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The British Museum's Department of Coins and Medals curates one of the world's great public collections of ancient and medieval coinage, thanks in part to the substantial donation by Kenneth Day.
Kenneth Day's bequest
Collecting archaeological coin finds of British importance can be an expensive undertaking and this was recognised by the late Mr Kenneth Day in a substantial bequest he made to the Museum. A retired engineer, Day was also a keen collector and a long-serving officer in the Kingston-upon-Thames Numismatic Society. He forged strong contacts with the British Museum and had been a benefactor for years, donating many ancient and modern British coins over the past decade. In doing so, Day recognised the British Museum's additional function beyond passive custodianship of national heritage.
The collection of new material is vital to ensure the Department of Coins and Medals continues to be relevant as a 'living catalogue' reference collection for scholars and the public.
The Museum also provides expertise and support for the statutory Treasure process in England and Wales where new and exciting discoveries often come to light.
The final monument to his public spirit is seen in the form of major philanthropy – the bequest of a large sum of money raised from his estate. Two causes had been of particular interest to Day, collecting coins important to British history and making them as widely available to others as possible. His legacy, therefore, will support two funds run by the department:
- The British Coin Fund, which ensures important new discoveries are represented in the British Museum's collection.
- The digitisation project, to update and improve database records (available to everyone online) and create digital images – an essential part of the British Museum's living catalogue in the 21st century.
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