Yossi Dotan submitted this response to my question about the term "Numisnautist" for a collector of maritime-themed coins. Thank you!
In the preface to each of the three volumes of my book Watercraft on World Coins I acknowledged persons who led me to specialize in
"ship coins", and among them "the late Herr Wolf Mueller-Reichau, who presented so many interesting facts about ship coins in his
quarterly Flaschenpost (Bottle Mail), his book Naves in Nummis and other publications, and who coined the term
"numisnautics." Mueller-Reichau died in January 1997 at the age of almost 80.
As told by my friend Werner Kahle of Hamburg in his 2012 monograph Geschichte der AG Numisnautik (History of the Work Group Numisnautics),
"In the spring of 1971 there was a meeting at the home of the Mueller-Reichaus. The collectors Mueller-Reichau, Burkhardt and Kahle met to
exchange ideas [about publications for collectors of "ship coins"]. For Klaus Burkhardt the emphasis was on obtaining and publishing good
quality images, Mueller-Reichau wanted to write the texts pertaining to the images, and Werner Kahle was more interested in preparing a data base for
coins and medals and their history. During this conversation they also sought a name for the new collecting theme. After discussing a few proposals,
they agreed on the term NUMISNAUTIK [Numisnautics] which is easy to understand. A new word was born, composed of the terms "Numismatics"
Then, in June 1971, Burkhardt in cooperation with Mueller-Reichau published the Ship Motif Collector No. 1 (one page, in A4 [8.3 x 11.7 in]
format). Already a month thereafter, in July 1971, No. 2 was published, also one page A4). With a different title, from now on Flaschenpost
(Bottle Mail), the term "numisnautics" was also mentioned in the heading, and at the same time the Work Group Numisnautik was founded. This
Work Group was and is an association that is not a legal entity, which basically was composed of only one person, the "leader" or publisher
of the Flaschenpost."
The 100th and last edition of Flaschenpost was published by Mueller-Reichau in 1993. Altogether it contained 973 pages, mostly written by
Mueller-Reichau. There were readers in 15 European countries, 5 states in the U.S. as well as numisnautists in Canada, Israel, Malaysia, Hong Kong
and South Africa.
When Mueller-Reichau stopped the publication, four collectors in Hamburg, Messrs. Fink, Kuhlmann, Wendisch and Kahle, continued as the editors of
a new, semi-annual, publication, now named Numisnautik, with Nr. 1 published in the autumn of 1993. As the editors became older, this
publication had to be stopped in 2011, with No. 36 as the last issue of .
In the English version of Google, the word numisnautics is found 357 times, and numisnautist just once. In the German version of Google, the
results are 5,610 and 1, respectively. Apparently there are more German-speaking numisnautists than English-speaking ones.
If there are any numisnautists among the readers of The E-Sylum, I shall be glad to hear from them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I did not know about the existence of Flaschenpost until 1981. Then I became a subscriber, from the eight-page issue No. 50 onwards. I read
the first 49 issues in the library of the American Numismatic Society in New York.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JUNE 2, 2019 : Vocabulary Term: Numisnautist
Wayne Homren, Editor
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