Coins are a unique source in the study of the history of the ideology, religion, and political thought of a society. Numismatic materials are important in analyzing the economic history of a society, because they can be used to trace the ebb and flow of coinage, a change in the weight system, and the introduction of different metals into circulation.

As articles of artistic craft, coins are a source for studying the history of both technology and art. In some cases, coins are masterpieces of graphic art. The inscriptions on coins are important in paleography. Coins discovered during archaeological excavations are important for use in dating various remains.