Merseyside Maritime Museum

Maritime History Department

Merseyside Maritime Museum

Albert Dock


L3 4AQ


tel: +44 (0)151 478 4508







Contact details: Eleanor Moffat; Ian Murphy


Date of visit: 19 July 2013


Nature and extent of collection


Around 560 pieces. Generally our numismatic items (mostly medals and some coins) fall within the following categories:


Maritime Social History –

• The collection reflects items related to seafarers’ lives, at sea and at home. This includes ships’ crews and passengers, as well as their families.

• The focus in the collection is on items with strong Liverpool, or North-West links. The collection contains objects that aren’t necessarily traditional maritime items, but that reflect the network of personal and family relationships created by seafaring and separation from loved ones.

• Includes: personal possessions of seafarers, passengers, ship owners and ship builders (including medals), maritime souvenirs and relating to welfare and training institutions.


Maritime Commercial History –

• Items related to shipping and associated companies, with a particular emphasis on Liverpool and the North-West. This also includes MDHB and MDHC, marine insurance services, and local merchants.

• Acquisitions must display a strong Liverpool or regional association. Additions to the collection also need to emphasise a maritime connection in some respect (not general office equipment for instance).

• Acquisitions should represent the breadth of maritime commercial activity in Liverpool and reflect the continuing importance of the maritime sector in the contemporary city.


Maritime Archaeology –

• Material and field records recovered from Royal Yacht Mary (1660), Jhelum (1849), Mersey flats.

• There is generally a presumption against acquiring excavated material and against direct involvement or sponsoring of excavations, in favour of collecting survey results and records.

• Only material excavated in accordance with ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance, the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the ICMM Guidelines.

• Any items collected must have strong Liverpool provenance through the history of the vessel’s working life, or construction.

• Priorities for further acquisition in this area:

Limited emergency survey work only.

Survey records.



All numbers below are estimated


British coins: 270

Medals: More than 276

Paranumismatica: More than 11


Specific strengths: Maritime medals.


Library: N/A





Database used: Mimsy XG


Proportion of collection on database: 100%


How much detail in database entries? This varies. Some are very full, with much detail (including images, measurements etc.); but others have very basic information. We have a long-term aim to increase the level of detail in database entries.


Are images incorporated? Yes, 31 images are visible on the database and we are working towards incorporating more of them into object records.


Is the database accessible to the public? No, but information is available on request.


Is the database publicly accessible online? Not yet.





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 – they feature quite a lot, but the exhibitions are not exclusively based around our numismatic collections.



Access to the collection


Is there a study facility? There is no dedicated numismatic study facility but there is a work area in our small objects store.


Is equipment (balances, magnifying glasses, etc.) provided? We have some equipment available, e.g. magnifying glasses, but no balances.



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? Sometimes, aspects of the collection may feature in more general talks on maritime history but only occasionally would talks focus exclusively on numismatics.


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, we do answer public enquires in person where possible but in general we encourage enquiries to be sent via our enquiries email address or by telephone.



Curatorial knowledge


Is there any numismatic expertise in-house? If so, who, and in what areas? We do not have any specific numismatic expertise but have acquired knowledge of aspects of the collection in the course of work with the collections/exhibitions etc.

The main numismatic collections held within the Antiquities collection at World Museum Liverpool no longer has a dedicated curator either.


Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? We have links to the Money and Medals Network for assistance.


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