Leeds University Library

University of Leeds Coin Collection

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The University of Leeds coin collection consists of around 15,000 coins and medals.

Development of the Coin Collection

The collection began in 1918 as a teaching collection of Roman coins used by the Department of Latin. In 1948 additional Roman coins were donated by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society.

The collection continued to expand during the 1950s. The ‘Poros’ hoard of over 250 Roman coins was acquired in the early 1950s, the ‘Winchester Cabinet’ was purchased from the Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral in 1954 and in 1957 the ‘anonymous gift’ was presented to the University by Alderman Horace Hird. It included Iron Age, pre-Roman and Anglo-Saxon coins along with a cabinet of 17th century tradesman tokens from Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

The collection grew significantly between 1989 and 1994 with the generous donation of around 11,000 coins by Paul Thackray. His donation included Roman, Chinese, Sassanian, Byzantine, British, European and modern world coins.

How the collection is arranged

Limited catalogue descriptions are currently available online. These can be searched using the search box at the top of this page.

The following handwritten and printed catalogues are available to view on request in the Reading Room:

  • A catalogue of the seventeenth century Derbyshire tradesmen's tokens in the coin and medal collection at the University of Leeds by Denise Hirschmann
  • A catalogue of the collection of coins and medals purchased in October 1954 from the Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral
  • Coins in the kingdom of Northumbria c.700-867 in Yorkshire collections, register of negatives, by EJE Pirie, 1991

Viewing the Collection

Requests to view the collection must be made in writing to the Head of Special Collections and Galleries. Researchers will be limited to looking at one tray of coins at a time.

University Coin Committee

You can find records from the University Coin Committee (1955-1994) in the University Archive.

The committee was set up to administer the collection, make recommendations on its safe keeping and manage its use in teaching and research.

Can you help us?

We would welcome the expertise and assistance of numismatics researchers to help enhance the catalogue and broaden and develop our understanding of the collection.