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The E-Sylum:  Volume 3, Number 18, April 30, 2000, Article 5

NUMISMATIC RETRONYMS 

   Dan Demeo writes: "The obvious retronym dealing with 
   numismatics is "ancient numismatics", since much of the early 
   study was on ancient coinage, whereas ancient numismatics is 
   only a fraction of the field today. Perhaps a better term is 
   "classical numismatics". 

   Similarly, all the serious sciences are -ologies, and their 
   practitioners are -ologists.  There is a perfectly good word for 
   the science of numismatics, numismatology, with the scientist 
   being a numismatologist.  Does anyone know why/when these 
   words fell into disuse?   I, for one, would like to again use them, 
   in this case to handle an area where retronyms have failed to 
   keep pace with rapid changes in numismatics. 

   As our life becomes more complex through new technology, a 
   rise in the number of retronyms is perhaps inevitable.  Looking 
   back only a few years, many growing up today would be 
   surprised that the Watergate files were not on a computer, but 
   in file drawers or boxes. 

   Should the term photograph or photo be reserved for things 
   which are photographed, with a camera and film?  Or are coin 
   images created by scanning a coin with a scanner acceptably 
   called photos?   How about digital cameras with CCD arrays 
   and no film?  I can see the term "photographic photo" coming 
   into use to distinguish from a digital photo. 

   I also recently had an e-mail discussion with Fred Lake about 
   whether or not I needed a hard copy (like paper, not stone 
   tablets) of his next catalog, or if an electronic (soft?) copy was 
   sufficient." 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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