The Department holds money and medals from all parts of the world, ranging in date from ancient to modern times. Objects are primarily made of metal, although a variety of materials are present. These include porcelain and tinfoil for German Notgeld (‘emergency currency’), paper and textile for banknotes and wax for medal designs.
The collection is used extensively in research and teaching. It features in exhibitions at home and across the world. Conservation and collections care ensure that it remains accessible without compromising long-term preservation.
As coins and medals come from a variety of sources and environments, their condition varies widely. They are examined, documented and, when necessary, treated by conservators, for example, to stabilise active corrosion, remove disfiguring surface deposits or join fragments. Conservators also engage in collaborative research projects and outreach programmes.