Imperial War Museums

IWM London

Lambeth Road




tel: +44 (0)20 7416 5000







Contact details: Maeve Underwood (Curator - Ephemera & War Currency collections); Alan Jeffreys (Senior Curator – Medals & Badge collections); Fergus Read (Head of Library)


Date of visit: 3 February 2014


Nature and extent of collection


Around 100,000 pieces. The purpsose of the IWM collection is to provide a unique record of the force of war and its impact on society and to enrich peoples understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and conflict.


Areas of collecting date from 1914 onwards with a military or wartime connection.



All numbers below are estimated


Modern and paper money: c.35400 paper money

c.2300 coins

Medals (commemorative or military): c.10000 medals (campaign, gallantry)

Paranumismatica: c.250 tokens (Currency collection)

Other: c.50000 badges; 10 money boxes (tank banks, etc.)


Specific strengths:

British & Commonwealth medals (from 1914 - )

Imperial German medals

Third Reich medals


British & Commonwealth badges (from 1914 -)

Imperial German badges

Third Reich badges


German ‘notgeld’ (First World War, Interwar)

Belgian emergency currency (First World War)

French emergency currency (First World War)

Japanese Invasion Money (Second World War)



IWM Library reference books.

IWM Exhibits Section reference books.


Specific strengths in British & Commonwealth military heraldry, medals and paper money.





Database used: Adlib


Proportion of collection on database:

Medals: 100%

War Currency: 100%

Badges: 50%


How much detail in database entries?

Medals: Mostly basic level inventory (object name, recipient name, description, associations)

War Currency: Mostly basic level inventory (name, description, associations)

Insignia: Basic level inventory (name, description, associations)


Are images incorporated? A very small number of images are linked to the object records in all three collections of Medals, Badges and War Currency.


Is the database accessible to the public? Yes, there is an online catalogue.


Is the database publicly accessible online? Yes:





Are there permanent numismatic displays? Yes, in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes



Is numismatic material incorporated into more general displays? Yes, a small number of medals, badges and currency are incorporated in the majority of our permanent displays and temporary exhibitions.


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? There isn’t a specific study facility but appointments can be made to view the collections.


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? yes: a few medals, badges and currency are used in education sessions.


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? N/A



Curatorial knowledge


Is there any numismatic expertise in-house? If so, who, and in what areas? Yes: Alan Jeffreys, Senior Curator – Orders, Medals, Decorations, Badges; Maeve Underwood – War Currency.


Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? Yes (contact IWM for more information).


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