Coins...They are one of the ancient sources that gives us information about history, culture, religion and many other things of a civilization. What was the regime ? Who was the king ? What were their religion ? What did they produce ? You can learn all those informations from a coin. That's why to find a coin in an archaeological site is really important.
Collecting coins is one of the oldest hobbies in the world. According to some sources say that it's the hobby of the kings. Personally i didn't collect coins since 2016. I was just keeping the coins of countries that i've visited but not as a collection.
A few years ago i found a big plastic box at home which was full of coins. Then i remembered that when i was a child i was playing with those coins. Also i remembered that when i was 10 years old, my father and i went to Beyazıt to buy and complete the missing Turkish coins. After then the big plastic box disappeared for a long time.
When i opened the box, i saw Turkish, Greek, Bulgarian, French, Italian, Romanian, German, Ottoman coins inside. As i've checked most of those coins were from the roadtrip ( Roadtrip to Europe - 1950s ) of my ancestors and the others were from the collections of different family members.
I was really excited when i saw the Nazi and Ottoman coins. I thought that i have a treasure in my hands, it feels like i was in a time machine. Therefore i decided to continue the collection. But it's an endless hobby, you can't have them all, even you have it's hard to keep them.
So i decided to collect the coins of Turkey, Italy, Greece because of my roots and also German and Russian coins as i believe those are really unique and gives information about the history that i interested in. Firstly i've separated the coins in the box by country and year. By time i've learnt that there are special coin holders, albums. Of course as a collection addict i've bought them all.
When we decided to create this e-museum, we thought that it would be a good idea to show coins from collection and create a 'Coin Chronology' to give information about the period that our family members lived in. By 'Coin Chronology' we can see what was happening in the countries around while our ancestors in Istanbul. As mentioned on 2mi3museum, the story of Vafiadis family started in Chios and we know the details until 1850s. Also Koulurgioti, Koskeri and Cakiroglu families lived in Istanbul over a hundred years. That means they've also lived in Ottoman Empire in the reign of Mahmud II, Abdülmecid I, Abdülaziz, Murad V, Abdülhamid II, Mehmed V, Mehmed VI.
There were coins from the period of Mehmed V in the plastic box that we've found and most probably they belonged to Ashen, our Armenian grandmother. On right you can see one of those coins from the reign of Mehmed V. We can understand the reign from the tughra of the Sultan. Each Sultan had different tughras as a signature. The coins of previous sultans have been added to our collection later. In Turkey, we are allowed to collect the coins of last six sultans. Older coins are kept in museums and they are historical artifacts.
Mehmed V. ( Reshad ) was the 35th Ottoman Sultan and his reign began in 1909 till 1918. As Ashen was born in 1900 she remembered his reign, and also as my father told me she remembered the reign of Abdulhamid II.
Except Ottoman and Turkish coins, there were a lot of Greek coins in the box. Greek coins are really attractive as you can see mythological symbols on them. Also you can see easily the periods that Greece survived in history by their coins. From kingdom to democracy, then dictatorship and kingdom, and finally from 'Regime of Colonels' back to democracy.
On left you see a Greek coin from 1960 and it was from the period of Paul I. On reverse, a beautiful figure of Selene - the goddess of moon - has been trimmed on. As Selene is the goddess of moon, she drives her moon chariot across the heavens, like her brother Helios the sun god. As information on Wikipedia, in post-Renaissance art, Selene is generally depicted as a beautiful woman with a pale face and long, lustrous black hair, driving a silver chariot pulled either by a yoke of oxen or a pair of horses.
Not only Selene, but you can find a lot figures from mythology on Greek coins such as Athena, the owl of Athena, Pegasus, Demeter...etc.
On right you see another example of a Greek coin with ' Owl of Athena' on it. This coin belongs to 1912 from the period of George I. The engraver of this coin is Charles Pillet, a French sculptor, engraver. The owl figure also has been used on ancient Greek coins.
As this owl accompanies Athena, it has always been used as a symbol of knowledge, wisdom.
The figures on Greek coins are really attractive for those who loves Greek Mythology.
German coins are also important for a collector. As mentioned above, there were some German coins in the found box and they belonged to 1950s. But there was only one coin which was too small. I was surprised when i checked it cause i saw the swastika and the eagle on. It was a coin from Nazi period. I didn't know if those ones are rare or valuable. After i learnt that they are easy to find, but this Nazi coin was too precious for me. As mentioned on 'People to Remember' section, our Italian ancestor Vincentzo Sanzoni survived in WWII, maybe this coin belonged to him, not sure.
On left you see the coin that found in the box. It belongs to 1942, and you can see the eagle and swastika clearly on it. After that, i started to collect the coins of Nazi period. I found some in Kadıköy, in flea market. One day, i went to Munich and as i heard that Munich is the Mecca of coin collectors. The rumours that i've heard was true, cause i found many local shops that sell coins for collectors.
I've never been in a shop like this before and i was searching for coins around until the seller asked me what do i want. I said him that i wanted to see the coins but he asked me what kind of coins, which country, year, value, mint. I was shocked, cause as i've said before i was an amateur collector and didn't know the terminology. Anyway, i said to him that i'm from Turkey and we don't have such shops. We search for the coins in big boxes at flea markets, by touching and checking them one by one. The seller laughed cause he heard such a thing for the first time in his life. Then i told him, i'm looking for German coins from Nazi period, and he put plenty of coins in front of me.
On right you see the coin that i bought from this local shop in Munich. It belongs to 1937 and under '10' you will see a 'D' letter which shows us the place of mint. 'D' means Munich, it's not a rare coin as in 1937, 6.882.000 10 Reichspfennig coins have been minted. If it was a 1936 G, then it was very rare cause only 129.000 coins minted at that year. Anyway, it was a good experience to buy a coin from Munich as i've learnt the details of coin collection.
The main idea in my coin collection is to have Greek, Italian and Turkish coins, and i mainly focus on them. But as mentioned before, German and Russian coins are important as both countries have an important history for the world. For example, those two countires were the main key players in WWII. Even Turkey wasn't in war, many people - and our ancestors - have been effected because of WWII.
You can find plenty of Russian coins with Lenin on it and with a design in the memory of WWII and October Revolution. They are really good to have in a coin collection. As Russia is a big country and has an important history, there are many different coins. From Russian Empire to USSR and today. But there are some special coins from Russian Empire that known as wire coins. They are coins that made from silver wires with a design of Tsar on it. Let me introduce you those coins, and tell the story how i had them in my collection.
One of the best points to be a collector is socializing. You can meet with people all over the world who interest in same hobbies. As we are in an age of internet it's easier to reach those people. When i started to extend the collection of my family, i found some platforms on internet. One of those platforms was Numista. It's a huge catalogue of world coins which you can select and mark your collection. Also you can exchange coins with people. One day a Russian lady sent me a message and told me that she wanted to exchange coins with me during her Istanbul visit. When i met with her, she gave me a full bag of coins even i gave her only ten coins. I was embarrassed a little bit but she told that it's OK.
When i was on my way to home i checked the bag and saw some coins which are formless and there are some figures and words on them. To be honest i was a little bit afraid, cause i thought i was carrying historical artifacts. The worst thing, those days there were a lot of police control in Istanbul and they were checking the bags. I was worried cause i didn't know how to explain if they find those coins. Anyway, as soon as i arrived my home i searched those coins. They were really historical, from 1598 belongs to period of Fyodor I Ivanovich. But they were not artifacts as there were a lot of wire coins in Russia and very easy to find. Wire coins have been minted firstly in 14th century and was the official currency until 1718.
There are also non-circulating coins that minted in each country, which are limited and for collectors. You can find nickel, silver, bronze or gold versions. They provide very useful information with the designs on them. For example the coin on left minted in the memory of 27th May 1960 military coup in Turkey.
It's hard to limit the coin collection with countries if you love this hobby. Today i ask my friends to bring me coins from the countries that they visit, some times buy from flea markets and keep them separately for the future. But of course to focus on some specific coins teaches you more details as this is a huge world and impossible to collect all and know details of each one.
To be a collector is perfect if you have someone in the future to continue and extend your collection and of course if you display and share with other people. That's what we try to do in our e-museum and hope we will continue as long as we can.
* You can visit the Coins Collection of 2mi3museum from here.
Written by : 2mi3, October 2018