Department of Coins and Medals
The National Museum in Warsaw’s numismatic collection will now enjoy public exhibition thanks to the new gallery layout arranged as part of the museum’s sesquicentennial innovations. After many years, the Department of Coins and Medals will finally allow a wider public to enjoy the unique pieces in the collection, previously only displayed during temporary exhibitions and for study purposes. The quality of the collection makes the Department of Coins and Medals a wonderful resource in applications ranging from research and study projects to cultural and artistic events.
The collection of the National Museum in Warsaw’s Department of Coins and Medals is the largest of its kind in Poland and one of the premiere such collections in all of Europe. Its repute stems from not only the number of objects in its possession (around 250,000) but, above all, their quality and diversity. The numismatic collection ranges from ancient coins, through Medieval and Early Modern monies from Europe and beyond, to the latest coinagec issued in Poland. Yet, this rich assortment of currency does not end with coins. Also on display is a remarkable collection of banknotes and paper securities as well as some very interesting examples of non-coin currency. With the items on display spanning such a broad range of interests the collection will appeal not only to devoted numismatists but also to those interested in medals, seals and decorations.
- Collection of Polish Coins
- Collection of Coins from Lands Historically Affiliated with Poland
- Collection of Ancient Coins
- Collection of Foreign Coins
- Collection of Eastern Coins
- Collection of Banknotes and Paper Securities
- Collection of Polish and Foreign Medals
- Sigillography Collection
- Faleristics Collection
- Collection of Religious Pendants and Miscellanea
History of the Department of Coins and Medals of the NMW
The Department of Coins and Medals of the National Museum in Warsaw, began operating in 1921, when it obtained the set of the great contemporary Polish numismatic collections. In the first set were Polish coins belonging to Count Kazimierz Sobański, one of the largest and finest collection of contemporary Polish, and then in the same year Dr Semerau – Siemianowski’s collection of the ancient coins. In the following years, the collection was supplemented by the donations and purchases, which enriched the collection with numerous and valuable coins, obtaining not only from the regular collection, but also from accidental discoveries and archaeological research. In 1938, the National Museum in Warsaw, acquired coins from the State Art Collection, which were part of the so-called coins set equivalent recovered from the Soviet Union, under the provisions of the peace treaty signed after the Polish-Bolshevik War of 1920. This was a compensation for the stolen coins – mainly from the Warsaw University – after the nineteenth century uprisings – November and January. The Department of Coins and Medals of the National Museum continues, therefore, in a sense, numismatic traditions of the University of Warsaw.
World War II resulted in huge losses. In that time much of the accumulated collection was lost-including rare and unique specimens, that were stolen by the German occupiers. War damage, to some extent, was compensated by handing over the post-war years private, as well as, the institutional, collections, as a result of security of abandoned and dispersed during World War II, pre-war collections. It should be noted, that some of them were given to the National Museum depleted by the finest specimens.
Currently, collections the Cabinet of Coins and Medals of the National Museum in Warsaw is the largest numismatic collections in Poland and one of the top in Europe. The rank of the collection is determined not only by the number of objects (about 250 000), but most of all by their class and diversity. Numismatics is represented with the coins ranging from ancient emissions by medieval and modern European and non-European currency, to the latest issues of Polish coins. This rich set of the monetary money does not exhaust the collection. It is complemented by an excellent collection of banknotes and securities, and a very interesting examples of non-monetary means of payment. Thus, not only fans of numismatics, but also the amateur of the medals, seals or decorations will find there high-class monuments. Besides described collections, the Department also collects other items of interest to both researchers and the general public. Our Department carries out research related to the collection, as well as, with the broadly understood issues of numismatics. In addition, we are working on the improvement of infrastructure, among others replacement of the storage facilities. Moreover, in the Cabinet a renovation works are being conducted, which not only preserve monuments in the right condition, but also broaden knowledge about protection of stored objects.
The Department is open for cooperation with researchers and enthusiasts of numismatics, who are welcome.