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Princeton University's Byzantine Coin Collection is Apparently the Largest in the World

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Well that's interesting and also noteworthy that the collections partially have been acquired recently. I'll take the $17.50 per hour student wage to classify and codify the coins. 😄

If you had asked me beforehand I would have guessed that the largest collection might be at Dumbarton Oaks. At any rate, the article states that 90% of the coins in the collection are bronze pieces.

EDIT: On the history side of things, I believe Irene declared herself Basileos (not empress). To the West, this was an outrage so the pope crowned Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas day in 800 since a woman (however strong) was not supposed to be in that office.

Edited by Ancient Coin Hunter
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Irene strongly supported the practice and helped firmly embed it into Orthodox Christianity, Shawcross said. The hole may have been made by a believer who wore the coin on a necklace and kissed the image of Irene as an icon.”

I want whatever the princeton employees are smoking

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Thank you for sharing. Princeton University's Byzantine Coin Collection can become the first fully digitised and available online major Byzantine numismatic collection, which would be most welcome.

The article makes a bold statement that it is the World's Largest. Possibly, but two Byzantine collections, which I am desperate but hopeless accessing, may have more than 20,000:

  • Numismatic Museum of Athens
  • Istanbul Archaeological Museum

If someone knows how to access the collections, that would be greatly appreciated (I did try contacting them).


St Peterburg's Hermitage was expected to be a contender as well. However, their recently presented online collection was somewhat disappointing in an area that interests me most. Some coins of particular interest, cited in Tolstoi's 1912 book, did not appear - either not put online for some reason or no longer there after the turbulent Russian history of the XXth century.

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1 hour ago, TheTrachyEnjoyer said:

The ashmolean has already done this 

Thank you for pointing this out, and I did not mean to offend the Ashmolean by not considering it a major Byzantine numismatic collection (they list 1974 coins under Byzantine). They certainly have a very nice collection.

Another sizeable Byzantine coin collection that was digitised over 10 years ago is the Barber Institute collection, University of Birmingham. I still keep the photos they kindly gave me in 2012 after visiting their study room. Still, it would not compare it to collections as Dumbarton Oaks, British Museum, ANS, or Hermitage.

Edited by Rand
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