Touching History – Understanding History
“(…) the form of our countenance is impressed upon metal currency and you make a coin that will remind future ages about our reign.”
Cassiodorus, Variae VI 7, 3. – 6th century BC.
Collecting coins was once called the “Hobby of Kings”. In the Renaissance the European nobility
rediscovered the progressiveness of the ancient cultures in literature, philosophy and arts. Especially
the biographies of the first 12 Roman emperors (De vita Caesarum) by Sueton inspired the people to
collect coins of these emperors. Additionally ancient Greek and Byzantine coins were added to the
coin cabinets. Nowadays, almost all of these early collections are of great importance and in public
museums (e.g. in Paris, Berlin, Vienna, etc.). The first researchers started cataloging known coins and
noted down initial ideas for the interpretation of these and their representations in modern times.
Since the 19th century collecting ancient coins became available for a larger group of people and
smaller public coin cabinets were founded. During this time professionell societies established
themselves, public coin auctions became popular and important works on numismatics were
published. In the last decades investors have recognized the potential of high-quality coins as
investments, resulting in a high prizes at international auctions. Today everyone is able to own a
minted piece of history.
Coins illustrate the past. They are not only high quality artworks in miniature, but also sources for historical events, political circumstances and economic developments, they show religious, cultural, social and sometimes personal aspects from people of history. Pecunia Numismatics is dedicated to highlight the different aspects of coins and coinage.
“Pecunia” is Latin for money. The phrase “Pecunia non olet” (lat. money doesn’t stink) from the Roman emperor Vespasian is still famous today, but the word has a longer history: before coins were used for monetary transactions in Rome, wealth was measured in cattle. This influenced the early roman bars (aes signatum, 4th century BC.) that depict cattle. The word and its meaning was carried on through the centuries and found its way into today’s language (pecuniary).