Royal College of Physicians

11 St Andrews Place

Regent’s Park




tel: +44 (0)20 3075 1649 or +44 (0)20 3075 1788




email: or



Contact details: Lowri Jones; Kristin Hussey


Date of visit: 11 May 2018


Nature and extent of collection


180 pieces. The RCP Museum collects items relating to the history of the college and the history of medicine. The medals collection consists of a significant number of commemorative items, including medical awards and medals commissioned by medical institutions to commemorate events. There are also a number of military medals from the First and Second World Wars. Most items relate to individual physicians who were members and fellows of the college.



All numbers below are estimated


British tokens: 2

Medals (commemorative or military): around 180, mostly commemorative, some military

Other: 2 badges

Specific strengths: Commemorative medals.


Library: The library is open as a reference library to members of the public. There are around 50 books and pamphlets relating to medical medals and numismatics in the history of medicine.





























Database used: Adlib 4.2


Proportion of collection on database: 100%


How much detail in database entries? Almost all include a brief description of what the medal is, a detailed physical description and a short biographical summary of the owner where known.


Are images incorporated? Yes; around 50% of the collection currently have images and the rest will be digitised throughout 2018.


Is the database accessible to the public? Yes.


Is the database publicly accessible online? Yes -





Are there permanent numismatic displays? Yes – there are two display cases of medals in the Thomas Cotton room on the RCP’s lower ground floor, which are accessible to the public when the room is not in use for events.


Is numismatic material incorporated into more general displays? Yes; there are two 17th century touchpieces in our Treasures Room, and numismatic material sometimes features in temporary exhibitions.


Is there a facility for temporary exhibitions? Yes – the RCP museum has a dedicated exhibition space with a dynamic program of temporary exhibitions.


Have there been numismatic exhibitions in the past? If so, what? The RCP held an exhibition ‘Medals Mostly Medical’ from April to September 1986, which included loans from the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and from Sir Gordon Wolstenholme, as well as those from the RCP’s own collection. The exhibition catalogue is available on request from the library collection (barcode 9203 or 9210).



Access to the collection


Is there a study facility? The museum is open to study requests.


Is equipment (balances, magnifying glasses, etc.) provided? Some basic equipment is available if specified in advance.



Public engagement with numismatic collection


Is there a handling collection? The handling collection does not currently include any numismatic material.


Are numismatic collections used in Education sessions? No - the RCP museum does not currently offer education sessions.


Do numismatic collections feature in gallery talks, lectures? Yes – those on display in the Treasures Room feature in our regular tours program and in exhibition tours when items are on show in the temporary exhibition space.


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? No.


Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? Yes, through subject specialist networks and other museums.


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

1047 - MF 2009
Symons collection - overview, right-left
Dorchester library & gallery Mike Fear images Nov
Hoffbrand apothecary jars display, R-L