MONEY & MEDALS
Contact details: Ann Inscker - Curator Human History;
Andrew King - Registrar
Date of visit: 13 November 2019
Nature and extent of collection
8,950 pieces. Whether it be fine art, natural history, historical and curatorial exploration and research, archaeological digs, bio-records, or architecturally significant buildings, Nottingham heritage has something for everyone. With over 107,250 (excluding Natural History) museum artefacts available to loan, this is one of the most comprehensive heritage and educational services available in the country.
The Nottingham City Museums & Galleries Numismatic Collection includes a number of Roman and Medieval - Stuart coin hoards, some with accompanying vessels. Of particular importance, amongst those of post Roman date, are Flawborough hoard, which includes a number of defaced Elizabeth I coins and the Bridlesmith Gate hoard from Nottingham, which includes a number of Nottingham mint pennies, among them several of Stephen defaced. The Nemi Collection, from the Etruscan healing temple of Diana, near Rome, includes a number of votive deposit coins. Among these are several examples of aes rude, uncia, semuncia, litra, triens, quadrans and sextans, dating from 280 BC, rare occurrences in numismatic collections in this country.
The collection also includes several British Museum framed electrotype collections, matrix dies for the medal for success in art awarded by the Committee of the Art Museum, as the Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery was then known and two differing Nottingham bank note plates, each for £5, dating from the early 19th century.
All numbers below are estimated
Greek coins: 18
Iron Age coins: 3
Roman coins: 5,449
British coins: 800 (including angel and royal weights)
British tokens: 375
European coins: 260
Middle Eastern coins: 208
African coins: 36
American coins: 3
Modern (1700-present) and paper money: 46 banknotes, 3 plates,
Medals (commemorative or military): 830
Paranumismatica: 15 gaming/transport tokens, 32 tickets, 27 counters, 22 jetons, 10 checks, 50 lead tokens
Other: 3 chains of office, 49 badges. Other items which could be classed as money are in the World Cultures, Egyptian and Access Artefacts collections which fall outside the scope of this Numismatic Group.
Numismatic collections may also be found in the Industrial History and Social History Collections, now both additionally presided over by the curator with responsibility for Numismatics. They include local transport tokens, gaming tokens from local firm Bell Fruits, employer’s checks, for mining, etc. and medals for motorcycling and local photography. These collections total around 130 additional items.
Specific strengths: coin hoards, Nemi coinage (for example aes rude).
Library: we have various numismatic books to suit the needs of the collection, including Roman Imperial Coinage, North, etc.
Database used: Our own Access based system.
Proportion of collection on database: 100%
How much detail in database entries? This varies.
Are images incorporated? Yes, some records feature images. Records for coin hoards tend to feature images of the most representative types in the best condition and rarer items.
Is the database accessible to the public? There is a version of the database that is accessible to the public but by appointment only.
Is the database publicly accessible online? No, but elements of it can be found on Culture Grid.
Are there permanent numismatic displays? There are a number of items from the Roman Newstead Hoard on display at Newstead Abbey. At 2,300 items, this is the largest hoard in the collection. Also seven items from the famous Fishpool Hoard of jewelry and gold coinage, recovered in 1966 and bar a few examples held locally, one of the most important late Medieval treasures held by the British Museum. These can also be seen at Newstead Abbey which is a stone's throw from Ravenshead, where they were excavated.
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, as part of a display on the Treasures of Nemi (2013) and in the Along the River Trent (2010) exhibitions. Some of WWI flying ace Albert Ball’s medals are displayed at Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery, in the military displays, curated by the Mercian Regiment. Nottingham Castle has also previously displayed medals, Nottingham mint pennies and coins excavated from the castle site, while at the foot of the castle, The Brewhouse Yard Museum, has previously housed school attendance medals and other local medals, all in the previously permanent displays.
Access to the collection
Is there a study facility? Yes, by appointment with Curator Human History. Please note that charges are now made for all enquiries requiring longer than 30 minutes to complete, in addition to visits and for the arrangement of loans to other Accredited Museums. Project partners are not charged for access..
Is equipment (balances, magnifying glasses, etc.) provided? Yes, some equipment can be provided.
Public engagement with numismatic collection
Volunteers from the Nottinghamshire Numismatic Collection have assisted with the identification, re-housing and photography of elements of the collection. The Berridge Road Roman hoard was used in a ‘Revisiting Collections’ outreach project with members of the public from the ward in which it was found and some of the Greek coins have been used in a project to inspire the design of a capsule wardrobe, for second year fashion students at Nottingham Trent University, along with other archaeological and World Cultures objects. A number of the tokens and jetons in the collection were used for a training event for Portable Antiquities Scheme Finds Liaison Officers and some of the more recent coins have been used by the curator when running blanket dig activities in school holidays.
Is there a handling collection? Yes: Access Artefacts.
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? There have been in the past, working with specific parishes around the city to do ‘Revisiting Collections’ initiatives, some of which have included coin hoards from those areas.
ID and public enquiries
Does the museum offer a service for identifying objects and other public enquiries? Yes, through the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
Is there any numismatic expertise in-house? If so, who, and in what areas? Yes, Ann Inscker, Curator Human History has published jointly with John Orma Orstein and catalogued a variety of numismatic collections, mostly Roman coin hoards, in a number of museums.
Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? Yes, one of our former volunteers has numismatic expertise and has also been called in to help one of the local field units with some of their identifications.
If there is expertise in-house, is there a willingness/capacity to share that with other museums? This is currently impractical due to capacity issues.