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Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

City Museum & Art Gallery

Queen’s Road




tel: +44 (0)117 922 3571




email: [email protected]



Contact details: Sue Giles


Date of visit: 


Nature and extent of collection


Comprehensive collection that reflects the history of Bristol and the surrounding area as well as the world. Collection includes ancient coins, archaeological material, local banknotes and both service and commemorative medals. Some aspects of the collection continue to be actively collected whereas others do not.



All numbers below are estimated


Greek: A small collection

Iron Age: A small number, collected as part of local archaeology/history collections

Roman: Mainly excavated finds, part of the excavation archive

British coins: A large collection, including active collection for the Bristol Mint series.  

British coins from the Anglo Saxon to modern periods are not actively collected

British tokens: Large collection, including the Dalton & Hamer type series

Local tokens are actively collected

European: A small collection

Asian: A small collection

African: Small coinage collection

American: Small coinage collection

Modern and Paper Money: Cave Collection of local banknotes

Otherwise few items

Medals: Large collection, including the Eberle Collection

Actively collected for local people and regiments

Military, civilian and commemorative

Paranumismatica: Small collection of weights, cash, kissi pennies, manillas, hoe money etc.  

Asante gold weights and other items from Africa and Oceania are treated as part of the Ethnography collection rather than as paranumismatica

Specific strengths: Dalton & Hamer token collection, Bristol Mint, Crimean & Indian Mutiny Veterans Association collection, Excavated (provenanced) numismatics, coin hoards (collected under Treasure Trove and Treasure Act)


Library: A small collection of journals and some books.





Database used:


Proportion of collection on database: A small proportion, mostly focused on objects that are on display. However, the majority of the medals collection is represented on the database.


How much detail in database entries? Basic records exist for objects in the medals collection, and volunteers are working to improve these. The records for coins reflect the proportion of the collection that is currently on display.


Are images incorporated?


Is the database accessible to the public? To an extent, yes. The full catalogue is not publicly accessible.


Is the database publicly accessible online? What is the URL if so? Yes:





Are there permanent numismatic displays? No.


Is numismatic material incorporated into more general displays? Yes, small numbers of objects are inclorporated into displays in the silver gallery and in the M Shed displays.


Is there a facility for temporary exhibitions? Yes.


Have there been numismatic exhibitions in the past? If so, what? Yes, cases displaying our own collections, for example pub tokens.



Access to the collection


Is there a study facility? Yes.


Is equipment (balances, magnifying glasses, etc.) provided? Yes.



Public engagement with numismatic collection


Is there a handling collection? Not at present, no.


Are numismatic collections used in Education sessions? No.


Do numismatic collections feature in gallery talks, lectures? No. It is possible that some objects might form the basis of a handling session or talk but this does not happen often.


Are there other engagement activities based around numismatic collections? No.



ID and public enquiries


Does the museum offer a service for identifying objects and other public enquiries? Yes, this service is offered by curators and the local Portable Antiquities Scheme Finds Liasion Officer.



Curatorial knowledge


Is there any numismatic expertise in-house? If so, who, and in what areas? No specialist staff are employed.  The PAS FLO is knowledgable, and the Curators of World Cultures and Archaeology have a good working knowledge in certain areas.


Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? Volunteers have worked and are working on the medals collections. Some of them are keen military historians and have added much detail on specific people and events commemorated by medals on the database. For coin enquiries, Edward Besly in Cardiff is occasionally consulted.


If there is expertise in-house, is there a willingness/capacity to share that with other museums? The local PAS Finds Liaison Officer sometimes runs general finds identification training sessions, which often include coins.