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I. R. Bama's Blog

19 Dec 2020

A.H.E.M.: An Epistomological Proposal for a Research Model for Numismatics

Coins | I. R. Bama

Epistemology is a branch of Philosophy that is concerned with how people acquire knowledge and go about learning an academic discipline. Every field of study has an articulated framework to conduct research, but to date I have seen no model of Numismatic research strategies presented. I am proposing the A.H.E.M. model of to fulfill this void and to formalize what we all already do to some degree or another when we research our coins. Many of you employ some or all of its elements in the research you do for your blogs.


It is important to have a model in order for an academic discipline to be taken seriously. It is a step towards being recognized by Academia as worthy of being taught at colleges and universities and the granting of degrees in this field. Someday I envision that Numismatics will become a major and a minor offered to students at our colleges and universities.


The model of systemized research strategy presented here was developed through knowledge acquired doing my own research, reading the research of my fellow numismatists here and in coin magazines that I have read. In my articles you will see the development of my thinking about this topic abstractly as I identified the foundational pillars that the discipline of academics rests upon. They are Art, History, Economics, and Metallurgy. from which the acronym AHEM is derived. I believe that every aspect of a coin can be described using this model. It allows us to fully explore each coin and present our knowledge in an organized and meaningful way. It is the who, what, when, where and why of our research.

Here is a description of the model:


A: A, or Art includes the research of art history, biographical studies of the artists, and engravers. We learn about the art itself, and its cultural influences. We learn about the artists and the struggles they had to bring their artistic expressions to fruition often from a three dimensional design to an object of art in two dimensions.


H: H or History is the context of the times in which a coin existed. Different coins often reflect the politics, daily lives, and cultural environment of the era that each coin existed in. It reveals political processes that underlie the birth and demise of a coin design along with the conflicts of the designers and principals of the mint,


E: E. or Economics is the study of financial or market forces of a particular era that made particular coins necessary to meet an economic need, or a contributing factor of why some coins ceased to exist. It helps explain along with history of a coin's acceptance or rejection by the people.


M: M or Metallurgy is the science behind our coins. It is based on physics and chemistry, the physical minting process and problems that arise in minting from the properties of metal and design. It is the domain where our studies of varieties and errors reside and the reasons they occur.
The power of this model, in my opinion is how all elements of the model intertwine with each other, yet offer unique aspects of gaining knowledge through the use of this framework to provide a comprehensive study of each coin.


I know this article is rather different than my typical offerings and those of others who contribute so much to make our blogs interesting and useful. As I stated earlier, I see many of these elements of my research model being used all the time, but I hope that the power of my model lies in its usefulness to others and helping to more fully explore the coins we write about, I also hope that it will be a help to Young Numismatists to develop a strategy to learn more about the coins they are interested in.

Comments

Mal_ANA_YN

Level 5

AHEM - I will have to remember this.

CentSearcher

Level 5

Very nice way to sum up all the different aspects of the coin. This will come in handy for me in the future, so thanks! Stay safe

Longstrider

Level 6

Great well though out blog. It is always best to have some kind of plan, even if you are doing it instinctively. I hope people will give this some thought. We all, mostly, are working with a plan in our heads. Unless one gets auction fever. Thanks.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

@Longstrider: To paraphrase Charlie.... Sometimes I resemble that remark. Lol

I would add society,: how the coin is perceived by the public, officials, and foreign countries/markets. I would like Numismatic degrees to be offered, but I don't think they will be. The closest we will have been offered are by the ANA. Correspondence courses, summer seminars, and technical courses, but I can definitely see classes on numismatics being offered.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

I think that would be covered under economics. I agree that such a degree probably will not be offered unless there is an organized demand for it. but it would be also met with stiff opposition from academics in history and art wanting to protect from encroachments on their fiefdoms

Stumpy

Level 5

I just saw a prime example of why such a course would be useful to the hobby. I was cruising the net, just looking at coins, there in Large, Bold type a "rare" coin for only $5,500.00. I though, this is Bovine Feces, called a friend while grabbing my Mega Red. It was not even worth $10.00. This type of behavior from fraudulent individuals does more to hurt the hobby than anything. People want to get into this hobby, don't do research, get taken by someone who's unethical and promptly leave the hobby, meanwhile bad mouthing this hobby and the people in it as frauds or worse. A proper learning course could go a long way to preventing actions such as this while reducing the heavy turnover of new people to the hobby.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

The ANA diploma program is a great start. I have completed 4/6 courses and they really prepare you to delve deeper..... I figure each one is worth 3 semester hours of credit. That is 18 semester hours. Throw in a course on research strategies, one on preservation, and two elective areas of study, along with liberal arts requirements and you have enough for a bachelor's in Numismatics. Hey a guy can dream, can't he? Lol

Golfer

Level 5

If Colleges had a course or courses on numismatics I would take the class. A H E M looks like a great model. So much to learn about. Numismatics knowledge is never ending. Good work.

TheNumisMaster

Level 5

I totally agree with all of the above! This is how ive gone about acquiring numismatic knowledge for a few years now. Thanks for sharing! Cheers, NM

Mike

Level 7

The search and history I do from books written by experts in there field. I also use Britannica. I pay 69.00 A year for research and history. The deeper I get into a blog was more than today. But it's all good and I and the blogs i learn from them. Some are from my college days. I do not put economic a into a blog . Why people start to think only of the coins value. A coin has more than value. It brings satisfation. Sometimes I hold a coin and go back to the day it was carved into a die. That's the model I use. I enjoy it . Thanks for the blog

I. R. Bama

Level 5

To clarify, I didn't mean economics in the sense of how much your coin is worth now. I meant it in the historical sense of how the economy of the time drove the need of the coin, it's utilitarian value and why it sometimes became obsolete.

Stumpy

Level 5

Very interesting, it also brings me back to the halls of Academia, not always a good thing since I found myself butting heads with the establishment in ways to further reach out to our targeted audience, our students. While I respect and somewhat agree with these lofty goals, one must remember that this hobby of ours is primarily composed of laymen. Many of our Brethren within the hallowed grounds of Numismatics are self professed blue collar and proud of it, this is not to mean that they aren't actually very organised and professional, as you have already pointed out. Again, as you so eloquently point out, it is simply a matter of harnessing their knowledge, experience, and passion for this hobby into shaping and designing a structure within the Academic community that will fulfill the goals you set forth without resulting in just one boring academic lecture after another, after all you pointed out what we all know instinctively, this hobby is Art, History, Metallurgy and certainly not least Passion. a lofty goal that many of us would be more than happy to approach with you. As my grandfather would say "Son, you gonna be busy! Nuff said".

slybluenote

Level 5

For a minute there, I thought you were "clearing your throat"... :-)) All joking aside, your model makes PERFECT sense to me! I'm not a well educated person, (I only have a associates degree in Web Technology), but I've been told that I have pretty good "common sense". I've known folks that have Phd and 10 other letters behind their name that couldn't as my mother would say "pour piss out of a boot with the directions wrote on the heel". On the hand, I've known folks with a 6th grade education that could draw blueprints and build a building from those blueprints. Are you going to write a thesis on this? I, for one, would be very interested in reading it! As usual, another great, thought provoking blog!

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