The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a subsidiary historical discipline, usually considered a branch of numismatics, that studies the history of orders, medals, and decorations. In a broad sense, exonumismatics refers to the collecting of lapel pins and medals, as well as various buttons, usually souvenir, anniversary, or memorial buttons and badges. Less often, it involves the collecting of buttons or badges associated with a place of work or used as a sign of membership, as well as lapel buttons and other insignia.

Exonumismatics became popular in the first half of the 20th century and has been popular in the USSR since the late 1950’s. Its rise is linked to the expansion of international relations, the development of tourism, and the mass production of various souvenir, memorial, and other pins by both state and local enterprises, as well as by private companies in the capitalist countries. The USSR produces about 1,500 different pins annually. Collections are usually organized by theme and are devoted to such areas as heraldry, portraiture, history, sports, transportation, and architecture. Unlike philately, deltiology, and record collecting, exonumismatics is not based on a strict system, since it does not lend itself to international or national cataloging. In the USSR, information on exonumismatics is published in the collection Sovetskii kollektsioner (Soviet Collector) and in the bulletin Filateliia SSSR (Philately in the USSR).


IPinskii, V. N. Znachkii i kh kollektsionirovanie. Moscow, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.