Latest Review

The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 20, May 14, 2017, Article 5

Alan Luedeking submitted this review of Gary Beals'; new book, El Numiscadero. Thanks! -Editor
Book Review: El Numiscadero by Gary Beals
Beals, Gary; El Numiscadero – English to Spanish – Spanish to English Numismatic Dictionary,
(Privately printed), Segovia, Spain, and San Diego, CA, 2016, (4), 354 (1) pp., illustr.
ISBN 978-0- 86549-950- 8.


This magnificent, richly illustrated octavo- sized work is the vastly expanded second edition of Gary Beals’ first efforts in this direction, his Numismatic Terms of Spain and Spanish America, first published in early
1966. The dictionary presents a significant compendium of the language of numismatics in both English and Spanish,and is a must for anybody who collects, deals in or researches the coins of Latin America or Spain. A
detailed foreword and introduction describe how to use the book.

El Numiscadero also contains several useful lists that have an impact on numismatics, such as on the monarchs of Great Britain and Spain, Roman emperors, popes, Spanish mint officials and their functions, coin and medal shapes, numismatic associations and other topics. Hundreds of words are defined, in alphabetical order of course, including many commonly used abbreviations and slang terms. It is a highly useful work, both for the scholarly researcher and translator as well as for the casual collector who might ask “qué es un slab?” I have been using it extensively for my latest project, which is a translation of Jorge Proctor’s lengthy treatise on the billon coinage of colonial Spanish America, soon to be published in the NI Bulletin. You will of course find terms such as “vellón rico” (billon with a higher silver content, but still under 10%) and other seemingly more mundane terms such as “cuño” which, however, are possessed of great subtlety in that their meaning depends entirely upon context. Cuño in Spanish can mean a coining die (troquel) or an anvil die set in a stump with its matching hammer die (a pile) or even an entire mint!

Now, as with any work of this nature, it is necessarily never entirely complete, and Mr. Beals
encourages readers to send in terms or additional definitions that he might have overlooked. Also, if
I have to quibble and find fault with something in order to make this a balanced review, the only
things I might point out are that the font is a touch too small (for my old eyes), the illustrations are 2
not of very high resolution and the heavy card covers with flaps in a perfect binding may be a trifle
fragile for an oft-consulted book. Nevertheless, this allows the book to stay octavo-sized and be
carried easily, store on any shelf and not break the bank when you buy it, which I believe you should
do at your earliest opportunity, as only 1,000 copies were printed.

Cost is $25 plus $3 shipping within USA; send Gary a check at address below. Books will be
shipped from San Diego, CA. For purchasers in Europe, the books will be shipped from Segovia,
Spain. Gary adds the following important note: “PayPal does not work internationally since I am in
Spain and my CitiBank is in USA.” Instead, for European buyers, contact him and he will supply
Bankia transfer information for payment.


Contact Gary at:
Gary Beals, Director
Fortaleza Experiencias Medievales
Calle Roble 10B 1 E
Segovia 40002
tel: +34-921- 413138 +34-628- 506400


To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


The only book that comes with a free goblet of fine Spanish wine

or a hot cup of bracing espresso coffee 

When you come to Spain plan on visiting the Royal Mint in Segovia built in 1583 under orders of King Felipe II. This pet project of his is now a fully restored granite complex with a growing numismatic museum inside.  We can enjoy a drink there or in the shadow of the Roman aqueduct in the center of the small city.


The Madrid Mint Museum in the heart of the national capital city just an hour away from Segovia is well worth seeing too.


Every Sunday in Madrid’s Plaza Major there is a coin and small antiques flea market with dealers large and small.

© 2017 El Numiscadero Gary Beals

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