Where did the word “numismatics” come from? First documented as an English word in the early part of the 1800s, this word derived from a French adjective, numismatiques, which means "of coins." In turn, that word came from the Latin word for “coin.” The meaning of the word gets even more interesting when the Latin word gets traced back to the original Greek that it was borrowed from. After some iterations, the word came from the Greek nemō, or "I dispense or divide."


Coins honor new Dutch king: Available to mark inauguration

The Netherlands’ new monarch, King Willem-Alexander, is honored on new commemorative coins, which includes the Proof gold €20 piece shown here.

Images courtesy of the Royal Dutch Mint.

Just in time for the inauguration of a new monarch, the Royal Dutch Mint has begun selling coins commemorating the incoming king.

Willem-Alexander will be the Netherlands’ first king in more than a century after his inauguration on April 30. As crown prince, he replaces his abdicating mother, Queen Beatrix.

The Dutch Ministry of Finance authorized three coins to mark the event: a silver-plated copper €10 coin, a .925 fine silver €10 piece and a .999 fine gold €50 coin.

The coins share the same basic designs but the denomination inscriptions differ.

The obverse shows the new king as though observing an audience, with the observed audience appearing on the coin’s reverse.

A banner design element “connecting” both sides bears the legend JE MAINTIENDRAI (“I will uphold”). The design, by artists Persijn Broersen and Margit Lukács, reflects three elements that will be important throughout the king’s reign, according to the Royal Dutch Mint: uniting, representing and encouraging.

The silver-plated copper coin is available in Uncirculated condition at face value either individually placed within a coin card or in a 20-coin roll, and also in a Brilliant Uncirculated version, in a coin card, for €15.

The Uncirculated coin is a circulation-quality example, while the blanks for the BU coins are washed and produced with new dies, according to Sander Knol, product manager at the Royal Dutch Mint. Knol would not respond to questions about the dies for the Uncirculated coins. The BU coins are also packaged in a numbered coin card, while the coin cards with Uncirculated examples are not numbered.

Both silver-plated copper €10 coins weigh 15.5 grams and measure 33 millimeters in diameter. All versions of the silver-plated copper €10 coins are limited to a total combined mintage of 400,000 pieces, regardless of packaging option or finish. Of that total mintage, 15,000 pieces are allocated for the BU version.

The Proof .925 fine silver €10 coin weighs 25 grams, measures 38 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 12,500 pieces. The Proof .900 fine gold €20 coin weighs 8.5 grams, measures 25 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 2,500 pieces.

Multiple special coin sets will include the commemorative coins. Details are available at the Royal Dutch Mint website, www.knm.nl.

The Uncirculated version is available beginning May 1, with the BU silver-plated copper coin and the Proof silver and gold coins available beginning in mid-May.

U.S.-based distributor Coin & Currency Institute plans to sell some of the coins once they are delivered after release. CCI will offer the Uncirculated silver-plated copper coin priced at $29.50, the silver coin at $77.50 and the gold coin at $697.

Email Coin & Currency Institute at mail@coin-currency.com, visit at www.coin-currency.com or phone it at 800-421-1866. ¦

Community Comments

Numismatics is about more than just coins.

While many people use numismatics as a general term to refer only to the study of coins, this word actually refers to the study of all kinds of money. As such, it includes the study of coins and also paper bills, tokens, and other related objects that have been used as currency by various people throughout history, as well as noncurrency items like medals. Some kinds of money used at different points in history might surprise novice numismatists; for example, a culture might have used shells as a currency. 

Barter, or the trade of objects and services for other objects and services, has long been used in the marketplace and continues today. In some cases, the line between barter and currency still provides a topic of debate, but in most cases, articles about numismatics cover subjects like coins and paper money. Numismatics might become easier to comprehend by understanding the numismatic values of coins and paper money, and this refers to the value of a coin or note that is higher than the intrinsic or face value. In other words, this could also be called the collectible value. For example, a historical gold coin has an inherent value that is based upon its bullion value. It may also have a face value, or the actual value of the money assigned by the country that produced it. However, that same coin might be worth much more than the gold or the face value because it is rare, historically significant, beautiful, and/or designed by a famous artist.

Ultimately, understanding numismatics really depends upon understanding the nature of money. In the past, money might have been shells, gems, or precious metals. Today, most societies rely upon coins and paper money, but in this digital age, even that has begun to change as billions of dollars get exchanged every day electronically without the need for physical currency. Even more revolutionary, there are new digital currencies that have never been based upon any nation's physical currency. As it has in the past, it is likely that the study of numismatics will continue to evolve as currency evolves.