The E-Sylum:  Volume 6, Number 3, January 19, 2003, Article 14


  Paul Withers writes: "Those who had not heard of the term
  'paranumismatica' may like to read the following, taken from
  "Alphabetical Classification f World Paranumismatica" by
  Brian Edge which was written in 1977 and published by the
  Token Corresponding Society - but read on and you will
  discover more - even who 'coined the phrase' !

  The very first problem encountered at the beginning of this
  study was to find a blanket term, which could be adopted to
  cover the many coin like objects, which for many years have
  been loosely known as tokens.  Numismatic Miscellanea,
  and Numismatic Oddments were terms in fairly frequent use
  and other collectors referred to these objects as Peripheral
  Numismatics, Manablins, or just plain '0 & S" (Odds and
  Sundries). In the United States many such items are known
  as Exonumia. In view of all this, it was clear that it would be
  necessary to coin a new word to describe this subsection of
  numismatics and when, after considerable thought had been
  given to the matter, TCS activist David Sealy mentioned a
  word that he had invented there was little point in searching
  further. The word was PARANUMISMATICA.

  The ultimate object of this work is to produce a classification,
  wherever possible under generic headings, of all items which
  come within the bounds of world PARANUMISMATICA.
  The term PARANUMISMATICA is to be interpreted as
  any coin-like object, which is not in fact a coin.  It may be
  produced in metal, plastic, wood, etc , normally unofficial,
  bearing an inscription, either with, or without a value. It is
  acknowledged that many paper tokens exist, but, as they
  are not coin-like objects, they have been disregarded.

  It soon became apparent that different collectors used a
  variety of terms to describe precisely the same thing. In
  general, most of the terms were applied loosely, and
  without any reasoning. The result of the practice was
  considerable confusion and some items emerged with as
  many as four different terms.  For example the "To Hanover
  Counters" were also known as "To Hanover Medalets",
  "To Hanover Tokens" and "Cumberland Jacks"!  This
  problem occurred in so many cases that it became
  abundantly clear that some form of standardisation was
  necessary.  In order to achieve this, all members of the
  for their ideas in an effort to attain some form of agreement
  about the application of the various terms.

  From the resultant correspondence it was clear that there
  would always be a few pieces which would never conform
  to complete standardisation. A good example of this is the
  Italian Telephone Token which bears the inscription "Gettone"
  but which is not, in any way, a Jeton in the accepted sense
  of the word.  Allowing for such examples, the following list
  of paranumismatic terms, which were generally accepted,
  how proved to be applicable to virtually all PARANUMISMATICA.

  Previous efforts to produce such a work as this by others
  to have been tackled without the necessary enthusiasm
  required for the task, and the results haw been a hotchpotch
  of listings. One of the main weaknesses has been hosts of
  entries such as "Australian tokens", "Canadian tokens",
  "Foreign tokens" and so on. These are, as I am sure you will
  agree, very wide issues. Certainly, many of the entries in this
  classification will have their origins in many different parts of
  the world. If one takes the entry "Merchants and Store
  Trading and Discount tokens" under SHOPS AND STORES
  it will be realised that items will still come under this category,
  whether they emanate from Australia, the U.S.A. or from
  long suffering Ramsbottom! It is not necessary particularly
  to distinguish one from the other as a separate entry in the
  classification.  The collector may decide to sort his tokens
  from this particular category into, say, alphabetical order of
  country of issue, then subdivide these into counties, towns or
  cities within that country and then into particular trades or
  businesses completely ad libatum. You will see, therefore,
  that only one entry is actually required in the classification to
  cover the lot.

  We have certainly gone far since the first humble list appeared
  in T.C.S Bulletin Volume 2 No. 1 in November 1973, which
  was soon followed by No. 4 of that same Volume, in MAY/
  JUNE 1974, with a piece entitled PARANUMISMATIC
  REFERENCES.  However, in spite of the obvious progress
  that we have made, the listings are far from complete. There
  must still be hundreds of missing entries and doubtless some
  of these that are entered already are incorrectly positioned.
  However, the exercise is falling into a general pattern, which
  has for its skeleton about 42 generic headings so far. The
  very fact that the author has been puzzling, sorting and
  resorting for almost four years, has lead him to the conclusion
  that it may well be a case now of not being able to see the
  wood for trees! He, therefore, earnestly solicits from members
  their constructive criticism of the work so far together with
  additional entries with a view to the classification eventually
  becoming the most detailed in existence."

  Brian, as some token-interested readers may know, went on
  to write "The First Dictionary of Paranumismatica.  All about
  Tokens, Checks, Medalets Counters, Tallies and Weights."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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