The US Mint and The National Smithsonian Museum of American History have announced that they are working together on an ambitious project to bring the history of US coins and their creation to the American public.

"The study of coins and currency provides a window into American identity and what it means to be an American." Dr Brent Glass, director of the museum said.

The collection actually includes items from all kinds of places and times. Although the clear focus is on American coins, it is in general one of the greatest collections of its kinds in the world, and should be of interest to any currency collector.

The idea is still at a relatively early stage, as you might expect given the scale such an exhibition will have to be on. The plan is to tour a series of museums all over America in two to three years, and display the exhibition in spaces of 2,500 square feet or so.

Between them, the institutions have an amazing total of 1.6 million coins, medals, tokens and banknotes to be presented, not to mention the technology involved in their creation, all the way up to the state of the art innovations such as digital engraving.

Mint and Museum intend to show all of these, but are aware that the possibility of swamping the viewer and leaving them tired and baffled would be a real danger. Therefore they will include plenty of lively, interactive exhibits, to make the materials more accessible.

This is a natural time to be investigating the world of numismatics, as they are durable, tangible investments which are not vulnerable to stock market trends. Gold coins are especially popular at the moment.

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