This page lists the directions for creating, enhancing or fixing the catalog pages. Thanks for following them as much you can.
In running text, spell out integers from zero to twelve. Use digits for dates, numbers followed by units of measure, integers greater than twelve, and decimal numbers:
- three lions || five francs || twelve stars
- 3 January || 12 mm || 3.14 || 16 years
Use a dot (“.”) as decimal separator and an unbreakable space (“ “) as thousand divider for numbers above 10 000:
- 1 234 567 || 1234 || 12.5
- 1,234,567 || 1 234 || 12,5
Write large numbers using digits to avoid long/short-scale confusion.
- 1 000 000 000 000
- 1 Trillion || 1 Billion || 1 Million Million || 10¹²
Use the metric system for units of measure:
If the physical properties of an item are defined in non-metric units, give the equivalent metric value in brackets:
- 1/4 ounce (7.09 g)
- 1/4 oz
Format dates to avoid day/month confusion:
- 2 October 2017
- 02.10.2017 || 10.02.2017
Use the Gregorian, Julian, or pre-Julian calendars, as they were used at the time:
Use BC to label dates before year 1. BC follows dates.
- 753 BC || 4th century BC
- 753 BCE || BC 753
Use AD to label dates after year 1. AD precedes years written as digits but follows dates written as words. Omit AD unless it would cause ambiguity.
- 4th century AD || AD 14 || 1948
- AD fourth century || 14 AD || 14 CE || AD 1948
Other calendars may be used when they appear on numismatic or exonumia items, but in this case, the equivalent date in the Gregorian or Julian calendar should always be provided in brackets:
- Always use AH or BH for dates in the Islamic lunar calendar, and AM for dates in the Jewish calendar.
Write centuries using ordinal numerals in Arabic digits. Do not capitalise the word “century”:
- 1st century || 18th century
- XVIII century || 18th Century || 18ᵗʰ c.
Use an unspaced hyphen (“-”) for simple ranges. If at least one item of the range contains a space, then use a spaced hyphen:
- 1970-1972 || 5-7 January 1979 || 420-380 BC
- 3 June - 18 August 1952 || AD 27 - 14 BC
Give the end year in full. Use “date” for the present date:
- 1881-1882 || 1995-date
- 1881–82 || 1881-2 || 1995–…
- Avoid formulations such as “the 1900s”. This may refer to 1900-1909 or 1900-1999. This is also different to the 20th century, which is 1901-2000.
For uncertain dates or ranges, use “circa”. Do not abbreviate it and do not use a slash (“/”) for date ranges or uncertain dates.
- circa 1940 || circa 1600-1650
- c. 1940 || ca. 1940 || approx. 1940 || 1600/1650
A rigid piece of material that has a determined value (denomination) within a currency system.
The denomination may be explicit or implied by de facto use. Coins may not necessarily be intended to circulate (for example, some commemoratives, trial strikes, presentation pieces, proofs, etc).
A flexible piece of material that has a determined value (denomination) within a currency system.
The denomination may be explicit or implied by de facto use. Banknotes may not necessarily be intended to circulate (for example, reserve banknotes, specimens, etc).
Objects of historical interest or collectable items that resemble or relate to coins and banknotes.
Items not in the scope of Numista
- Stamps (but stamp coins are welcome)
- Enameled military orders and decorations
- Modified coins such as post-mint plated coins
- Slave tags, pet licence tags, inventory tags, key tags, fobs, etc.
- Beer and sparkling drink caps
- Buttons, badges, buckles, etc.
- Credit and debit cards, telephone cards, gift cards, etc.
An issuer is any:
- organised community (for example, Australia, Commune of Nice, Abbey of Saint Gall, Rauraci tribe),
- association of such communities (for example, Eurozone, West African States, joint notgeld issuers), or
- autonomous mint that regulates currency (for example, the Imperial mint of Basel)
with a claimed right to issue currency.
The ruling authority is an individual head of state represented on numismatic or exonumia items.
Heads of state are understood in a broad sense, including monarchs, regents, governors, seigneurs, ranking nobles or clergy, leaders, officers, pretenders, usurpers, etc.
Regnal numbers follow the name in Roman numerals with no ordinal indicators.
- Henry I
- Henry Ier, Henry I., Henry 1st
Cognomens (nicknames) follow the name (and regnal number if it exists). When a ruler is known by multiple cognomens, only the most common is included.
- Robert II the Pious, Suleiman I the Magnificent, Vlad the Impaler
- Suleiman I the Magnificent the Lawgiver, Vlad the Impaler Dracula
Sobriquets are used only when they are universally better known than the name of the ruler:
- Caligula (for Roman emperor Gaius Germanicus)
- Grandmother of Europe (for British queen Victoria)
Add all the rulers depicted on the coin, including junior rulers and consorts. Use a serial comma for more than two rulers:
Indicate when a senior ruler issued coins under a junior title before their time in office using “as” (for example, “as Prince”):
“Anonymous” is used for numismatic or exonumia items that depict the insignia, portrait, or monogram of a head of state of unknown name.
When heads of state are not individually represented on numismatic or exonumia items, the ruling authority can be one of the following:
- The form of government
Technical details regarding the form of government are not included
- free imperial city || federal state || socialist republic || province of the French colony of Madagascar
- parliamentary constitutional elective monarchy
The name of the issuer is not repeated in the name of the ruling authority
- Republic of Italy
A specific government or governing body
- second republic || insular government || provisional government
A distinct historic period
- German occupation, sede vacante, interregnum, etc
The official name of the issuer, when the name changed throughout history
- Kingdom of Swaziland, Kingdom of Eswatini
- If possible, ruling authorities are grouped by historic periods or dynasties.
- Ruling authorities are included in the Numista database only if they issued coins, banknotes or exonumia items.
English is used for the names of all ruling authorities.
- Carlos || Karl || Carol
Mints are workshops or industrial facilities that manufacture coins or coin-like exonumia items. The Numista mint database records the name, location, and operational dates of mints.
If known, the official name of the mint appears in the database in English, as well as in the local language:
If the name of the mint changed throughout its history, or if several minting facilities operated in a city without overlap, then only the hosting city appears in the title. The name changes are recorded in the description of the mint:
For mints that precede the existence of the countries where they are currently located, their historic location is listed alongside their modern one. The modern-day name is also listed for cities that changed their name:
Mints or cities known by multiple names during their minting history include all their names in the title, separated by a spaced slash (“ / “):
When several mints operated in the same city in parallel, and their coins can be distinguished from each other, the mints are recorded separately:
When the operation of a mint in a city is interrupted by a significant gap of at least around 100 years, the mint periods are recorded separately:
- Officinae were workshops within ancient Roman mints. Up to 15 officinae can be distinguished on coins minted after the late 3rd century AD by Roman numerals or letters on the reverse. Officinae are not listed separately in the database, but they can be distinguished in the mintage lines on coin pages.
Definition: A system of monetary units with fixed relative values. Currencies consist of one main unit and, optionally, fractional subunits or super units.
The main currency unit is usually defined by law, by circulation prevalence, or by common accounting practice. When known, the relative value of the subunits and super units is described in reference to the main currency unit.
- 1 Denarius = 2 Silver Quinarii = 4 Sestertii = 8 Dupondii = 16 Asses = 32 Semisses = 64 Quadrantes • 1 Aureus = 2 Gold Quinarii = 25 Denarii
The main unit is used to specify the face values in figure form of all items within that currency.
One issuer may have multiple currencies when redenominations occur. Redenominations may not necessarily be accompanied by a change of unit names. Redenominations may occur due to inflation, decimalisation, currency unions, monetary reforms, etc.
One issuer may also have multiple currencies when unrelated systems of currency units exist in parallel with a fluctuating exchange rate (for example, early thalers and ducats).
Currencies are not created for:
- Series (by date, subject, etc)
- Types of currency (for example, reserve notes, silver certificates, trials, patterns, etc.)
- Minor name changes (for example, “new Turkish lira” became “Turkish lira” in 2009)
- Changes, additions, or withdrawals of certain denominations (for example, withdrawal of the 500 euro banknote)
- Debasement, changes in exchange rates, appreciation and depreciation, inflation and deflation, devaluation and revaluation
- Account units (for example, the Carolingian pound)
- Ruling authorities or periods.
All currencies are listed in English in the database, according to the main listings (not alternative forms) of Oxford English Dictionary and Wiktionary.com
A coin is a rigid piece of material that has a determined value (denomination) within a currency system. The denomination may be explicit or implied by de facto use. Coins may not necessarily be intended to circulate (for example, some commemoratives, trial strikes, proofs).
Coin pages describe a single coin type.
- A coin type is defined by the physical properties and appearance:
- Metal composition, shape, diameter, and mass
- Devices (numismatic, heraldic, lettering, and design)
- The same type may include:
- Different dates, mints, officinae, mint officials, mintmarks, and engraver’s marks
- Different catalogue reference numbers
- Small diameter, mass, shape, and thickness variations, especially for ancient and medieval hammered coins
- Different minting processes (proof strikes, polished dies, etc.)
- Random variations such as edge, obverse and reverse orientations
Coin types are split on independent sheets when they feature:
Differences in physical dimensions:
Significant design differences:
Differences in the design of a device:
Differences in the orientation, size, or position of a device:
The presence or absence of a design device:
Different mints associated with significant differences:
- Different edges:
Counterstamped and countermarked coins:
Coin varieties, variants, and variations
Varieties (also known as variants) are coins of the same type with distinct details in the design that set them apart from others. Varieties may be a result of intended or unintended design changes that occur during the production of the die.
Multiple varieties can exist for the same coin type and should not be listed on a different coin page. Varieties are determined by:
- Legend varieties (different punctuation, layout, mintmark, or abbreviations)
- Small design varieties
- Differences in style of engraving
- Varieties can be listed in the comments field (example).
- Variations are random or unintentional differences in the physical appearance or properties of a coin that occur during the minting process, after the production of the die. For example, mint errors, random alignment or edge orientation, slight variations of the planchet in weight or size, different colouration of the alloy, etc.
The name of the coin allows quick identification of the type. Coin names should be concise and should consist of the following elements:
The face value should always be present in the title. It is expressed in the units or subunits that appear on the coin:
- 4 Franken || 40 Batzen (note that 40 batzen = 4 francs)
- 56 Kreuzer (note that 56 kreuzer is the value of one thaler, but the face value appears in the title as it appears on the coin)
For denominations of one unit, the numeral “1” can be mentioned or omitted. The presence of the
numeral “1” should be consistent for a given issuer and a given period, and across issuers that
share the same currency. It is decided by the referee(s) in charge, based on the usual practice in the
literature and other sources, and by the presence of the numeral “1” on the coin as a word or numeral.
Denominations different from “1” should always be included.
Non-integer values should be included in the title as they appear on the coin: as fractions, decimal numbers, or currency subunits. For fractional values, unicode fractions (½, ¼, etc.) or the special fraction slash should be used (⁄ U+2044).
Values should only be expressed in Arabic numerals, even if they appear on the coin in other numeral systems or as words:
When present on a coin, equivalent values should be included in the title, separated by a spaced slash (“ / ”):
The name of the currency unit should not be abbreviated.
If the unabridged name of the currency unit is present on the coin in Latin script, then the name of the coin should show the currency unit in the language on the coin.
- Solidus (in Latin, as inscribed on the coin)
- 1⁄24 Taler (in German, as inscribed on the coin, instead of “Thaler”)
Note that the unabridged name of the currency unit may be present only on some coins of an issuer. In this case, the titles should be consistent and use the name that appears on the coins.
If the name of the currency unit is absent from the coin, is abbreviated, does not use Latin script, or appears in multiple languages, then the English name for the currency unit should be used. Plurals should be used for values greater than 1.
- Shilling (in English, because the name is not on the coin)
- 5 Francs (in English, because “FR.” is an abbreviation for Franken, Franchi, or Francs)
- 5 Agorot (in English, because the coin uses non-Latin script)
- 5 Dinars (in English, because multiple languages are on the coins: Dinara, Dinarjev, etc)
If the name of the currency unit is unknown, use a common name for the coin in a standard reference:
Nicknames are included between quotation marks after the face value. Nicknames are familiar, shortened, diminutive, or humorous invented names that entered common use.
- Avoid obvious nicknames that simply describe the coin (such as “large”, “new”, “silver”, “square”, “holed”, etc). Avoid nicknames that repeat the ruler’s name or information in brackets.
Types that identify the coin in a standard reference are included between quotation marks after the face value:
Include the issuing ruler’s name in the title only if the ruler’s name, monogram, effigy, or personal coat of arms are present on the coin. Separate the name by a spaced hyphen.
If the coins show the unabridged name of the ruler in Latin script, then use the language on the coins.
Note that the unabridged name of the ruler may not necessarily be present on all the coins of an issuer. Some coins may only display an abridged name, or only the portrait. In these cases, the titles of all the coins of an issuer that depict the ruler should be consistent and use the name as it appears on some of the coins.
If the name of the ruler is absent from the coin, is abbreviated, does not use Latin script, or appears in multiple languages, then the English name should be used.
Regnal numbers should be included in Roman numerals with no ordinal indicators. Do not include cognomens (nicknames):
- Louis II
- Louis II. || Louis 2nd || Louis the Second || Louis the German
Coins issued in the name of foreign rulers should mention “in the Name of” after the hyphen:
Titles of posthumous issues should mention “Posthumous” following the ruler’s name, separated by a comma:
For coins issued during a period when normal government is suspended between successive reigns, specify “Interregnum” or “Sede Vacante”.
Do not specify regnal years and forms of government in the title:
- Shilling - Second Republic
- Shilling - German Occupation
- Shilling - German Occupation
- Shilling - Interregnum (1764-1765)
Use the name of an era or the dynastic title if they are inscribed on the coin and if the ruler’s name, portrait, and insignia are absent:
For commemorative coins, a brief description of the subject should be included in brackets.
Words such as “anniversary”, “commemoration”, “celebration”, and the dates should not be in the title.
For distinct types of the same denomination minted by an issuer in the same period, the main subject should be specified in brackets:
Distinct design features
If there are several similar coin types, the particularities that distinguish the types should be briefly specified in brackets:
If different portraits of the same sovereign were used for a specific denomination, the portrait should be identified in brackets.
The portrait should be named consistently across different issuers. The portrait can be identified by an adjective (young, bare, draped, crowned) or by the surname of the engraver. Avoid identifying portraits by ordinals (1st, 2nd portrait, etc):
Trial strikes (“essai” in French) should specify “trial” in brackets. Piedforts should specify “piedfort” in brackets. Off-metal strikes should specify the metal in brackets.
If there are several coin types with identical or almost identical designs, that differ in metal composition, mass, or diameter, briefly describe the differences in brackets:
Only if the mint makes the distinction between coin types, it should be specified in brackets followed by the word “mint”:
Imitations of foreign coins should specify in brackets the prototype, identifying the ruler or the issuer:
For countermarks and counterstamps, specify in brackets:
the value of the base type if it is different:
the name of the issuer and ruler if they are different from the ones that issued the mark:
the type of mark if multiple versions exist:
The legend is specified in brackets when it helps to distinguish between types:
The information in the title should follow this sequence:
- Value / Alternative Value “Nickname” - Ruler Name, Posthumous (Portrait type; LEGEND; subject; trial; design features; physical properties; Name of the mint)
Title case is used to format the names. Sentence case is used for information in brackets, except legends, which should be as written on the coin.
Information in brackets is separated by a semicolon (“; “):
- Information in brackets is only necessary when it helps to distinguish between several similar types. If a piece of information applies to all the similar types, then it should be omitted.
- Select the issuer of the coin from the drop-down list.
- Select the ruling authorities from the drop-down list.
- Up to five ruling authorities can be added by clicking “Add more ruling authorities”.
- If the coin was issued under multiple consecutive ruling authorities, add them in chronological order.
- Add the ruling authority even if it is the same for all the coins of an issuer.
If multiple rulers were in office simultaneously when the coin was issued, add the one depicted on the obverse first. If multiple rulers are depicted on the obverse, add them in order of seniority.
Add junior rulers or consorts of senior rulers, only if they are depicted on the coin. Always add senior rulers in office.
Face value in word form
The denomination is specified as a number followed by the currency unit, even if the number is not present on the coin. Capitalise unit names:
If multiple denominations appear on the coin, separate them by a spaced equality sign (“ = ”).
For non-decimal currency systems, specify the equivalent value in relation to the main currency unit, separated by a spaced equality sign. For large fractions, further relative values may be included for clarity:
The currency should be specified in English. Note that even if the currency unit is in a foreign language in the title and on the coin, the face value field should always use the English name:
- 5 Pounds (note that the currency is called “livre” on the coin)
- 1 Shilling (note that the currency is called “solidus” on the coin)
Face value in figure form
- Specify a number representing the relative value of the denomination to the base unit of the currency.
- For non-decimal currency systems, specify the face value as a fraction.
For decimal currency systems, specify the face value as a decimal number. The number of decimals should reflect the value of the sub-unit:
- Select the currency from the drop-down list
Assign the coin to an appropriate category:
- Standard circulation coin: for non-commemorative coins that were issued as legal tender or could be used in regular commercial activities.
- Circulating commemorative coin: for coins that were issued for a limited time to serve as legal tender and commemorate a specific subject.
- Provisional coin: for emergency (for example, depression notgeld, siege money, etc), and temporary coins that circulated as a complement to or substitute for legal tender.
- Non-circulating coin: for coins that have a face value associated with a circulation currency, but were never intended to be used in regular commercial activities, but rather as investment or collector pieces.
Token: for coin-like objects that were issued privately and could be used in limited commercial activities:
- for specific products, goods, or services
- within specific institutions, organisations or private companies
- for specific events
- Pattern: for coins that were produced to evaluate a proposed design. These can be off-metal strikes, piedforts, essais, etc.
Note that collector’s and presentation issues with the same design and physical properties (for example, proof strikes and polished die strikes) should be listed as date lines for the circulation types. Patterns and trial strikes should be listed separately from the circulation types.
Specify the subject of the commemorative issue. Do not include dates. Format the subject according to the following examples:
Select the composition and material(s) from the drop-down lists. For uncommon compositions that are not in the database, select “Unknown or other” and describe the composition in the “Additional details” field.
For gold, palladium, platinum, and silver the fineness can be specified as millesimal. The number of decimals should reflect the engineering tolerance.
- 999.99: the Royal Canadian Mint regularly produces commemorative coins in this fineness
Additional details can be specified:
For coins containing less than 50% silver, select “billon silver” and specify the silver content in the additional details field:
For coins containing less than 50% gold, select “gold” and specify the fineness:
- For alloys of nickel, copper, and zinc, select “nickel silver” if the colour of the coin is white, and “nickel brass” if the colour is yellow.
- Specify the weight in grams.
The number of decimals should reflect the engineering tolerance and not the measurement precision:
- For a coin weighing 20 ±0.02 g, the mass should be specified as 20.00 g to reflect the engineering tolerance.
- For a coin weighing 20 ±0.1 g, the mass should be specified as 20.0 g to reflect the engineering tolerance.
Ancient coins generally have irregular planchets and manufacturing tolerances of up to several grams.
Note that the mass of an ancient coin can be measured with much higher precision with a modern instrument. However, for these coins, an average mass rounded to one decimal can be specified to reflect the manufacturing tolerances.
- The diametre should be specified in millimetres.
The number of decimals should reflect the engineering tolerance and not the measurement precision:
Modern precious metal coins are fabricated to a tolerance of ±0.01 mm. For these coins, the diameter can be specified with 2 decimals:
Ancient coins generally have irregular planchets and manufacturing tolerances of up to several millimetres.
Note that the diameter of an ancient coin can be measured with much higher precision with a modern instrument. However, for these coins, an average diameter rounded to the nearest multiple of 0.5 should be specified to reflect the manufacturing tolerances.
If the coin is not round, the largest spatial dimension should be specified.
- for a rectangular coin, measuring 30 by 40 mm, you should record the size of the diagonal, 50 mm.
- Specify the thickness of the coin in millimetres.
- The number of decimals should reflect the engineering tolerance and not the measurement precision.
- For coins with a large variance in thickness, such as most ancient coins, this field should be left blank.
- If the coin is not flat, such as a scyphate, the thickness of the planchet should be specified, and not the overall spatial thickness.
Select the appropriate shape from the drop-down list. Use the Numista catalogue of shapes for a graphical guideline. For uncommon shapes that are not in the database, select “Other” and describe the shape in the “Additional details” field.
Specify additional details relevant for describing the shape, such as rounded or chamfered corners, the number of features, position or shape of holes, etc:
Tick the appropriate box for the coin alignment:
- Coin: when flipping the coin around its vertical axis, the obverse and reverse are upside-down relative to each other.
- Medal: when flipping the coin around its vertical axis, both faces are oriented the same way.
- Variable: when the coin alignment varies randomly between specimens
- for coins with uncertain alignment
for coins with indeterminable orientation, such as uniface coins, bracteates, symmetrical and non-orientable designs:
for coins that have different alignments for different years or mints, select “Unknown” and specify the alignment in the comment of each date line:
- 2 Francs (coin alignment until 1981 and medal alignment from 1982)
Determining the obverse and reverse
The conventions used on Numista to determine the obverse and reverse of a coin may differ from other guidelines and may even be in conflict with official mint specifications. These conventions are meant to provide consistency throughout all the issuers in the catalogue.
For medieval and modern coins:
The face bearing the name or insignia of the issuer is the obverse:
- 10 Stotinki
- ½ Thaler Regensburg (note that the portrait is on the reverse in this case; the obverse shows the name and coat of arms of the issuing city)
If each side shows the name of a different issuer (for example, a local authority on one side and an imperial or colonial power on the other side) then the face showing the local authority is the obverse.
- 50 Centavos (Cape Verde is on the obverse and Portugal, the colonial power, is on the reverse)
If the issuer is not represented on the coin, then the face bearing the name, monogram, portrait, or insignia of the ruler is the obverse:
If neither the issuer nor the ruler appears on the coin, or if either the issuer or the ruler appear on both faces, then the face with the larger-scale or more detailed image is the obverse:
For coins with similar designs, the name of the issuer or ruler may not always appear on the same face. In this case, the obverse and reverse should consistently refer to faces depicting the same devices.
- For ancient coins:
The obverse is the face produced from the lower die, which is known as the pile or anvil die and usually depicts the high relief portrait. The reverse is produced from the upper die, also known as the trussell or hammer die, and usually has a slightly concave shape:
Note that on some ancient coins, the portrait side is clearly struck with the trussell die:
On some ancient coins, the obverse and reverse cannot be easily identified:
- Cast coins:
Coins that do not depict a portrait, for which the trussell and anvil dies cannot be discerned:
Coins that feature two-headed designs, for which it is impossible to tell the pile from the trussell die:
For Byzantine coins struck after AD 692 and their imitations, that feature one or several portraits on each side:
- The face bearing the religious image is the obverse. The face bearing the secular image is the reverse.
For Islamic coins, engravings are almost always low relief and inscriptional, so by convention:
The face with one of the Six Kalimas or a similar phrase (for example, “There is no god except God, Muhammad is the Apostle of God”) is the obverse:
If a Kalima is not present, then the face with the name of the mint is the reverse:
For countermarked coins:
- The face with the countermark is the obverse.
For uniface coins:
- The blank face is the reverse.
Engraver (obverse and reverse)
Specify the full names of all the engravers. Select the suggested names if they are already in the database. If only the initial of the first name is known, abbreviate it with a dot (“.”):
- John Smith
- J. Smith (only if the full name John is not known)
- If different varieties, dates, or mints of this type have different engravers, this field should be left blank and the engravers should be specified in the comments field.
Designer (obverse and reverse)
Specify the full names of all the designers. Select the suggested names if they are already in the database. If only the initial of the first name is known, abbreviate it with a dot (“.”):
- Jacob Smith
- J. Smith (only if the full name Jacob is not known)
Description (obverse and reverse)
- Specify a brief and precise description of the devices engraved on each side of the coin.
- Do not add biographical notes about the subjects depicted on the coin. Biographical notes may be added in the general comments field.
Avoid dispensable generic words such as “image”, “depiction”, “view”, etc.:
- Lion walking right.
- Depiction of a lion walking right.
Avoid using articles, pronouns and verbs:
Express directions with left and right as the viewer sees them. As an exception, when you describe the left or right parts of an object or body, refer to their proper left or right.
Use “facing” to describe the orientation of the body, and “looking” to describe the orientation of the head:
For effigies, the following may be covered:
- The name and title of the person
- The extent of the effigy: head (portraits from the neck up), bust (portraits from the shoulders up), half-length figure (portraits from the hips up), three-quarter figure (portraits from the knees up), full-length figure (head to toe portraits)
- The posture: standing, seated, mounted, walking, etc.
- The orientation: facing left, facing right, front-facing.
- The attire: crown, mitre, nimbus, veil, cuirass, mantle, hat, galero, etc.
The props: holding sword, wearing order of the garter, etc.
For animals, the following may be covered:
- The common and taxonomic (scientific) name
- If only part of the animal appears on the coin, the extent of the representation: head, wing, upper body, etc.
- The posture: running, sitting, swimming, flying, etc.
The orientation: facing left, facing right, front-facing.
For plants, fungi, and single-celled organisms the following may be covered:
- The common and taxonomic (scientific) name
If only part of the plant appears on the coin, the extent of the representation: branch, spring, leaf, flower, buds, etc.
For coats of arms:
Note that coats of arms are different from shields:
- Shield: an article of defensive armour carried in the hand.
- Coat of arms: a series of heraldic charges or devices, often depicted on a shield and unique to a person, family, corporation, or country.
Do not use blazon (heraldic language):
- per fess dancetty, gules and argent
Generally, it is enough to attribute the coat of arms to a person or state. No further description of the coat of arms is necessary when its appearance does not change on the coins.
If the coat of arms features dominant design elements, you may describe them in simple language:
When the design of the coat of arms changes on different coins, it is useful to describe the devices that change, for example, the type of shield, supporters, mantle, crown, helmet, crest, motto, or order:
When describing shields, avoid technical designations that can be ambiguous, such as Spanish, Dutch, Elisabethan, bouched, etc. Use only intuitive descriptions: round, oval, square (with a straight top edge), pointed, lozenge, gothic, asymmetrical, and ornate. If necessary, you may additionally describe the division of the field and any inner shields:
Occasionally, the difference between coats of arms is made by the charges present in the individual fields. In this case, you may briefly describe them from top to bottom and from left to right.
Avoid describing charges in more than eight fields:
For wreaths, specify the types of plants:
For monograms, specify who or what they represent and include the letters in quotation marks:
For reproductions of works of art:
The title in English in quotation marks, the artist, and the date. Use the foreign title if the work is better known by this name (for example, Michelangelo’s “Pietà”). If not evident from the title of the work, you may describe the major elements:
- Do not describe the work of art itself.
For buildings and monuments, specify the type of representation (facade, elevation, floor plan, cross-section, exterior perspective, interior perspective, bird’s eye perspective, frog’s eye perspective, detail, or axonometry), the name of the building in English, the place, and the name of the architect, if known.
For landscapes, specify the type, name, location, and vantage point:
For vehicles, specify the type, manufacturer, model, and name, as appropriate. Do not use quotation marks for names (for example: “Titanic” steamship). Specify the orientation:
Do not transcribe the inscriptions (legends, date, value, mintmark). Inscriptions should be transcribed in the “Lettering” field. If the inscription constitutes a dominant feature in the design, specify the number of lines.
Include the date, value, and denomination when counting the lines, but do not include mintmarks and other mint official marks in the count. Do not describe inscriptions along the rim.
For inscriptions in non-latin scripts, you may specify the type and reading direction:
Only describe the date, value, rim, beaded circles, mintmark, mint official’s mark, engraver’s mark, legend along the edge, and other minor design features if they make the difference between coin types:
For coins depicting multiple design elements, start with the dominant, central one. Describe each additional element in a new sentence, specifying its position in relation to the first one, using “above”, “below”, “in front”, “in the background”, “behind”, “to the right”, or “to the left” at the end of the sentence:
For symbols, it is preferable to use accessible language: “ring” instead of “annulet”; “star” instead of “mullet” or “estoile”; “radiant” instead of “rayonnant”; etc. Be specific about the type of symbol:
- specify the type of cross: Maltese cross, staurogram, double cross, saltire, swastika, ankh, etc.
- or type of star: Star of David, comet, five-pointed star, pentagram, etc.
For counterstamped or countermarked coins, describe first the counterstamp or countermark. Describe the host coin as you would describe a regular coin:
For uniface coins, write “Uniface.” on the reverse and describe any relevant details:
- Uniface. Incuse impression of the obverse.
Description with keywords (edge)
Record an accurate description of the edge. Use the Numista catalogue of edge types for a graphical guideline:
- Plain, for smooth flat edges with no devices or inscriptions.
- Rounded, for smooth rounded edges with no devices or inscriptions.
Reeded, for edges with evenly distributed grooves around the entire circumference. Specify the number of grooves and if the grooves are incuse or tilted. Note that reeded edges are known as ridged in American English and milled in British English.
Serrated, for edges with hand-chiselled grooves at regular intervals.
Segmented reeding, for alternating plain and reeded sections. Specify the number of segments and grooves:
- Embossed or incuse lettering, for edges with inscriptions. Note that lettering may be present on a ridged edge. Transcribe the lettering in the lettering field below.
Embossed or incuse pattern, for edges featuring flowers, vines, bars, swirls, and other motifs. Similar to inscribed edges, decorated edges may be embossed or incused.
Grooved: for edges featuring a deep score or groove, usually centred between the obverse reverse sides.
Reticulated (also known as engrailed) for edges with a grid or network of ridges:
Security, for edges featuring a combination of grooves and reeds, often additionally decorated with a pattern to prevent counterfeiting.
Hand-stamped, for plain edges with a hand-stamped mark, usually an assayer’s mark or a serial number
Lettering (obverse, reverse, and edge)
- The lettering field is a faithful transcript of all the lettering on each face and on the edge of the coin.
- Use the exact script, spelling, abbreviations, capitalization, punctuation, layout, and special characters. Do not try to reproduce the exact layout and spacing between characters.
- Include the date, mint letter, and small lettering, such as the engraver’s name or lettering that is part of the design or heraldic devices.
- Use the featured image as a sample. Transcribe the date, mint letter, and exact punctuation from the featured image. If no image is available, use a common year and variety.
- If lettering varieties exist, they may be further described in the comments field.
Split words by spaces in the transcription of legends that ignore word breaks:
Do not split words and dates that are interrupted by design features.
Do not split blocks of text that are interrupted by design features or other blocks of text:
- Placeholders such as “[date]” or “[mint mark]” should not be used. Line breaks and gaps in the text are transcribed as such and not replaced with placeholders such as “ || “ or “ / “.
Non-standard script directions and layouts should be transcribed in the standard direction (for example, latin script in a vertical layout should be transcribed in the conventional left-to-right direction). Ideographic scripts that have flexible writing directions should be transcribed as depicted on the coin.
Use the unicode character that resembles most the symbol used on the coin.
- × + ✣ ✠ ☩ ♁ ✤ ⊚ ᐤ ⸰ ⵓ ஃ ✿ ❀ 🏵 ⚜ ⋆ ⁑ • · : ⋮ ∴ ; ⬦ ⬩＊★ ⋆ 🞲 ✶ 🞹 ✽ 🟌 ⁕ ⁑ 🙛 ❧
In general, separate punctuation characters by a space from adjacent words for better readability, even if spacing on the coin appears different:
Transcribe the exact punctuation spacing only when used in regular, unabridged sentences, and the spacing is unequivocal:
Text blocks that appear more than once on a given face, should only be transcribed once:
- 1905 2005 (appears numerous times on this coin, but should only be written once in the lettering field.)
Translation of the lettering (obverse, reverse, and edge)
- The translation field contains the translation to English of the lettering field.
- Dates and lettering blocks that have the same spelling in English should be omitted from the translation field (for example, “France 1 Franc 1960”, “20 Francs Albert Einstein 2020”, etc.)
- If the lettering contains abbreviations, then the unabridged inscription in the original language should also be included on a distinct line before the translation
Line breaks should be ignored, regular punctuation and sentence case should be used
- Do not include additional notes about the text, such as the source of a quote. These notes may be added in the comments section.
If there are multiple possible translations with different meanings, separate them with a spaced slash (“ / “):
If different text blocks have the same translation, only translate them once:
- Federal Palace. (“Bundeshaus”, “Palais fédéral”, and “Palazzo Federale” all translate to Federal Palace)
Picture (obverse, reverse, and edge)
- Individual pictures in jpeg format can be added for the obverse, reverse and edge.
- Pictures should have a white background (#FFFFFF).
- Pictures should be tightly cropped around the coin.
- Pictures of the obverse and reverse should be rotated upright. The coin should be oriented parallel to the photographic plane.
Pictures of the edge should show the coin tilted at a shallow angle (circa 15°). Repetitive edges should only show one section of the edge in landscape orientation. Edges with inscriptions or other non-repetitive designs should show a stacked sequence of frames depicting the entire edge:
- Images should be in focus, have good lighting and contrast, and show no plastic holder reflections.
Drawings and computer-generated images should only be used when no photograph is available.
If drawings or computer-generated images show more details, they may be kept in the comments section.
- Photographs of regular strike coins should be preferred to proof strikes.
When multiple images are available, the image displaying the clearest fine details should always be featured.
Note that some pictures may have a bigger pixel count, but suffer from poor lighting, focus, or compression artefacts and consequently show fewer details than a smaller image. Images of coins in higher grades usually display more details.
- If several coins share an identical face, do not reuse the same image for multiple coins. Photos should belong to that specific type.
Only when two images display the same level of detail and eye-appeal:
- photographs with no obstructions of the rim from plastic holders are preferred
- photographs with no watermarks are preferred
- photographs from users should be preferred over third-party image sources
Source of the picture (obverse, reverse, and edge)
- Numista respects image authorship.
- If you are the author of an image, you can give Numista permission to use it by selecting “I made the picture myself” from the dropdown list and, optionally, writing your copyright information in the field.
- If an image comes from one of the sources that authorised Numista to use their images, you can select “I copied the image from a website that gave their permission” and pick the appropriate credit line from the dropdown list.
For images in the public domain, such as images from old books with expired copyright, or for images with non-commercial licences, you may select “The image comes from somewhere else” and specify the source and type of licence:
Record all the mints that issued the coin. Each mint should be listed on a separate line. For each line, you can add:
- Specify the mint letter(s) in the mintmark field. Other Unicode characters that closely resemble the mintmark may also be used.
- Do not describe mintmarks in words.
- Do not use the mintmark field to record Officinae, die letters, or other types of marks, such as the mintmaster, engraver, or assayer marks.
Select the mint from the dropdown list.
If available, select the mintmark image from the drop-down list.
Pictures should be added if the mint letters are in an unusual font or layout, or if the mintmark is a monogram or picture.
Use bold font to highlight headings in the comments, especially when several different topics are covered. Leave one blank line before each heading:
You may include:
Monographic information about the coin, such as:
- rarity, the number of known or surviving pieces
- mintmasters and other mint official
- details about alternative, possible, or uncertain attributions
- fabrication process: cast, hammered, milled, etc.
- details about its engraving style, especially for ancient coins
- additional details about the lettering, for example the source of quotes
- details about the design process, design selection competition, design awards, etc.
- packaging (mint sets, philatelic numismatic covers, etc.)
Do not include generic information about the issuer, mint, ruler, or engraver.
Specific monographic information about these may be added only if it is directly relevant to the immediate background to the particular coin type.
Short biographical information about the depicted subject.
Usually, one to three sentences are enough. Do not give in-depth information about the subjects depicted on the coin.
Information about the design varieties and images for each variety.
- Introduce this section of the comments with “Varieties:” in italic font. You may include a generic description or a comment about how varieties can be identified.
If possible, name each variety using the date, mintmark, or any other distinguishing feature. Otherwise, give each variety a number. This name or variety number can be used in the date-lines to identify the variety. Write the name of the variety in bold. On the same line, write relevant catalogue references in brackets:
- Variety 1956 B (KM# 21.2)
- 22 stars variety 1780-1786 (KM# 21.3, Schön DM# 54b)
- Small portrait variety (Fr# 35.c)
On subsequent lines, include the distinguishing features on separate lines, writing the name of the feature in italics:
- Obverse: Five feathers in the hat.
- Reverse lettering: REVERSE ⁕ LEGEND ⁕
Add images for each variety, along with copyright information. Credits with a link should be added directly below each image.
Images in the comments should respect the general picture guidelines described above (white background, cropped, etc.). Images of the design varieties should also respect authorship and may only be used with consent of the owners.
- ©️ [url=http://coins.ha.com/]Heritage Auctions[/url]
- For each variety, you may include separate images for obverse and reverse, or a single image with both faces, but you should be consistent with one approach for each page.
Avoid excerpts, annotations, highlights, and other alterations to the photographs, unless differences are very difficult to spot. In this case, you may prepare an annotated diagram highlighting the differences.
- Use simple, straight cuts and straight annotation lines or circles.
- Use black, white or the current Numista blue colours (#0570aa, #000088, #dfeefb) for the annotations.
- Avoid text on images in general, because it is not searchable, and especially avoid language-specific explanations. This allows annotated images to be used on both the English and French versions.
Include references to the sources of all additional information on the page:
For literature that is in the Numista bibliography, use the corresponding code followed by a hash symbol (“#”), a space, and the reference number:
- RCV IV# 100
- RCV IV # 100 || RCV IV #100 (note the incorrect spacing of the hash symbol)
For literature that is not in the Numista bibliography, do not use abbreviations. Format references using the Numista reference style:
- Author’s Name; year. “Title / Volume” (edition). Publisher, City, Country. ISBN 1234567890123.
- Arthur L. Friedberg, Ira S. Friedberg, Robert Friedberg; 2017. “Gold Coins of the World: From Ancient Times to the Present” (9th edition). Coin & Currency Institute, Williston, Vermont, USA. ISBN 9780871843098.
For articles from journals or conference proceedings, use the Numista reference style and specify the name of the journal, volume, issue, and page:
- Author’s Name; year. “Article Title”. Journal Title, volume, issue, pages. https://doi.stable.link
- Sébastien Gasc; 2019. “Numismatics data about the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula”. Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies, volume 11, issue 3, pages 342-358. https://doi.org/10.1080/17546559.2019.1607973
Select tags that describe major devices depicted on the coin from the drop-down list. Do not add tags for minor devices.
Select tags that describe a commemorated subject, even if an image of the tagged topic does not appear on the coin explicitly:
If multiple tags apply to the same device, add all of them:
Enter links to other Numista coin or banknote pages to refer to:
Other coin types with identical designs, but different alloys, weights, dimensions, edges:
Other coin types with nearly identical designs, that can be easily confused:
The circulation type for trial strikes, off-metal strikes, piedforts, as well as vice-versa: the trials on the circulation type:
Prototype coins for imitations, but imitations should not be linked on the pages of their prototypes:
Base types for countermark or counterstamped coinage, but countermarked coins should not be listed on the page of their base type:
- Enter one link per line.
- Coins in a series or suites of coin should not be connected with links. The series field should be used instead.
Each distinct combination of date, mint, type of strike, and design variety should be recorded on a mintage line. The same date may appear on multiple lines, for each mint, design variety, and type of strike (proof, regular, etc).
- Select the calendar used for the date inscribed on the coin from the drop-down list.
- If the date appears both in a local and Julian or Gregorian calendar, select the local calendar. Numista will automatically calculate and display the Gregorian date next to it.
- Specify the year of minting in the selected calendar, if it is shown on the coin. Note that the year of minting may be different from the year the coin was released into circulation. The equivalent Gregorian or Julian date will be displayed automatically in brackets. All digits of the year should be entered, even if only the significant digits are present on the coin (for example, 1697 for 97).
Enter BC dates as negative values. They will be formatted automatically. Note that year 0 does not exist in the Julian calendar:
- for example, type “-27” for 27 BC
- type “-100” and “-1” for the 1st century BC (100-1 BC)
- type “1” and “100” for the 1st century AD (AD 1-100)
- type “1201” and “1250” for the first half of the 13th century AD (AD 1201-1250)
- type “1451” and “1500” for the second half of the 15th century AD (AD 1451-1500)
The year may appear as part of a date range on commemorative coins (1697-1997). If the end year in the date range does not correspond to the year of minting, then “no date” (ND) should be specified instead.
The regnal year may appear along with the accession year of a ruler, particularly on islamic coins. For these situations, only the year of minting should be specified in the local calendar. The regnal year in the local script should be specified in the comments field.
- 1225 AH for accession year 1223 AH and regnal year 3 (1223 + 3 - 1); only specify “year ٣” in the comments.
- For countermarked coins, record the year of the countermark, not the year of the host type. You may record the year of the host coin in the comments field.
- If the year is not shown on the coin, select “no date” (ND) and enter the year of issue in the two fields.
- If the year shown on the coin is different from the year(s) when it was minted, select “no date” (ND) and enter the actual year(s) of minting in the two fields.
- For coins with uncertain dates of issue, select “no date” (ND) and enter the date range in the two fields.
- If present on the coin, specify the mint letter or Unicode symbol matching one of the mint lines.
- If the mintmark is not a letter or Unicode symbol, describe it in the comments field of the mintage line.
- Do not use this field to record regnal years, mint official’s marks, or other pieces of information. Use the comments field instead.
Record further details specific to individual lines in the comments field:
Be as succinct as possible:
- 23 stars
- with 23 stars on reverse
- Do not record comments that apply to all the lines. Record these in the generic comments field instead.
Consecutive pieces of information are separated by a semicolon (“; “), and should appear in this sequence:
- CATALOG# code; date; mintmark / Officina / die letters; design variety; legend variety; other comment; type of strike
- KM# 15.2; year ٤; rooster mintmark; 22 stars; AVGVSTVS; 30 000 pieces melted; proof
- Do not record comments about individual coin specimens (grade, errors, etc.).
- Do not include subjective comments (ultra-rare, more valuable, etc.).