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Nymph reclining with a nymph playing a lyre

Learn more about art works that make up the Royal Collection

Numismatics, medals, decorations & insignia

1 coin : silver.
Obverse: CNVT REX around cross crosslet
Reverse: CVNNETTI around small cross

Viking coinage of York. Silver penny of Cnut. ©

Numismatics & commemorative medals

The collecting of coins and their study has long been central to the formation of historic libraries, and as such, the Royal Library holds a significant collection of coins, banknotes and medals. The present collection was first accumulated by Queen Mary, with further additions of material occurring up to and throughout the present reign.

Some of the most significant areas of the coin collection are items from the Tutbury, Cuerdale and Swinton hoards, acquired by Queen Victoria in her capacity as Duke of Lancaster and transferred to the Library from elsewhere in the Royal Household in 1980. These collections consist of Viking, Anglo-Saxon and medieval coins.

The coins and medals collection also holds a unique gold example of a portrait medallion of Elizabeth I (c.1616), engraved during the reign of James I by Simon van de Passe.

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Insignia

The Royal Library is responsible for the safekeeping of insignia of Orders of Knighthood acquired by, and presented to, various monarchs from George III to Her Majesty The Queen. The Head of Collections Information Management is responsible for the cataloguing and continued study of the Library’s insignia collection.