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Expertise in Modern Money (c.1500-present)

In the UK, numismatic expertise in modern material is broadly divided between both public and private institutions. This reflects the eclectic and varied nature of money in the modern world. It is also important to mention the privately run societies that collect, research and correspond to add to our knowledge of modern money.


Expertise in UK coinage can be found within the institutions responsible for production and distribution of coinage and banknotes, namely the Royal Mint and the Bank of England. The Bank of England Museum is currently managed by Jennifer Adam and tells the story of the Bank of England from its foundation in 1694 to its role today as the UK’s Central Bank. Its collections include world banknotes and coins, and an array of artefacts relating to the history, functions, staff and protection of the Bank. The Archive covers every aspect of the Bank’s administration from 1694 to the present, and is available to researchers by appointment. The Royal Mint museum in Llantrisant, South Wales, is home to over 70,000 modern and early modern British and world coins. Kevin Clancy is Director. Graham Dyer is former curator and librarian.


There are several important public collections of modern money in the UK, in addition to the countless local authority and privately run museums with modern money in their collections. The Department of Coins and Medals at the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge has a collection of 11,000 tokens and 18,000 modern coins, and about 6,500 world banknotes. The Heberden Coin Room at the Ashmolean, Oxford, also has a collection of paper banknotes, tokens and jettons. At the British Museum, the Department of Coins and Medals has about 180,000 objects relating to modern money. Its broad ranging collection includes world coinage, tokens, and credit cards. The department also has about 6,000 British cheques and more than 40,000 world banknotes. In 2009 the Chartered Institute of Bankers donated their entire collection to the British Museum. This doubled the size of some parts of the collection and also provided the Department with a large amount of 18th to 20th Century banking ephemera. The National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, holds a substantial collection of Scottish coins and banknotes, but is currently without specialist curatorial expertise.


Tom Hockenhull, British Museum


Gold US double eagle (twenty dollar)

 coin minted in Philadelphia in 1904

© The Trustees of the British Museum