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National Railway Museum

Leeman Road


YO26 4XJ


tel: +44 (0)1904 686256




email: [email protected]



Contact details: John Clarke, Assistant Curator;

Ed Bartholomew, Senior Curator


Date of visit: 7 July 2015


Nature and extent of collection


Around 3,200 pieces. The National Railway Collection is Britain’s largest single body of historic railway material. The Numismatic Collection covers the period from the early 19th century to the present day with a small amount of early material discovered during railway construction work.



All numbers below are estimated


Roman coins: 4

British coins: 15

European coins: 6

Medals (commemorative or milirary: 

255 Commemorative

214 Awards

50 Gallantry & War Service

33 Long Service

43 Union


Paper train tickets

30 Metal Tickets

600 Directors Passes

50 Tokens

200 Pay checks

Whistle made from coins


1681 Badges (predominantly war service and union badges)

5 gold coin change machines

Remains of cash bowl containing 1d coins found after Brussels Exhibition fire in 1910

Mass of coins welded together as a result of bombing raid on York Station in 1942

Balance coin tester from Newport Dock Street Station

Set of sovereign brass weights from Hunslet Lane Goods for weighing gold coins

2 Money box harnesses worn by collecting dogs

Specific strengths: Mid 19th to early 20th century railway commemorative medals.


Library: We have the UK’s most comprehensive railway library which is comprised of 25,000 books. There are however only a handful of books that have been published relating to railway numismatics





Database used: Mimsy XG


Proportion of collection on database: 98%


How much detail in database entries? Description and name of recipient if applicable but little or no information about why medal was awarded.


Are images incorporated? All the medals have been photographed and we have recently begun to link the images to the database.


Is the database accessible to the public? Yes.


Is the database publicly accessible online? Yes:





Are there permanent numismatic displays? No.


Is numismatic material incorporated into more general displays? Yes.


Is there a facility for temporary exhibitions? Yes.


Have there been numismatic exhibitions in the past? If so, what? Yes, ‘Brave Railwaymen’ in 1988.



Access to the collection


Is there a study facility? Yes, we have a research centre called Search Engine.


Is equipment (balances, magnifying glasses, etc.) provided? No.



Public engagement with numismatic collection


Is there a handling collection? No.


Are numismatic collections used in Education sessions? No.


Do numismatic collections feature in gallery talks, lectures? No.


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, via Search Engine.



Curatorial knowledge


Is there any numismatic expertise in-house? If so, who, and in what areas? No.


Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? No.


If there is expertise in-house, is there a willingness/capacity to share that with other museums? N/A