Society of Antiquaries of London

Burlington House





tel: +44 (0)20 7479 7088




Twitter: @SocAntiquaries


Instagram: socantiquaries





Contact details: Lucy Ellis


Date of visit: 4 May 2018


Nature and extent of collection


2,890 pieces. Founded in 1707, the Society of Antiquaries of London was established to encourage and share knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries. As this was before the foundation of the National Museums, the Society was seen as the most appropriate place to house antiquities and as a result many of the Fellows donated their individual collections and finds to the Society’s care. While mostly representative of the history of collecting, the Society does hold objects of national and international significance, including early Tudor panel paintings of Richard III and Edward IV.  The numismatic material in the collections comes from individual mixed collections (e.g Prattinton’s collection of Worcestershire finds), as well as individual numismatic collections (the Belt collection of early Roman coins). The Society’s particular strengths are Roman coins and modern medals.



All numbers below are estimated


Iron Age coins: around 20

Roman coins: around 200

British coins: around 20

British tokens: around 40 trade tokens

European coins: a small number of jettons and some papal bulla

Middle Eastern coins: a small collection of fewer than 10 coins and casts

Modern and paper money: around 100 coins

Medals (commemorative or military): around 2,500 commemorative medals



Specific strengths: Commemorative medals, Roman coins.


Library: Our library features a strong collection of numismatic volumes across several shelves. This covers the main cataloguing typological works including Roman Imperial Coinage, as well as ABC and Williamson for Tokens. Our library has specific strengths in British and European archaeology, architectural history, art history and the decorative arts (especially medieval), the historic environment, and British local history.





Database used: Mobydoc Micromusee.


Proportion of collection on database: Around 70-80% of objects have records on the database.


How much detail in database entries? Minimal detail.


Are images incorporated? Yes, around 60% of records include images.


Is the database accessible to the public? No.


Is the database publicly accessible online? Partial records are available on the Society’s ADS website:





Are there permanent numismatic displays? No.


Is numismatic material incorporated into more general displays? The permanent displays at the Society have not been changed in many years. The temporary displays can incorporate numismatic material and there is a plan to use more in a display soon.


Is there a facility for temporary exhibitions?


Have there been numismatic exhibitions in the past? If so, what?



Access to the collection


Is there a study facility? Yes.


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? There is no formal education plan at the Society.


Do numismatic collections feature in gallery talks, lectures? The Society hosts public tours of the premises and the few numismatic items on display can be viewed through this. Numismatic collections do occasionally feature among our public lecture series.


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.



Curatorial knowledge


Is there any numismatic expertise in-house? If so, who, and in what areas? Yes – our Museum Collections Manager has some numismatic expertise and has recorded coins in the past for the PAS. The fellowship also contains experts in this field who could potentially help.


Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? See above – through the fellowship.


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

SAL Main Entrance