Monday 20 February 2012

Numismatics: a dying hobby

. an online newspaper based in Karachi, Pakistan has an article that attracted my attention because of the questions it raises. It's a text (19th Feb 2011) called 'Numismatics: a dying hobby', by Khurram Jahangir Khan. He discusses what he calls "the dying hobby of numismatics, [...] the study or collection of currency. But it is widely perceived as the study of coin collection". He notes that it was once long ago popular (and then goes on to discuss, rather summarily, the various divisions in the hobby.
Being an extremely fun hobby, it is an excellent investment because every coin you collect, the price rises second by second and the knowledge you treasure is creditable. Moreover, it is a real co-curricular which provides you a space to breathe in and engage yourself in the world of curiosity. The matter of concern is that students and teachers have lost their interest in numismatics, which is a key reason for the decline of interest in the subject history [...] Engaging students in numismatics is quite fruitful in all scopes of life as it beats boredom, refines personality and induces sophistication. As a hobby, numismatics, like every other hobby, is a universe in its own.
Indeed, the part of it which involves the no-questions-asked hoarding of dugup ancient coins is indeed inhabited by folks who for the most part live in a world of their own, populated by benign coin fairies and coin elves and the Old Collectors of myth and legend, in which nasty looters and smugglers are just a figment of the imagination of "archaeobloggers"...

So, if fondling numismatics is indeed a dying hobby, what happens to the millions of pieces of archaeological evidence that were ripped out of the archaeological record to support the expansion of the business based on this short-term fad? where are all the bottles bottle diggers used to extract from Victorian dumps and privies, now the hobby is as retro as platform shoes?

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