||Yale’s collection of coins and medals is among the University’s oldest, dating to the early years of the nineteenth century. By 1863 the holdings numbered some 3,000 items; two decades later the Greek and Roman portions alone totaled over 3,200. Formerly known as the Yale Numismatic Collection, jurisdiction over it passed from the University Library to the Art Gallery in 2001. The collection now comprises approximately 100,000 pieces and is by far the largest assemblage at any American university.
The collection provides the basis not only for formal instruction in numismatics but also for expanding the horizons of historians, art historians, archaeologists, and the general public. Its great strength remains Greco-Roman, including examples of the earliest coinage of western Asia Minor, the supreme artistic achievements of Syracuse and southern Italy, and masterpieces of Hellenistic and Roman portraiture. Silver coinage of the Roman Republic has been systematically acquired and (with the exception of gold, which is not a concentration) the collection of imperial coins is wide-ranging and comprehensive. Other strengths include fine examples from English and German traditions, a broad selection of Renaissance medals, and the coins from Dura-Europos, which complement the Gallery’s other holdings from this important Yale excavation in the 1930s. The collection also includes paper money, with many thousands of Confederate notes selected to represent virtually every issue of the Civil War period and, for the modernist, a superb run of Connecticut coppers.
||William E. Metcalf firstname.lastname@example.org
William E. Metcalf, the Gallery's first Curator of Coins and Medals, is also an adjunct professor of Classics. He obtained his degrees from the University of Michigan (Ph.D. 1973) and for many years was the chief curator of the American Numismatic Society in New York. He has taught at many institutions on the East Coast, principally at Columbia University. His publications include five books as author or editor, with two more forthcoming, and over one hundred articles and reviews. Download
Interpretive guides to Greek and Roman coins, written by Richard A. Grossman, are available as downloadable PDFs:
Download Greek Coins (file is 376KB)-->
Download Roman Coins (file is 399KB)-->
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Burnett, Andrew. Coinage in the Roman World. London: Seaby, 1987.
Casey, P. J. Understanding Ancient Coins: An Introduction for Archaeologists and Historians. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986.
Howgego, C. J. Ancient History from Coins. London and New York: Routledge, 1995.
Kraay, Colin M. Archaic and Classical Greek Coins. Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1976.