Science Museum

Exhibition Road

South Kensington




tel: +44 (0)870 870 4868 (020 7942 4000)







Contact details: Boris Jardine, Curator of History of Science;

Ailsa Jenkins, Head of Corporate & Collections Information


Date of visit: TBA


Nature and extent of collection


7000 (Wellcome collection) & 1400 (Science Museum) pieces. Collection of coins, medals and tokens related to the subjects of science, technology and medicine.



All numbers below are estimated


Greek coins: Few

Roman coins: Few

British coins: Few

British tokens: 150

European: Most

Middle Eastern: Few

American: 100

Modern and paper money: 5000

Medals: 4000

Paranumismatica: Some

Other: Some

Specific strengths: Objects related to the subjects of medicine; early flight; science; technology.


Library: A small collection of around ten books, including all volumes of Forrer.





Database used: MIMSY XG


Proportion of collection on database: 100%


How much detail in database entries? This varies: some records feature basic number and description ifnromation, others are indexed by object name, date, maker, place, related person, related place.


Are images incorporated? Yes. We have an ongoing volunteer project to create digital records that include good quality photographs of both obverse and reverse.


Is the database accessible to the public? Yes.


Is the database publicly accessible online? Yes:





Are there permanent numismatic displays? No, not currently.


Is numismatic material incorporated into more general displays? Yes, this is our preferred way to display numismatics, for example we have gold touchpieces on display in our Medical galleries, Cholera and Thames tunnel medals on display in Making the Modern World, James Watt and our world, balloon medals on display in the Flight Gallery and so on. Nobel prizes have been displayed until recently. 64 numismatic objects are currently on display in the museum and we have 4 on loan.


Is there a facility for temporary exhibitions? Yes.


Have there been numismatic exhibitions in the past? If so, what? No, that is not how we would display the coins sand medals; we prefer to include them as part of mixed displays.



Access to the collection


Is there a study facility? Objects in storage can be viewed for study purposes by appointment.


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? No.


Do numismatic collections feature in gallery talks, lectures? Sometimes, yes.


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? No, unless the enquiry was directly related to our collections.



Curatorial knowledge


Is there any numismatic expertise in-house? If so, who, and in what areas? Yes.


Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? N/A


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

Science Museum