This book exhibition shows numismatic publications, as well as a selection of coins from the collection.
The Library’s founder, Archbishop Richard Robinson, had a keen interest in numismatics, the study or collection of currency. He collected a large number of coins, and many books on the subject, all of which are held in the Library.
The coin collection has Roman, as well as Scottish, English, Irish, Greek and Portuguese pieces with varying dates and denominations.
This exhibition shows examples of publications on coins, as well as a selection of coins from the collection, which are described or referred to in these books.
Greek and Roman Coins
TITLE Historia Ptolemaeorum Aegypti regum: ad fidem numismatum accommodata AUTHOR J. Vaillant PLACE OF PUBLICATION Amsterdam PRINTER George Gallet YEAR OF PUBLICATION 1701 OBJECT ID P001457582
Jean Foy-Vaillant was a keen coin researcher. This work on the Egyptian Kingdom of the Ptolemies was the first to use coinage to illustrate this period. The kingdom was founded after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and ended with the death of Cleopatra VII in 30 BC.
The coinage during this period is known for its large sizes and the use of gold and silver. The picture shown is of Cleopatra VI, not to be confused with Cleopatra VII who fought against Rome. They are thought to have been sisters.
Cleopatra VI is a mysterious figure, as there are few records of her life. According to Vaillant, she was Queen of the Egyptian Empire during the period 58 to 55 B.C.
TITLE Commentariorum In Vetera Imperatorum Romanarum Numismata Libri Primus AUTHOR Enea Vico PLACE OF PUBLICATION Venice PUBLISHER [s.n.] YEAR OF PUBLICATION 1562 OBJECT ID P001394912
This beautifully bound Latin commentary documents older Imperial coins from the time of Caesar (100 B.C. – 44 B.C.).
Although little is known about this book or its author, the binding shows that it was highly valued. On the edges we can see traces of clasp fastenings.
TITLE Numismata Aurea Imperatorum Romanorum AUTHOR Jacob De Bie PLACE OF PUBLICATION Amsterdam PRINTER Martin Schagen YEAR OF PUBLICATION 1738 OBJECT ID P000984899
This book, Numismata Aurea Imperatorum Romanorum, gives details of coins of the Roman emperors from Augustus in 31 B.C. to the end of the reign of Vespasian in 79 A.D.
The page displayed features numerous hammered coins from the reign of Emperor Vespasian. Among the Vespasian coins is a ‘Judea Capta’. This coin was issued to celebrate the conquest of Judea by the Romans in 70 A.D. The reverse shows a female in mourning beside a palm tree, with either the Emperor or a Roman soldier standing victoriously.
TITLE Caii Svetonii Tranquilli opera quae exstant AUTHOR Charles Patin PLACE OF PUBLICATION Basel PUBLISHER Genathian YEAR OF PUBLICATION 1675 OBJECT ID P001358142
Charles Patin was a medical doctor and numismatist. His interest in coins began when studying medicine in Paris. He started collecting coins and publishing books on them.
Patin became famous for escaping punishment for smuggling counterfeit and prohibited books into and out of Paris. He went into exile by his own choice around 1667, travelling across Europe before settling in Padua.
This edition of the work of Suetonius (69 – after 122 A.D.) was published after he went into exile. His contributions consisted of numismatic notes and illustrations to the texts.
On display is the page with coins from the reign of Tiberius, Roman Emperor from 14-37 A.D., alongside a Tiberian Sestertius.
OBJECT ID APL 1/3 OBJECT NAME Tiberius, Sestertius WEIGHT 24.842 gr DATE 14 A.D. to 37 A.D.
TITLE An essay towards an Historical Account of Irish Coins and of the currencies of foreign monies in Ireland. With an Appendix:containing several statues, proclamations, patents, acts of state, and letters relating to the same. AUTHOR Simon James PLACE OF PUBLICATION Dublin PUBLISHER S. Powell YEAR OF PUBLICATION 1749 OBJECT ID P001217077
This work documents the history of coinage in Ireland in general, and gives descriptions and illustrations of specific Irish coins from around 800 to 1748. The illustrations show us the detail and artistry that went into the design of coins.
The publication is open at pages showing coins minted during the reign of Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I.
The Library holds approximately 40 coins of Irish origin. The examples below can be found in Simon James’ book.
OBJECT ID APL 51 OBJECT NAME Elizabeth I, shilling WEIGHT 3rd coinage, 4.489 gr DATE 1601-1602
OBJECT ID APL 52 OBJECT NAME Elizabeth I, penny WEIGHT 3rd coinage, 1.563 gr DATE 1601
OBJECT ID APL 53 OBJECT NAME James I, shilling WEIGHT 1st coinage, 4.291 gr DATE 1603-1604
OBJECT ID APL 54 OBJECT NAME James I, shilling WEIGHT 2.659gr DATE Date unknown
TITLE Medals, Coins, Great Seals. Impressions from the Elaborate Works of Thomas Simon, Chief Engraver of the Mint to K. Charles I [...], the Lord Protector Cromwell & in the Reign of K.Charles II to MDCLXV AUTHOR Thomas Simon PLACE OF PUBLICATION London PUBLISHER George Vertue YEAR OF PUBLICATION 1753 OBJECT ID P001217093
This book lists the coins, medals and seals from the Commonwealth of England, and later of England, Scotland and Ireland, which lasted from 1648 to 1660.
The coinage represents a period in English history when England, Ireland and Scotland were ruled as a republic rather than as a monarchy. The coins no longer bore the image of the King or Queen, which were replaced by national emblems.
OBJECT NAME Commonwealth Shilling WEIGHT 5.441 gr DATE 1656 OBJECT ID APl 38
TITLE Tables of English Silver and Gold Coins AUTHOR Martin Folkes PLACE OF PUBLICATION London PUBLISHER Society of Antiquaries YEAR OF PUBLICATION 1763 OBJECT ID P001216976
The author of the Tables, Martin Folkes, was an English mathematician and scholar. He wrote on both classical and English coins.
The book documents the coinage from the Norman period up to the end of Queen Anne’s reign, from 1066 to 1707. Each monarch is listed in chronological order and the history of the coinage described in great detail, including weights, measurements and pictures.
The page shows coinage from the reign of Henry VII (1485-1509).
OBJECT ID APL 16 OBJECT NAME Henry VII, groat DESCRIPTION London, 3rd coinage, 2.771 gr DATE 1490-1507
OBJECT ID APL 17 OBJECT NAME Henry VII, groat DESCRIPTION 2.904 gr DATE 1507-1509
OBJECT ID APL 18 OBJECT NAME Henry VII, groat DESCRIPTION 2.959 gr DATE 1507-1509
OBJECT ID APL 19 OBJECT NAME Henry VII, half-groat DESCRIPTION 1.450 gr DATE 1507-1509
Hammered & Milled Coins
OBJECT ID APL89 OBJECT NAME Charles II, merk TECHNIQUE, WEIGHT Hammered, 5.279 gr DATE 1670
OBJECT ID APL43 OBJECT NAME William III, shilling TECHNIQUE, WEIGHT Milled, 5.974 gr DATE 1701
From their first invention until the late 17th century, most coins were produced with a hammered edge. Such coins were vulnerable to ‘clipping’ where parts of the metal would be removed and reused. This decreased their economic value, especially abroad. Forgery was extensive and by 1696 it is estimated that over 10% of the currency was fake.
During William III’s reign (1695-1701) hammered coins were withdrawn and replaced with milled currency. The difference between a hammered and a milled coin is clearly visible on the two coins on display.
The Charles II coin is hammered, with irregular and thick lines and clipped edges. The William III shilling is milled. The lines of the image are much thinner and more clearly defined.