Coins and Medals
  • A to Z
  • About us
  • Contact us
  • Accessibility
  • A- A+

 Coins and Medals

 

The numismatics collection is made up of around 25,000 objects related to currency (coins, paper money, tokens, etc), as well as medals, seals and badges.  The objects in the collection vary a great deal, from ancient coin hoards to credit cards, and from Medieval seals to a pink plastic Barbie till!  Collecting coins and medals started in the early 1800s and we still actively collect today.

Where can I see the numismatic collections?
Most of the coin and medal collections are housed in Leeds Discovery Centre.  Coins and medals are integrated into many of our displays; currently they can be seen in The Leeds Story, The Collectors Cabinet and the Ancient Worlds galleries in Leeds City Museum, as well as in the medal room at Lotherton Hall. The numismatic collections also regularly feature in a wide range of temporary exhibitions

Find out about some of our significant collections below.

Click to expandThe Baron Collection (ancient coins)



In 1854 the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society received a bequest of 2,000 coins and related items from George Baron of Drewton Manor. 

The collection represents different cultures and periods, and includes coins from Iron Age Britain, Republican and Imperial Rome, and ancient Greece. 

Other objects in the bequest include tokens, money weights, papal medals and casts of Roman coins.  

Click to expandMilitary Medals



The military medals and decorations in the collection relate to campaigns worldwide, and many have a Leeds connection. 

The earliest record of a military medal being acquired for the collection dates to 1858, and was a donation of a ‘Bronze Star, given for the Battle of Maharajpoor, Dec. 29th, 1843’.

Alongside the medals we also try to collect photographs and other items related to the person to whom the medal was awarded. 

Where can I see the collection?

The military medal collection has recently been cleaned, restored and catalogued as part of a volunteer conservation project based at Leeds Discovery Centre. 

First World War Medals Schools website exploring our collections

Click to expandPaper Money


The banknote collection is often referred to as ‘paper money’ (although we have banknotes made of wood), and also includes early bills of exchange and cheques. 

The oldest banknote in our collection is a 4 dollar note from Maryland, USA, dating to 1770.

Highlights of the collection include 18th and 19th century banknotes from West Yorkshire, 20th century emergency currency from Austria and Germany (notgeld), and a growing collection of recent banknotes from around the world representing the travels of Leeds people.

Click to expandRecently acquired objects

​Some of our recent acquisitions to the Numismatics collection include:

  • A cabinet from the Thoresby Society containing a collection of coins, tokens, medals and cap badges from Leeds
  • Two Post-Medieval cloth seals found by a metal detectorist in the Leeds area
  • A range of modern banknotes collected by the donor while travelling the world

Click to expandContact the Curator

​If you have an enquiry about the collections please get in touch with the Curator of Archaeology, who will be happy to help.

Staff contact details

Follow us:

  • facebook
  • flickr
  • twitter
  • youtube