The Society's seal and three photographs

Our Coin Collection

The core of our collection is more than 2,000 Roman coins, mostly found in Britain, with another 1,000 coins from pre-Roman Greece. There are substantial collections of coins of the Early Medieval period, both British and Continental, with a particularly impressive collection of Northumbrian stycas. We also have a number of Medieval and Post-Medieval hammered coins. Coin-related collections include coin weights, communion tokens, lead tokens, Wall Pilgrimage badges, and medals. A recent acquisition is the 'Prince Henry' silver penny, now on display in the Great North Museum.

The history of the collection

The formation of a Coin Collection was called for in the first public letter proposing the formation of an antiquarian society in Newcastle in 1813. In keeping with other collections that originated in that era, the coin collection was founded on gifts from gentlemen’s cabinets, a so-called ‘boys’ collection’. As such, the collection has never had any constraints, geographically or chronologically, but represents a wide range of numismatic interests that reflect the traditions of the grand tour, antiquarianism, and British imperial service. The first 334 coins, tokens, and counters were donated in 1813, and donations and acquisitions have continued to the present. The 1996 Treasure Act and the advent of the Portable Antiquities Scheme with an officer based in Newcastle have created opportunities to enhance the collection from time to time.


Many of the Society’s coins have been published in Archaeologia Aeliana and Proceedings in reference to their discovery and/or donation. Two series have also been collated in single publications:

Research enquiries should be directed to the Keeper of Coins, Dr Rob Collins.

In the future, don’t forget your past