris 190812). p. gardner, A History of Ancient Coinage (Oxford 1918). c. sutherland, Art in Coinage (London 1955). h. mattingly, Roman Coins from the Earliest Times to the Fall of the Western Empire (London 1928; rev. ed.1960). w. wroth, Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum, 2 v. (London 1908). b. laum, Über das Wesen des Münzgeldes (Halle 1930). c. t. seltman, Greek Coins (2d ed. London 1955). r. sedillot, Toutes les monnaies du monde (Paris 1954). e. bernareggi, Monete d'oro con ritratto del rinascimento italiano (Milan 1954). m. bloch, Esquisse d'une histoire monétaire de l'Europe (Paris 1954). c. serafini, in b. apolloni-ghetti et al., eds., Esplorazioni sotto la confessione di San Pietro in Vaticano, 2 v. (Vatican City 1951), numismatic appendix.

[f. x. murphy]


views updated May 08 2018


the study of coins and related objects.

Numismatics is an ancillary science to history that seeks to identify coins as to place, date, and government of issue so that the inscriptions, images, and other features of the coins can be used as evidence for political, economic, social, and cultural history. For archaeologists, coins are the most consistently datable evidence. Islamic coins produced in Muslim countries and similar coins sometimes issued by non-Muslims are especially useful for historical researchnearly all were inscribed with their city and date of issue and usually (according to the tradition of Islam) did not have images. This left space for long inscriptions, including the names and titles of the rulers under whom they were issued and something of their religious beliefs.

As a field of study, numismatics began during the European Renaissance as part of the general re-discovery of the classical world. Muslim historians did not use coins as historical evidence, although occasionally an extraordinary issue might be mentioned or described. More often they noted changes in the monetary system of their countries, and some writers, notably al-Baladhuri in the ninth century and al-Maqrizi in the first half of the fifteenth century, wrote brief treatises on monetary history. A few descriptions of mint operation were written as well as a few disquisitions on monetary theory, of which the most interesting is by the great historian Ibn Khaldun of fifteenth-century Egypt.

Some Islamic coins were noted in passing in works on other subjects, but the first study of Islamic numismatics was a twenty-page article in 1759. The first catalog of an Italian Islamic collection was published by Adler in 1782, followed by Assemani's catalog of a collection in Padua in 1787 and Tychsen's catalog of the Göttingen collection in 1787/88. Catalogs of public and private collections continued to be published throughout the nineteenth century, culminating at the end of the century in the great catalogs of the national collections of England, France, Germany, and Russia. Stanley Lane-Poole's ten-volume set of the British Museum Islamic coins (18751890) continues to be a standard reference, partly because of his excellent scholarship and also because it was the only complete catalog of any collection (the British Museum has acquired many more coins since that time). His introductions to the volumes, describing the history and coinage of each Muslim dynasty, are still useful. Lavoix's three massive volumes on the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale, in Paris, and Nützel's two volumes on the collection of the Königliche Museum, in Berlin, are also standard references. Markov's catalog of the Hermitage collection, in St. Petersburg, is less used because the inscriptions are brief, the work is difficult to find in the West, and it is reproduced directly from his Russian manuscript.

A major impetus to European numismatic research on Islamic coins in the countries from Scandinavia through the Baltic states and into Russia has been the immense quantities of seventh-to-tenth-century Islamic silver coins brought to those countries and buried by the Vikings. Stockholm is one major center for this study, beginning with Torn-berg's several catalogs and studies from 1846 to 1870, and culminating with the great Corpus Nummorum Saeculorum IXXI, a collective project to publish (first volume 1975) all the Islamic (and English and German) silver coins of the Viking age that were found in Sweden. The other major center for such study, founded by C. M. Fraehn, was St. Petersburg. His works, beginning in 1808, were important not only for Russian numismatists but for scholars throughout Europe. In particular, he devised a scheme for the arrangement of the Islamic coin-issuing dynasties that was followed, with subsequent modifications, by most Islamic numismatists until recently. Russia's numismatic research was also impelled by Russian interest in the coinage of its newly conquered territories in the Caucasus and central Asia.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the leading Russian scholars were Markov, mentioned previously, and Tiesenhausen, who published the only general corpus of Abbasid coins produced to date (a corpus attempts to assemble all known coins of a historical period or place, whereas a catalog is limited to the coins of a single collection or several related collections). Perhaps the most brilliant scholar of the Russian school, Vasmer, was executed in 1938. Numismatic scholarship remained active in the Soviet Union, however, with major centers in Leningrad, Moscow, and the cities of Muslim central Asia.

Islamic numismatics has an early history in Spain, since the coinage of the Arabs there (the Moors) was part of that country's heritage from 711 to 1492. Vives's catalog of all Muslim Spanish issues remains a standard reference. George Miles founded Islamic numismatics at the American Numismatic Society in New York City, which remains one of the principal centers for the field. In 1989, Tübingen University, in Germany, acquired an extremely important collection of Islamic coins and has begun to develop a center for research and training.

The Turks of the Ottoman Empire were the first people of the Middle East to join in numismatic research, publishing in European journals as early as 1862. At the turn of the century, the Müzei Humayun (Imperial Museum) published a series of major catalogs in Ottoman Turkish that rank in importance with the productions of the large European museums. This promising beginning was halted by World War I and the series was never finished. Europeans living in Arab countries produced various works of significance during the first part of the twentieth century, but few Arabs contributed until the demise of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of some Arab states.

Abd al-Rahman Fahmi produced several important catalogs and studies based on the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art, in Cairo, and Nasir al-Naqshbandi founded a school of numismatists in Baghdad, where the Iraq Museum is a major center for research with a journal devoted to Islamic coins called al-Maskukat. The Damascus Museum, in Syria, also has an active collection, and its late curator, Muhammad Abu al-Faraj al-Ush, produced several important works. Recently the Bank al-Maghrib of Rabat, Morocco, has created a numismatic center and published two major corpora of Moroccan coins by Daniel Eustache. Some public collections were built in Iran in the 1970s, but little has been published there. In Jordan, a center for numismatic research has been established at Yarmuk University with private support; a journal, Yarmouk Numismatics, was founded there.

The real explosion in Islamic numismatics began in the 1970s as a result of the new wealth brought by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil. Many private collectors in the Gulf countries began to bid up the price of Islamic coins, and the interest generated by rising prices led to great collector interest in Europe, the Americas, and Japan. This, as well as the expansion of Islamic studies in the West, has made the field extremely active.

see also organization of petroleum exporting countries (opec).


Album, Stephen. A Checklist of Islamic Coins, 2d edition. Santa Rosa, CA: Author, 1998.

Bates, Michael L. Islamic Coins. ANS Handbook 2. New York, 1982.

Bates, Michael L. "Islamic Numismatics," Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 12, no. 2 (May 1978): 116; 12, no. 3 (December 1978): 218; 13, no. 1 (July 1979): 321; 13, no. 2 (December 1979): 19.

Broome, Michael. A Handbook of Islamic Coins. London: Seaby, 1985.

Krause, Chester L., and Mishler, Clifford. Standard Catalog of World Coins. Iola, WI: Krause, annual editions.

Mayer, L. A. Bibliography of Moslem Numismatics, India Excepted, 2d edition. London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1954.

Mitchiner, Michael. Oriental Coins and Their Values. 3 vols. London: Hawkins, 1977.

michael l. bates


views updated May 21 2018


Interest in Jewish coins arose already in the late Middle Ages, e.g., with *Maimonides and Estori *ha-Parhi. Special studies, however, were carried out only considerably later. For geographical reasons and due to the fact that Jewish coins bear partly Greek legends, these have been generally classified as Greek coins. Among the earliest studies is one by F. Perez Bayer (De numis hebraeo-samaritanis, 1781). Bible research gave Jewish numismatics a special interest. One of the first in the field was the English scholar J.Y. Akerman ("Numismatic Illustration of the Narrative of Portions of the New Testament," in: Numismatic Chronicle, 1846/47). Another important work was written by the Italian C. Cavedoni (Numismatic Biblica, 1850), followed by F. de Saulcy's Recherches sur la Numismatique Judaïque (1854). The first work that may claim scientific value was published by F.W. Madden (History of Jewish Coinage…, 1864; repr. with introd. by M. Avi-Yonah, 1967). Coins of the Jews (1881) was the second edition of the former. Though the research on Jewish numismatics has since greatly advanced, Madden's study remains of basic value even today. T. Reinach's noteworthy book, Jewish Coins, appeared in 1903. In 1914 G.F. Hill published his Catalogue of the Greek Coins of Palestine in the British Museum. It is an excellent summary of the material then known, based on the almost complete collection of the British Museum. Hill's own critical observations add to the value of this catalog, which is indispensable for the student of Jewish numismatics. In Ereẓ Israel numismatic interest has developed in the 20th century. The first book on Jewish coins was S. Raffaeli's Matbe'ot ha-Yehudim (1913). This was followed by M. Narkiss' Matbe'ot Ereẓ Yisrael (3 vols., 1936–39). In 1940 A. Reifenberg published his Ancient Jewish Coins (Heb. ed., Matbe'ot ha-Yehudim, 1947, 19632). In 1945 the Israel Numismatic Society was founded, and since then its members have contributed to the progress of numismatic research. Foremost among them was its second president, L. Kadman, who founded the Israel Numismatic Research Fund and published himself four volumes of the Corpus Nummorum Palestinensium (1956–61; Aelia Capitolina, Caesarea Maritima, Jewish-Roman War, and Akko-Ptolemais). Kadman was also the sponsor of the Kadman Numismatic Museum in Tel Aviv, which was inaugurated in 1962 and houses the largest numismatic library in Israel. The Publications of the Israel Numismatic Society have appeared since 1954. L. Kadman published in co-authorship with A. Kindler a numismatic handbook (Heb., 1963). The latter published, besides many articles on special subjects, the Oẓar Matbe'ot Ereẓ Yisrael (with an English summary, 1958); The Coins of Tiberias (Heb. and Eng., 1962); and a catalog of the collection of Jewish coins of the Bank of Israel (1969). Y. Meshorer published his corpus of Jewish Coins of the Second Temple Period in 1967 (Heb., 1966) with an almost up-to-date listing of all types of Jewish coins known to date.

In 1963 an International Numismatic Convention was held in Jerusalem, and its proceedings were published by the Israel Numismatic Society. The latter holds monthly meetings and seminaries, and annual conventions for its membership of 250. It also publishes a quarterly, Israel Numismatic Journal. The American Israel Numismatic Society, based in North Miami, Florida, publishes The Shekel six times a year. Numismatic research is not confined to books. Hundreds of articles and minor monographs have been written by various scholars. L.A. Mayer published a Bibliography of Jewish Numismatics which counts 882 items until 1963. In the framework of archaeological research in the Hebrew University and in the Museum of Jewish Antiquities, E.L. *Sukenik built up an extremely important collection of Palestinian coins. He was the first to identify the earliest Jewish coins by correctly reading the legend Yehud on them. Other important numismatic collections in Israel are in the Department of Antiquities of the Hebrew University, in the Jewish Museum, in the Bank of Israel, in the Franciscan Biblical School, and in the Pontifical Biblical Institute, all in Jerusalem. Private collections of importance are those of the late A. Reifenberg, Jerusalem, on loan to the Israel Museum; of A. Spaer, Jerusalem; of R. Hecht, Haifa; of J. Meyshan and of J. Willinger, Tel Aviv. Outside Israel the collections of the American Numismatic Society, as well as the private ones of A. Klaksbald, Paris, D. Littman, Geneva, and W. Wirgin, New York, are of importance.


L.A. Mayer, Bibliography of Jewish Numismatics (1966).

[Arie Kindler]


views updated Jun 08 2018

nu·mis·mat·ics / ˌn(y)oōməzˈmatiks; -məs-/ • pl. n. [usu. treated as sing.] the study or collection of coins, paper currency, and medals.DERIVATIVES: nu·mis·ma·tist / n(y)oōˈmizmətist; -ˈmis-/ n.


views updated May 23 2018

nu·mis·mat·ic / ˌn(y)oōməzˈmatik; -məs-/ • adj. of, relating to, or consisting of coins, paper currency, and medals.DERIVATIVES: nu·mis·mat·i·cal·ly / -ik(ə)lē/ adv.


views updated May 11 2018

numismatic XVIII. — F. numismatique, f. L. numisma, -mat-, var. (infl. by nummus coin) of nomisma — Gr. nómisma current coin, f. nomizein have in use, f. nómos use, custom; see -ISM, -ATIC.