Latest Posts

Society Lecture, AGM and Summer Party, 18th June

On 18th June at 6pm the Society will hold its Annual General Meeting at Spinks. This will be followed by a lecture, presented by Society President, Dr Roger Bland. Following the lecture, all Society members and attendees are warmly invited to the Society’s summer party.

The President’s lecture will be on the topic:

Problems in Ancient Numismatics I: Die-studies versus coin finds: how to   estimate the size of a coinage

The data from coin hoards and single finds have long been used by numismatists to determine the relative size of coin types within an issue or over a longer period such as an emperor’s reign, while die-studies have been used as a way of quantifying the absolute size of a coinage. This paper will look at the limitations of these two methods and the different types of information that can be obtained from them and an example of using the two methods to quantify the same coinage.

Society Lecture, 21st May: Tracing loot: the fate of European coins in Viking hands in the ninth century

On Tuesday 21st May at 6pm Dr Jane Kershaw, Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford, will present a lecture to the Society at the Warburg Institute.

Abstract:Written sources indicate that huge numbers of coins were seized by Vikings during their raids on the Continent during the ninth century. Yet remarkably few Carolingian coins survive within the Scandinavian homelands. Do the written sources exaggerate the amount of wealth seized, or did the Vikings take this wealth with them to their new Western settlements, melting down coinage into ingots and rings? In this talk, I discuss recent results of archaeometric analysis which allows us the trace the fate of Carolingian coins for the first time.

Society Lecture, 16th April: “So rare, so barbarous, so little known”: Revisiting the coinage of Crusader Edessa

On Tuesday 16th April at 6pm Dr Richard Kelleher of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, will present a lecture to the Society at the Warburg Institute.

Abstract: The County of Edessa is probably the least known of the four mainland Crusader states established in the wake of the First Crusade (1095-1099). It was the first state to be established and the first to be annihilated in 1144. Despite its short existence copper coins, showing Byzantine, Islamic and Norman influence were struck at Edessa under its four counts and their regents.

It has been more than 40 years since John Porteous published his seminal article on the crusader coins of Edessa in the Numismatic Chronicle. This work outlined the chronological arrangement of the heavy types of follis attributed to Edessa through studying the complex, and occasionally baffling, sequence of overstrikes seen on many coins. Porteous gave us the relative sequence in use today and updated the arrangement devised, more than a century ago, by the eminent French numismatist and scholar Gustave Schlumberger in his classic Numismatique de l’Orient Latin.

Since the publication of Porteous’s work there has been four decades of new coins coming through the trade. Bringing together material from museum collections in Europe and America and from auctions and sales, this paper will evaluate the full sequence of heavy and light Edessene folles and offer some opinions on the chronology and identity of some of the more enigmatic pieces, which have hitherto been known from just one or two specimens.

Lord Stewartby – The Numismatic Legacy

Friday 28 June 2019, 09.30-17.15, at the British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace LondonE

Lord Stewartby (1935-2018) was among the leading figures in British numismatic scholarship in the second half of the twentieth century. He published over two hundred papers and was a major contributor both to the development of what became the Medieval European Coinage publication project at Cambridge and other widely regarded publications. His interests ranged across the Romano-British coinage of the London mint, Anglo-Saxon and Viking coinage, mediaeval English coinage as well as Scottish coinage, the latter being a field in which he was pre-eminent both as a collector and as a scholar.

This all day Symposium on 28 June at the British Academy comprises a series of papers by leading figures who place the use of numismatic evidence at the forefront of historical and archaeological interpretation. Structured around topics with which Lord Stewartby was deeply engaged with it will explore recent work which build on his contributions to Numismatic scholarship.    

The day will consist of four sessions, each themed:

  • Britain c.300-400 AD. Coinage and Continental Connections
  • Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Viking England, c.800-1100. Money, Mints and Monarchs
  • The British Isles.c.100-1150. Coinage, Management and Circulation
  • Scottish Coinage, c.1140-1707. Interpretation and resources

The event programme can be downloaded here.

Booking is required for all wishing to attend

Fees: £25 per person. Students in Full time Education – FREE

TO BOOK YOUR PLACE please visit the BNS website’s ticketing portal here.

Society Lecture, 19th March: Augustus and Nero: two emperors who tried to reform the coinage

Owing to unavoidable circumstances, the scheduled lecture has been changed, and will now be given by Andrew Burnett, former President of the RNS on ‘Augustus and Nero: two emperors who tried to reform the coinage’.

Please not that this will take place at the Swedenborg House, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way, London, WC1A 2TH.

Abstract: It is fashionable to think that the Roman emperors, unless they were motivated by some short-term reason of profit, did not care very much about the state of the currency in the empire. But it seems that both Augustus and Nero did so and they both made attempts, across the empire, to introduce changes. Some of the coinage reforms by both Augustus and Nero have been considered before, but usually only from the limited perspective of the mint of Rome, and an examination of the empire as a whole reveals a much broader scope. The changes they introduced were experimental, and not altogether successful, and the reforms introduced by Nero (‘a good administrator’) emerge, strangely, as more effective than the attempts made by Augustus.