The University of Leeds coin collection consists of around 15,000 coins and medals and is broad in its coverage, both chronologically and geographically. The collection includes: Ancient Greek, Ancient British, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval and Early Modern European, South Asian, and East Asian coins, as well as a small number of commemorative medals and an important collection of 17th century tokens.
Some areas of the collection, such as Roman Provincial coins, have been catalogued and are available to view online with images. Please contact Special Collections for further information about the uncatalogued parts of the Collection.
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 ‘Paros’ 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. Part of the collection was published in 1975 by Elizabeth Pirie in Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles 21: Coins in Yorkshire Collections.
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.
Searching the Collection
Limited catalogue descriptions are currently available online. These can be searched using the coin collection search page. As the collection is not fully catalogued, please be aware that many coins will not appear in search results.
Viewing the Collection
Please contact Special Collections to make a request to view the collection. 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.