WebReview Proposal

Numismatic History Websites

I will be reviewing websites that deal with numismatic history, in particular those that go beyond specific collector interests and attempt show the history of money as a whole. My reasons for reviewing numismatic sites are primarily professional - I am responsible for the numismatic website for the National Numismatic Collection (NNC)of the Smithsonian Institution, and I am interested in taking a serious look at what has been produced with an eye to improving the NNC website. To date the site is mainly a collection of web essays which I hope to expand into a full overview of the NNC along with a history of numismatics as illustrated by the collection.

The initial problem with this proposal is the huge number of numismatic websites in existence. By concentrating only on this sites that claim to cover numismatic history, the problem becomes more manageable, but still presents problems with determining the scholarly worth of the sites (a surprisingly large number of the "historical" numismatc sites are rants against the current U.S. Federal Reserve banknote system of currency - a possible topic for a future project?).

So far, the sites I have looked at can be classified in two ways, commercial and non-commercial; I will only be looking at the non-commercial sites. The non-commercial sites can be further classified into two categories:

  1. General histories of numismatics covering the whole of the history of money starting from one of several key events; the invention of coinage, or the first recorded financial documents, etc.

  2. Histories of specialized subject areas of numismatics; coinage (often masquerading as general histories), paper money, medals, tokens, etc.

The sites can be further divided into sites produced by Museums or scholarly institutions, and sites produced by individuals. Two of the sites I will review are the "Beyond Face Value" site produced by the U.S. Civil War Center at LSU, and the "History of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day" site produced by Glyn Davies in support of his book of the same title.

Other possible sites:

The Japanese Currency Museum website

Al-Andalus: The History of Islamic Iberia

Fine Art and Paper Money in Jacksonian America, 1820 - 1860.

Six Kinds of United States Paper Money

Ancient Greek & Roman Coins