Only a few days after the passing of James Cotton, one of the country's greatest blues harmonica players, we lost one of our greatest...
Phyllis Diller is widely considered the first female stand-up comic to perform as a solo act. While she is mainly known for her career in...
We asked Eric Jentsch, deputy chair and curator in our Division of Culture and the Arts, for his NCAA bracket picks. Then he disappeared...

Blog Posts in "Numismatics"

A coin with two bearded men on it along with text and a small cross
I have never seen my father's chin. The man has worn a beard since well before I was born, and my brother quickly followed in his tradition...
Three gold coins on a black surface. The are bright and shiny. Two are heads up showing a woman wearing a crown with stars ringing the border of the coin and "1959." One is the same with "1960" as the year listed. The third coin is tails-up and says "Nation of Celestial Space 1 Gold Celestron" with some laurel leaves
Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered, "Who owns all of that?" Well, that's exactly what James Thomas Mangan did. He even...
I'm a native New Englander. Sometimes I feel like I've been to Boston more times than Samuel Adams. When one grows up in New England, it is...
A silver coin with a woman's likeness on the front. Reads "Liberty" at the top and "1979"
Recently there has been a significant debate about how and where to feature a woman on United States currency. In April 2016, Secretary of...
Detail of: "One Hundred Trillion Dollars" bank note from "Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe." It is blue, turquoise, and tan in color. The central image appears to be a mountain or rock outcropping made of three large stones. Palm trees and other vegetation appears tiny at its base. Geometric patterns are included in the bill, mostly triangles.
When my friend Trish got her first paycheck from her part-time job in high school, it was for $50,000. "It was enough to buy a pair of...
Detail of: Bill with dark gray and blue and portrait of man set in oval
When we joined the museum's National Numismatic Collection team this summer to rehouse a collection of international banknotes, we expected...
A sculpture made from one dollar bill(s). It is complex with interwoven triangles that give it a spiked sort of appearance.
Money is often defined as a medium of exchange, but to some artists money is simply a medium—or set of materials—that they can use to...
A small, black, rectangular plastic device that looks like it could rest in the palm of a hand. In light grey text, it says "iBill" and "RBIT" on the top.
As the curator of the National Numismatic Collection (NNC), I collect objects that reflect innovation in money today in order to preserve...
Image of coin with figure wearing crown
Rule by women was less common, but not unheard of in the Byzantine Empire—or in the ancient world for that matter! As such, ancient coins...
Close up image of part of a bill. Image of woman weaving.
"How often, when man abandons the helm in despair, woman seizes it, and carries the home-ship through the storm! Man often flies from home...
Photo of gold coin on black background. Woman's face in profile, facing left. On her head, a crown. High collar around her neck. Prominent forehead.
In June 2015 Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew announced that the 10 dollar note will be redesigned to feature a historic woman, marking...
Gold coin with eye in center
In May 1848, a boisterous man named Sam Brannan charged down a San Francisco street, hollering, "Gold! Gold! Gold on the American River!"...
Coin with "1939" and "New York World's Fair" on it
As an intern in the National Numismatic Collection, Scott St. Louis has been working on a cataloging project for a collection of coins and...
Photo of coin with swirly-bodied dragon thing in center
Ever wonder what it feels like to discover an object not seen for over 1,000 years? Ever been curious about the ancient world? Beginning...
Happy money, front and back
When considering the origins of objects in a museum’s collection, one might initially think of donations from private collectors, national...
Installation of the vault door
Ellen Feingold is the curator of the National Numismatic Collection and The Value of Money. She explains why visitors will enter...
Campaign badge with a photo of Grant and gold-colored frame
As an intern in the National Numismatic Collection, Chelsea Hansen has been working with General Ulysses S. Grant's collection of...
Six different Square readers, white
As new monetary technologies emerge, how are they changing the way individuals and small businesses make transactions? Collections Manager...
Educator Victoria Altman introduces a new book-based summer activity to share with youngsters, especially budding entrepreneurs.Most...
A woman in a yellow sweater prepares a document for digitization
Have you ever seen a box full of money—well, not exactly, money, but certified plate proofs? What about stacks of boxes? Stacks on stacks?...
A brooch made of dimes
Don't forget to pick up a token of your affection for your valentine this year. Robyn Einhorn, a specialist in the museum's National...
Soon after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, the president was memorialized in many ways, including through...
This Veterans Day weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Women's Memorial. Curator Karen Lee spoke...
We recently lost numismatics curator Richard Doty. His colleague curator Karen Lee shares why he will not be forgotten. My mentor...
Curator’s Note: Jennica Rzepka added three hundred images of Double Eagles (20 dollar gold coins) into the National Numismatic...
Obverse and reverse of1913 V-Nickel What makes numismatists (coin collectors) fascinating are the historic tidbits that each collector...
Editor’s note: This is the last of a nine-part series that follows the European tour of one of the Smithsonian’s most treasured coins, the...
Editor’s note: This is the eighth of a nine-part series that follows the European tour of one of the Smithsonian’s most treasured coins,...
Editor’s note: This is the seventh of a nine-part series that follows the European tour of one of the Smithsonian’s most treasured coins,...
Editor’s note: This is the sixth of a nine-part series that follows the European tour of one of the Smithsonian’s most...
Editor’s note: This is the fifth of a nine-part series that follows the European tour of one of the Smithsonian’s most treasured coins,...
Editor’s note: This is the fourth of a nine-part series that follows the European tour of one of the Smithsonian’s most treasured coins,...
Editor’s note: This is the third of a nine-part series that follows the European tour of one of the Smithsonian’s most treasured coins, the...
Editor’s note: This is the second of a nine-part series that follows the European tour of one of the Smithsonian’s most treasured coins,...
Editor's note: This is the first of a nine-part series that follows the European tour of one of the Smithsonian's most treasured...