The Currency Museum’s website has a new search engine to assist users in navigating through the more than 10,000 objects listed on the site. Currently the selection of artifacts largely consists of Canadian coins, tokens and paper money from the French Regime and the first settlements in Canada up to the current issues from the Bank of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mint.
How to use the search engine
The search page is set up with a variety of search methods:
- a keyword search in which you can enter any term;
- an advanced search where you select terms from drop down menus for more focused search results;
- a browsing feature called “Quick Pick” that allows you to view entire collections;
- a search by object ID.
1. Keyword Search
Keywords entered in the free cell searches the entire record to find a match. The more terms that are entered, the more results the search engine will return. Exact phrases using quotation marks (“”) will help to narrow the search. Searches are not case sensitive.
2. Advanced Search
In an advanced search you select terms from drop down menus. The advanced search allows for more focused returns. The fields can either be used individually, or in conjunction for exact searches.
Collection: This is a drop down menu containing the collections available for viewing on the Museum’s website. Terms in the Collection drop-down menu are:
- Coin: Coins, either made of precious or base metal, are issued by a ruler or government institution as the official currency of a country, a nation or area delimited by political boundaries, such as empires, principalities and city-states. The Coin collection is sub-divided into eras (ancient, medieval, modern, contemporary), then into metal fabric (either precious or base metal).
- Document: The Document collection houses all paper media related to money and banking that is not part of the Note collection. The Document collection contains material ranging from account ledgers, stationery, and banking ephemera, such as passbooks and receipts, to financial instruments that represent either a store of wealth, such as a bond, or a medium of exchange, such as cheques and drafts.
- Miscellaneous: The Miscellaneous collection is a sort of catch-all for objects in the National Currency Collection that may not have any monetary significance, but that support and elaborate on the broad concept of money. Items such as savings banks, cash registers, purses, jewellery, medallions, weights and scales can be found in the Miscellaneous collection.
- Note: Broadly speaking, the Note collection covers all reusable paper money used in commerce, and include bank notes, government issued notes, merchant scrip and any other privately issued currency. Other financial instruments made of paper, such as cheques, drafts, bonds and bills of exchange are found in the Document collection. The Note collection is sub-divided into classes, including government issued notes, commercial notes, military notes and non-monetary notes.
- Payment Card: Payment cards are instruments used in transactions not involving currency. They can be either a credit card, where funds are borrowed to purchase an item, a debit card, where funds are withdrawn directly from the cardholder’s account at the time of purchase, or a stored-value card, where funds or some alternative point system (such is the case with loyalty cards) are taken directly from the card. A variety of media, such as magnetic stripes and microchips, are used to access funds on a payment card.
- Token: Tokens are a form of money issued by private enterprises as an alternative to using currency and whose value is only guaranteed by the issuer. Tokens are made of a variety of more durable materials that generally have no intrinsic value. There are three classes of tokens in the National Currency Collection: 1. monetary tokens, which are privately issued tokens used as small change in times of a shortage of an official coinage; 2. semi-monetary tokens, which had no cash value, but were redeemable for goods and services; 3. non-monetary tokens, which were issued generally as advertising pieces or as souvenirs that were not at all redeemable.
Country: This drop-down menu includes all the countries from which an object in the National Currency Collection originates. The purpose of this search feature is to narrow the search results for larger collections, such as coins and notes. Countries that are absent in the drop-down menu signify that there are currently no objects available for viewing on the website.
Authority: Authority is a free cell in which the name of an issuing authority, being, for example, a ruler, a chartered bank, or a merchant, can be entered. The cell requires that the spelling be exact in order to find a specific issuer. A list of available authorities appears as you type in the authority, and the list shortens as more letters are entered. Fragments of a name can be entered to find an issuing authority if you’re not sure of the actual name of a person or company.
Subject: Subject is a free cell that encompasses the use of themes or numismatic terms related to any type of money. A list of available subjects appears as you type in a term, and the list shortens as you type in more letters. For example, entering the term “card money” in this field will yield all the pieces of card money on the Currency Museum website. The subject “monarchy” will result in all the pieces containing the effigy of either a king or queen on objects in any collection. If you’re looking for shinplasters, then simply type in the word “shinplaster” in the subject cell.
Year: This is a free cell in which a date range can be entered. The field searches for the late date only and cannot search by month and day, although the full date is displayed in the results. The late date is the latest date in a period of issue.
3. Quick Pick
Not sure what you’re looking for? Then you can use the browse features to see how the National Currency Collection is presented on the Currency Museum website. The series of icons represent the different collections. Clicking on an icon will show the Class within each collection, and clicking on the Class will further breakdown the holdings into another tier called Name. When clicking on a name, the user is presented with all the artifacts in that category, which can range from a few pieces to several thousand.
The browsing feature cannot be used in conjunction with the search feature.
Below is a breakdown of the categories for the different collections in the National Currency Collection
4. Search by object ID
Each artifact in the National Currency Collection has a unique object ID. The object ID includes the accession year (four digits), the accession number (up to four digits), the object number within that accession (up to five digits), and a component number if the object is made up of removable parts (up to three numbers). Enter the object ID in the free cell to go to a specific object. It is not necessary to enter the lead 0s in the object ID. (eg. 1985.0040.00005.000 = 1985.40.5)