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Dmitriy Litvak

Dmitriy Litvak. My motto is:
“I don’t take sides,
I take notes.”

I’m a collector for more than 30 years. I’m a Board Member of “IBNS”, and “BANKNOTER”. Also I’m an author of two books, more than two dozen publications in numismatic fieldand coauthor of catalog.

I’m an independent author and researcher. This presentation has not been sponsored, endorsed or approved by any enterprises in kind, technology manufacturers, or software developers. I have no vested interest in any individual or entity with them.


For many years the article “Advice to numismatic authors” by Scott Semans (“Scott Semans World Coins, 2004) encourages me. It was, and still is, a strong motivation for me.

These are some quotes from it:

A numbering system is a necessity, yet too many authors do it badly. Ideally a catalog number should be compact, easy to remember, present types and divisions, allow logical interpolation of later discoveries, and sort properly by computer. Yet no such ideal system exists; all are compromises

A second consideration in a numbering system is hierarchical ordering of Type, subtype, variety…

If you use many abbreviations or specialized jargon such that a novice user would have difficulty with the catalog, consider boosting visibility of this section through placement or graphics, or repeat it before each division of the catalog…

… An online catalog’s advantages include low cost and ease of update”.

Another article in kind: “The new system of classification of domestic paper money issues” by A. Alyamkin and A. Baranov, Moscow, 2007:

The problem of nonexistence of the universal catalog for paper money issues isn’t new. Since 1920s the heated debates on this topic are remaining. The problem is still, due to shortage of any purposeful and vigorous activity in this direction… Actually, this task, is more difficult, than it give the impression from a first sight. The prospective author has to be numismatic geek and be the classifier having the enormous practical experience in the collecting field. Also, it is necessary to have significant financial resources and, which is more important, to have unrestrained desire to “make happy” the whole numismatic society, by changing their mind… Perhaps, in the future, somebody will challenge this task, but at present time it isn’t possible. Anyway, as of now, it’s very important, that this idea will gain solid support among all interested parties… The core element of the catalog is the classification system (CS). Without CS any given catalog can be only another kind of a price-list. The CS is a catalog’s “skeleton”. In this case the analogy to a skeleton is very relevant: The building erected on the faulty foundation won’t stay long, but the skeleton, even without a certain parts, can be functional as long as necessary. In other words – “Let be bones and meat will accumulate”.

After my preliminary introduction of the “Esperanto-System©” to the IBNS board, in 2010, I received a very favorable response from the IBNS President: “Your project of creating a universal on-line catalogue for banknotes is admirable.” Inspired by such high-level support, for the benefit of all collectors, I vigorously continue working on creation of ES.


Catalogues are the most important tools to collectors. By using them, collectors can identify and value the subject of their hobby. By using them, as a common reference tool, their communication becomes easier and more precise.  However, the use of hard copies of printed catalogs becomes dubious.

In the vast majority of cases, these hard copies are massive and obsolete, without having managed “to be born”. In other words – they become obsolete virtually upon printing. They are not reflecting a real picture, both in pricing, and statistics, straggled from vague meanings, sometimes encounter “multi languages problem”, but always prejudiced, i.e. reflecting partisan opinion of their authors, unchanging from the time of writing, i.e. long before they were sent to print.

Well, we can’t blame those authors for presenting their product in such incomprehensible look. They follow the philosophy of designing catalogs created more than half century ago.

As per publishers of those catalogs: most of them using their own numbering systems, which are matchless, but all of them struggled from the printing process which is time consuming and expensive. As a result, it is difficult to produce new updates in a timely, cost effective manner.

As per users of those catalogs: all of them are struggling, because they arenot receiving technologically advance and unbiased information in a timely manner, and as a result, holding them as “hostages” of 20th century.