The Mother Of All Country Lists

A gazetteer of all places that have made coins

...a work in progress...

My name is Dinny, and I'm a numismaholic. I know what it's like to have black fingers from hours of rummaging through junk boxes in search of obscure geographical treasures. After several decades of collecting coins from as many places as possible, I've accepted the reality that I'll never achieve the elusive goal of acquiring a coin from every country. There are just too many, and some are quite rare and expensive. But to help others try for that goal, I'm compiling a comprehensive gazetteer, or geographical dictionary, of every known coin-issuing entity since the dawn of time, including all spelling variations found on the coins, on published maps, or in the numismatic literature. This project was born from frustration with the inadequacy of geographic indexes and maps in the existing coin catalogs.

The names in the Mother of all Country Lists are in the standard Latin (ASCII) alphabet, without accent marks. They are derived mainly from catalogs, atlases, and the coins themselves. An additional resource available this year is the hefty checklist compiled by Paul Nichols, moderator of the EveryCountry collectors group. Paul and his "ambitious collectors checklist" are featured in a photo on the cover of the June 2008 issue of World Coin News. His list is arranged sensibly, with all German states clustered together, for example. Mine is purely alphabetical, with Culiacan mint of Mexico followed immediately by Culion Island leper colony in the Philippines. In this sense, the list is like the vast geological library of the late Elwood Atherton, where all the books were arranged by size and color.

The word country is used loosely in the MOACL. It refers to any geographically defined entity by whom or for whom a coin was issued. These include abbeys, archbishoprics, archduchies, archipelagos, bailiwicks, baronies, bishoprics, burgraviates, caliphates, cantons, capitancies, chiefdoms, city-states, colonies, commonwealths, condominiums, confederacies, confederations, counties, countships, departments, dependencies, despotates, districts, dominions, duchies, earldoms, electorates, emirates, empires, federations, feudal states, feudatories, fiefdoms, free cities, free states, grand duchies, imamates, insurgencies, judgeships, khanates, kingdoms, landgraviates, leagues, lordships, mandates, marches, margraviates, marquisiates, mints, monetary unions, nunneries, orders, overlordships, overseas territories, palatinates, patrimonies, prefectures, principalities, priories, protectorates, provinces, provisional governments, provostries, regencies, republics, shogunates, states, sultanates, territories, tribal areas, tributaries, unions, vassals and viceroyalties. The most widely used spelling of each place name is followed by 3 fields (What, Where, When) providing geographic and historic information for that place. Alternative spellings are listed with a parenthetical reference to the primary one.

Now, some purists may argue that Everlasting Peace and Happiness isn't really the name of a country. True, but for the sake of those to whom it is not intuitively obvious that Everlasting Peace and Happiness means London, the alternate spellings include some legends and mottos that can help with identification if they are unique to a specific location. This applies only to coins, not to non-circulating metal ornaments such as those manufactured by the Republic of the Marshall Islands (which has yet to issue a coin, as far as I know). Elvis stays off this list until he's found in grade G-4!

This site offers text information only. It has no photos, no coins for sale, nor any offers to buy coins. Accuracy is not guaranteed, but it's public and free.

"Yo, Elwood, may I borrow a large, red book?" - Scott "The Fearsome Galoot" Olt, 1994

The Mother of all Country Lists

Additions or corrections on A-E may be sent to Paul Terpstra.

Updated 04 July 2008