Bank of England Museum

Bank of England

Threadneedle Street




tel: +44 (0)20 7601 5545




email: museum @



Contact details: Jennifer Adam


Date of visit: 8 April 2013


Nature and extent of collection


15,000 pieces. The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom. The Bank’s core functions are to maintain stable prices and confidence in the currency, and to promote financial stability by maintaining a sound financial system. The Bank of England is also the main issuer of the United Kingdom’s banknotes.


The Bank of England Museum is located in the Bank’s main building on Threadneedle Street. It opened in 1988 to provide a place for visitors to learn about the history and functions of the Bank, with face-to-face interaction with Bank staff. As a part of this, the Museum exhibits and interprets the Bank’s historical collections, which include fine and decorative arts, social history, archaeological and numismatic material.


The Museum is an integral part of the Bank of England’s governance structure, and is managed as part of the Bank’s Communications Directorate (Public and Internal Communications Division).


The Aims of the Museum: vision and objectives

The Bank of England Museum exists to further public interest in and understanding of the Bank of England, in relation to both its historical context and modern role as the United Kingdom’s central Bank:

•The Museum supports and encourages public understanding of the Banks’ operations through its education programme and other activities in the Museum.

•The Museum houses, preserves and makes available the Bank’s historical collections through its displays and exhibitions.




All numbers below are estimated


Roman coins: around 50

British coins: around 1,500. A representative collection of UK regnal coinage since the establishment of the Bank in 1694

British tokens: around 600. Including Bank of England dollars and tokens and local trade tokens

European coins: Foreign coins (worldwide): c.2,700. These are largely specimens of 20th Century circulating coinage which were once used as reference samples by the Banking department (but now obsolete), as well as presentation pieces sent by other central banks

Modern and Paper Money: around10,000, GB and overseas banknotes

This number also includes design materials for Bank of England notes – sketches, draft designs, test prints, watermarked paper, moulds, forgeries and flash notes etc

Medals: around 200, plus around 30 badges

Paranumismatica: around 20 items of traditional money.

We have a sizable range of items relating to the management of coins, banknotes and bullion within the Bank – scales, weights, counting machines, etc

Other: The Bank of England’s collections also include prints, drawings, paintings, silver, photographs, and a social history collection relating more generally to the functions of the Bank

Specific strengths: Items relating to the history and development of Bank of England banknotes.


Library: N/A. For a numismatic library we would refer enquirers to the services offered by the British Museum's Department of Coins & Medals.





Database used: Adlib Museum


Proportion of collection on database: 100%


How much detail in database entries? All accessioned (registered) items are on the database, though information may be skeletal in some cases.


Are images incorporated? Images can be incorporated but not every record has them yet.


Is the database accessible to the public? No.


Is the database publicly accessible online? What is the URL if so? No.





Are there permanent numismatic displays? Yes.


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:


Feb – May 2013: The Huguenot Legacy

June 2012 – Jan 2013: Gold and the Bank of England

March – June 2012: The Bank and the Monarch: a celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Nov 2011 – March 2012: Secure by Design: the Boulton and Watt £50 note

Dec 2010 – May 2011: La Caisse Centrale de la France Libre: de Gaulle’s Bank in London

For further information about past exhibitions please see:




Access to the collection


Is there a study facility? We do not have the facilities to offer study access to the historical collections. However the Bank of England’s Archive is accessible by appointment (


Is equipment (balances, magnifying glasses, etc.) provided? N/A



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? Talks and presentation may discuss the development of money within a general historical context and in the context of the Bank’s activities, but these presentations do not have a specifically numismatic focus. For information about our talks and presentations offered to groups, please see the Museum’s website:


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. Enquiries can be directed to



Curatorial knowledge


Is there any numismatic expertise in-house? If so, who, and in what areas? Yes. Curator Jennifer Adam has experise in: storage and documentation of numismatic collections; banknotes.


Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? We have good links with other numismatic collections, particularly the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum.


If there is expertise in-house, is there a willingness/capacity to share that with other museums? Staff resources permitting, we are always willing to help other museums who might have enquiries about their numismatic collections