The Ashmolean has more than 300,000 coins and currency in its extensive collection. In the Money Gallery you can see a small fraction of these displayed to convey how money can give us an insight into the history of past cultures throughout the world.
Displays along one wall show how money has evolved – from ingots and cowries into coins, bank notes and today’s electronic currencies.
The opposite wall takes a geographical theme where individual cases display examples of coins and currencies from different parts of the world throughout the ages.
Some of the central freestanding display cases tell the fascinating stories of the discovery of various hoards of coins in the Ashmolean’s care such as the Crondall hoard and that of the Chalgrove hoard which was found locally in Oxfordshire.
A key exhibit of the gallery is the Oxford Crown – a coin minted in 1644 in Oxford during the English Civil War – which gives a political snapshot of the time, demonstrating succinctly how well a coin can tell a story. An large replica of the Oxford Crown, made by the Royal Mint for the opening of the new gallery, gives visitors a chance to examine the coin in detail.
The Money gallery has several interactive activities and games to amuse young and old and there are regular coin handling sessions for visitors. Coins also feature prominently in other gallery displays throughout the Museum.