Numismatics

‘Numismatics’ is the word used for the collection or study of coins and medals. Our numismatics collections include not only coins and medals, but also paper money and trade tokens.

Photo of gold coinOur coin collection contains approximately 6,000 coins. The earliest are classical Greek and Roman coins. The collection also includes examples from the Roman, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Medieval eras. Many of our coins were used in Britain, but others were used in Britain’s colonies.

There are some spectacular examples of coin discoveries in the collection including the Beachy Head coin hoard and the Hove hoard of 455 Roman coins. More recently acquired, through a grant awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is the High Weald Roman coin hoard of 2,895 silver radiate coins dating from the third century AD. Discovered by a metal detectorist on land in the Weald, about 30 miles north west of Brighton, it is one of the largest collections of Roman coins ever found in the county.

High Weald Hoard, courtesy British Museum
High Weald Hoard, courtesy British Museum

The Daniels Collection is particularly significant as it contains coins minted in Sussex , the Iron Age to late Medieval times. but also a large number of local trade tokens from the 17th through to the 19th centuries, hop tallies, and local commemorative, scholastic, political and exhibition medals.

The Daniels Collection also includes a large number of Sussex trade tokens from the 17th through to the 19th centuries.Trade tokens are substitutes for coins, made and used by tradespeople. Although not recognised as legal tender, they were sometimes used by traders when official coins were in short supply.

Medal awarded for punctuality by Brighton Grammar School, 1898
Medal awarded for punctuality by Brighton Grammar School, 1898

The medal collection includes military insignia, conduct and commemorative medals from Sussex, the majority of which relate to Brighton & Hove. Some are British service medals, but others are commemorative medals. Some mark events of national importance, but many are local awards, such as medals marking achievements in education.

A small number of items from our numismatics collections can be seen in Brighton Museum and Hove Museum.

Coins, Medals and Badges

New for 2017: we have worked with the University of Brighton to develop a website that sheds new light on our coin collection: http://coins.brightonmuseums.org.