About the USNS

 

 

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The Unrecognised States Numismatic Society is the first and only group catering to numismatists whose collecting interests largely focus on coins minted by groups purporting, pretending or appearing to be sovereign states, but which are not recognised as such by established governments.

As well as fulfilling their basic fiscal function, coins have been used for several thousand years to advertise the legitimacy of the regimes that create them. Because they are seen as an important symbol of sovereign power, and because they are easily distributed, groups who aspire to, or who maintain pretensions to independence outside or in competition with established political structures - or who wish to promote some other agenda, be it commercial, cultural or social, frequently produce coins as useful tools of propaganda.

Unfortunately the lack of basic documentation on many of these releases has ensured that they have long been consigned to the periphery of the numismatic world, despite the fact that they remain a fascinating and fertile field of collecting interest. The USNS exists as a focal point for the collection and dissemination of data on obscure coins and banknotes of this nature, in the hope that its efforts might encourage a continuing interest in numismatics at a time when commercial over-exploitation is driving many collectors to abandon the hobby altogether.

The USNS came into being as a Yahoo Groups mailing list on 22 June, 2003. It was created by California-based collector and dealer Oded Paz, who in so doing brought together a small group of collectors with a shared in interest in the coins and banknotes issued by unrecognised groups and ephemeral states, who had become aware of each other over preceding months via the internet.

In publicly sharing their knowledge and expertise for the first time this core group quickly brought to light data on many dozens of coins from a significantly greater number of "unrecognised states" than any of the individual members had anticipated, and as a result a decision was taken in late 2004 to formally establish the USNS as a registered numismatic society.

Since early 2005 the USNS has been registered as a not-for-profit organisation in the US state of California, and is affiliated with the American Numismatic Association. It currently has over 30 financial members on three continents, and is engaged in a long-term project to create a comprehensive, fully-illustrated online catalogue of unrecognised states coins. Beginning in June 2005 the USNS will also contribute a monthly article on the subject of unrecognised and ephemeral states to Australian Coin & Banknote Magazine.

While the USNS does not presently issue a printed periodical or conduct scheduled meetings in the "real world", members are entitled to vote on the formative decisions of the Society - and in coming months access to our online reference and coin libraries - now freely available - will be available only to financial members.