Roman Republican Coins in the British Museum

E Ghey, I Leins (eds) - descriptions and chronology after MH Crawford

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This catalogue brings together the British Museum collection of over 12,000 Roman Republican coins, dating from the 4th century BC to 31 BC. It aims to provide an introduction to the coinage, the history of the Museum’s collection and an aid to the identification of coin types.

The last catalogue of the collection was published by H.A. Grueber in 1910, with a revised edition printed in 1970. Since 1910, the collection has at least doubled in size, including the significant bequest from Charles A. Hersh in 2002.

The publication in 1974 of M.H. Crawford’s Roman Republican Coinage (RRC) set a new standard typology for this series, with complete revision of the chronology. The British Museum’s collection has now been catalogued according to this typology and the layout of the online catalogue reflects this. For ease of cataloguing and to avoid confusion, the dating given in RRC has been used throughout. It should be noted however, that more recent archaeological finds (such as the hoard from Mesagne, Puglia) have led to significant revision of this chronology [1]; and Woytek (2003) has adjusted numerous aspects of the years from 49 to 42 BC.

This catalogue is intended as the first stage of an ongoing project and will be revised and developed to reflect current scholarship.

Whilst some of the coins in this collection are on display in the galleries, the majority are housed in the Department of Coins and Medals. It is hoped that this online catalogue will enable access to the collection for a wider audience, making the coins more easily available for research and enjoyment. However, visitors are welcome to study the coins by appointment with the department.

Eleanor Ghey, Ian Leins
Department of Coins and Medals, British Museum
March 2010

  • ^ [1] - See for example Hersh and Walker 1984 and Mattingly 1995.