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MAT Code

MAT Code.  A schedule for arranging all medals and tokens – their types and topics – into one number system. A MAT Code is a 4-digit number which identifies a specific subject area in which medals or tokens are (or may be) collected, arranged organized or identified. MAT stands for medals and tokens.


The mat code numbering system is so broad a spectrum that any medal or token can be included; it requires four digits, with possible different numbers up to 10,000 (0000 thru 9999). At present about 350 of these topic areas have been identified and a number assigned. The system is open ended where new topics can be easily assigned in the future, perhaps without disturbing existing or assigned numbers (an ideal characteristic of a numbering system).

While the plan is based on topics and the types of all tokens and medals, it also includes geographical areas and somewhat when they were issued. Infrequently the scheme includes the maker (either the artist, mint or manufacturer often collected by numismatists as a topic); or a person portrayed on a large number of numismatic items (as Napoleon on so many French medals or Washington on American medals).

Identifying an individual specimen.  By attaching another number to the 4-digit Mat Code an individual specimen may be indicated. Existing catalog numbers – from standard catalogs! – may be appended to that MAT Code number to identify a specific individual item forming what is called a MAT ID number.

For example the MAT Code for German Goetz medals (by satirist Karl Goetz) is 3335. The Sinking of the Lusitania Medal is 156 in the standard work by Gunther Kienast. Thus the MAT ID number for this item is: 3335-156 (see illustration). Varieties and subvarieties can be indicated by decimals (as in this instance: .1 through .5).


Word List  #21  

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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