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Orkney Museum

Tankerness House

Broad Street



KW15 1DH


tel: +44 (0)1856 873535




email: [email protected]



Contact details: Gail Drinkall


Date of visit: 6 December 2018


Nature and extent of collection


50,000 pieces. Archaeological excavations and chance finds from within Orkney.



All numbers below are estimated


Roman coins:

1 x denarius of Trajan

1 x denarius of Hadrian

British coins: 

1 x silver medieval, not identified

1 x silver half penny Edward I or II

1 x coin of Burgred of Mercia 9th C from excavations at Saevar Howe (on display)

1 x coin of Edmund, 10th C, excavations at Buckquoy (on display)

Medieval (not specified) from excavations at Quoygrew

Cut half penny, Bury St Edmonds mint from Knowe of Midgarth (on display)

2 x Penny of Edward I from Wyre and Kirkwall (both on display)

Groat of James I from Kirkwall (on display)

Coin of Edgar from Brough of Deerness (on display)

Scottish coins: 

9 x Turners (James VI, Charles I, William and Mary)

1 x Billon 1588

1 x Bawbee Charles II

2 x Silver coin James VI

1 x James I groat

4 x silver 17th C

1 x copper 1626

1 x copper coin 1556

European coins: 

Louis XIII 1640

Irish Half Penny 1694

Dutch 1627

Asian coins:


Modern and paper money: 

23 x George III

5 x 19th C

1 x 18th C? Scottish coin

1 x illegible modern

5 x Kroner 1975


1 x French token



Specific strengths: British and Scottish medieval coinage.


Library: N/A





Database used: CALM


Proportion of collection on database: 100%


How much detail in database entries? This varies – most of the excavation assemblages are bulk accessioned so individual items, such as coins, are not always individually itemised.


Are images incorporated? No.


Is the database accessible to the public? The database is accessible to researchers on request.


Is the database publicly accessible online? No.





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? No.



Access to the collection


Is there a study facility? Yes.


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



Public engagement with numismatic collection


Is there a handling collection? Loan boxes are managed by Libraries and Archives, not the museum. There is a small archaeology handling collection.


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.



Curatorial knowledge


Is there any numismatic expertise in-house? If so, who, and in what areas? Gail Drinkall has some expertise in her capacity as an archaeological finds specialist.


Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? We have contact with Richard Brickstock who has expertise in Roman coins.


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

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