Department of Coins and Medals

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  • Gold mancus of Coenwulf, Kingdom of Mercia, England
AD 796-821
  • Home-made red money envelopes, Malaya, AD 1950s

The Department of Coins and Medals is home to one of the world's finest numismatic collections, comprising about one million objects. The collection spans the history of coinage from its origins in the seventh century BC to the present day, and related material such as coin weights, tokens and money boxes.

The department also holds the national collection of paper money, ranging from one of the earliest fourteenth century Chinese banknotes to the euro, as well as a magnificent selection of commemorative and art medals from the Italian Renaissance to the present.

The most extensive numismatic library in the country is also housed within the department and, like the collection itself, exists for the benefit of the scholar and general public alike. This material is brought to a wide audience through exhibitions, publications, a broad programme of educational events and through our study room facilities.

Temporary exhibitions are mounted by the department on a range of themes, featuring different parts of the collection. The department's most recent gallery, the Money Gallery, chronicles the development and use of money throughout the world.

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