While visiting Oxford in 2007 with Douglas Saville, we were unable to see the Ashmolean museum's coin collection because the galleries (and entire museum) were closed for reconstruction. This week I ran across an article about the Ashmolean in The Explorator newsletter (courtesy of Arthur Shippee). I went to the museum's web site to learn that the coin room has already reopened. Have any of our readers been there? Here's what the web site says.
The Heberden Coin Room houses a systematic and comprehensive collection of some three hundred thousand coins and medals. It has an academic staff of seven and is a leading international centre for teaching and research in numismatics and monetary history.
The collection goes back to the seventeenth century, although the Coin Room itself was opened only in 1922. It has been formed by combining the original holdings of the Bodleian Library and the Ashmolean Museum with over sixty former private and college collections.
Since the re-opening of the Museum in late 2009 the Coin Room includes a major new Money Gallery, an environmentally controlled and highly secure Coin Store, a well-appointed Coin Study Room for visitors, and a Seminar Room for numismatic teaching.
The Heberden Coin Room is now one of the leading international coin cabinets, with particular strengths in the fields of Greek, Roman, Celtic, Byzantine, Medieval, Islamic, Indian, and Chinese coinages. It also holds collections of paper money, tokens, jetons, and commemorative and art medals.
The Coin Room enjoys a dual role as a major international cabinet and as a department of the University of Oxford. This fruitful conjunction has helped us to develop the Coin Room into a centre for the teaching of numismatics and monetary history of worldwide significance.
The departmental archives include material relating to the collections formerly in the Bodleian and in the Colleges, as well as to the Ashmolean's own collection. The archives also contain material important for the history of numismatics, including the papers of a number of eminent scholars (for example Sir John Evans, Sir Edward (Stanley) Robinson, Derek Allen, J M F May, and Colin Kraay).
The Coin Library is administered by the Sackler Library. The holdings of books and periodicals may be searched online at http://www.lib.ox.ac.uk/olis/. The Library also contains extensive collections of pamphlets and auction and sales catalogues.
For more information, see:
Heberden Coin Room
Wayne Homren, Editor
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