What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Helen Wang

Curator of East Asian Money
Coins and banknotes of East Asia, seventh century BC to the present

Department: Coins and Medals 


+44 (0)20 7323 8172

Helen Wang looks after the Museum’s collection of East Asian coins and banknotes. Her special interests include the archaeologist Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943), his extensive collections, the Silk Road and the use of textiles as money.

She has also published other lesser known aspects of the British Museum’s East Asian money collection: for example, Chinese secret society money and membership certificates; the logistics of transporting copper for coinage in nineteenth century China; paper money design in Shanghai in the 1900s; bronze token money of Jiangsu province in the 1930s; images of Mao Zedong on Chinese money in the twentieth century.

Current projects

Editing a volume of papers on Chinese coin-shaped charms

Editing a volume of papers on Chinese coin-shaped charms

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Hon. Secretary, Royal Numismatic Society

Recent publications

Helen Wang and Valerie Hansen (eds), Textiles as Money on the Silk Road, Special Issue of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Third Series, vol.23, issue 2 (April 2013).

Helen Wang, 'A Short History of Chinese Numismatics in European Languages', Early China 35-36 (2012-2013), pp. 395-429.

Helen Wang (ed.), The Music of Ink at the British Museum, Saffron Books, 2012

Helen Wang (ed.), Sir Aurel Stein, Colleagues and Collections (British Museum Research Publication 184, 2012)

Shin’ichi Sakurai, Helen Wang and Peter Kornicki, with Nobuhisa Furuta, Timon Screech and Joe Cribb,Catalogue of the Japanese Coin Collection (pre-Meiji) at the British Museum (British Museum Research Publication 174, 2010)

H. Wang and J. Perkins (eds) Handbook to the Collections of Sir Aurel Stein in the UK (British Museum Research Publication 129, 2008)

H. Wang, Chairman Mao Badges: Symbols and Slogans of the Cultural Revolution (British Museum Research Publication 169, 2009)

Zhao Feng, Helen Wang, Helen Persson, Frances Wood, Wang Le and Xu Zheng (eds), Textiles from Dunhuang in UK Collections (Shanghai: Donghua University Press, 2007). Published in two separate Chinese and English editions. Chinese edition:«????????:???», ?????????, 2007 ?.

H. Wang, M. Cowell, J. Cribb, S. Bowman (eds), Metallurgical Analysis of Chinese Coins at the British Museum (British Museum Research Publication 152, 2005)