Word of The Day for Monday, May 16, 2011


ex•o•nu•mi•a (ek-suh-NOO-mee-uh)  n

numismatic items (as tokens, medals, or scrip) other than coins and paper money
exonumist noun

1960; from New Latin, from exo- + English numismatic, from Fr. numismatic (late 16c.), from L. numismat-, stem of numismata, from Gk. nomisma “current coin” from nomizein "have in use, adopt a custom," from nomos "custom, law, usage," from PIE base *nem- "to divide, distribute, allot" + New Latin -ia

Related Words: numismatics

Sentence Examples:
• Finally, if you have something esoteric - items that are not traded routinely and have infrequently updated pricing guides - a good auction may again bring the very best price. Examples could be issues collected by variety, like large cents and bust halves, world coins, errors, or many categories of exonumia. - The Rare Coin Estate Handbook,  James L. Halperin, et al

• You have before you many wonderful lots of exonumia, including many rarities that demand the careful attention of specialists and historians. You can easily add some classic rarities to your own collections. - Heritage Long Beach Coin Auction featuring Tokens and Medals, Mark Van Winkle, et al

• Other pieces seen are the Dancing Bears, Liberty and flag, Eagle and flag, Pacific Currency doubloon of Mexican design, Liberty and kneeling prospector counters which appear on the market from time to time. While interesting, these were in all likelihood gaming counters and are properly cataloged with exonumia. Their inclusion with the gold coins and patterns tends to trivialize the more significant series.  - Coin world comprehensive catalog & encyclopedia of United States, David T. Alexander


Exonumia are numismatic items (such as tokens, medals, or scrip) other than coins and paper money. This includes "Good For" tokens, badges, counterstamped coins, elongated coins, encased coins, souvenir medallions, tags, wooden nickels and other similar items. It is related to numismatics (concerned with coins which have been legal tender), and many coin collectors are also exonumists.

Besides the above strict definition, others extend it to include non-coins which may or may not be legal tenders such as cheques, credit cards and similar paper. These can also be considered notaphily or scripophily.

The noun exonumia is derived from two classical roots: exo, meaning "out-of" in Greek, and nummus, meaning "coin" in Latin; thus, "out[side]-of-[the category]coins". Usually, the term "exonumia" is applied to these objects in the United States, while the equivalent British term is paranumismatica.

The words exonumist and exonumia were coined in July 1960 by Russell Rulau, a recognized authority and author on the subject, and accepted by Webster's dictionary in 1965.

Sources: Merriam-Webster, Online Etymology

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