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Numismatic Collection

Coins and Medals from Antiquity to the Present

The Numismatic Collection is the largest of its kind in Germany. Its collections range from Greek antiquity up to the present. Comprising almost 750,000 objects, the Numismatic Collection is a unique archive of the history of money from antiquity to most recent issuances. Additionally, its collection of medals makes it a high-ranking museum of art. It is also a universal museum due to its paper money and historical minting tool collections and the numismatic specialist library.

Presentation in the Buildings

After reopening in 2006, the Numismatic Collection has its own rooms for permanent and special exhibitions on the upper floor. In addition, a permanent exhibition of 1,400 ancient coins has been on display in the Blue Hall of the Altes Museum since 2011. Coins that are not in the exhibitions can be viewed in the Numismatic Collection’s study hall in

the Bode-Museum by prior appointment. The numismatic specialist library can be used there as well. The historical vault of the Numismatic Collection is located on the Kupfergraben side of the museum’s basement, and has been an integral part of the Bode-Museum ever since it was built.

Selected Highlights of the Numismatic Collection

Highlights of the Numismatic Collection (visualization)
Decadrachma from Athens (photograph)
© Münzkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Lutz-Jürgen Lübke

Decadrachma from Athens

Minted around 467 BC, the Decadrachma from Athens is a very special coin. It was worth 10 drachmas and surpassed all other Athenian coins in size and weight. Its obverse shows the helmet-crowned head of the city goddess Athena. The reverse features an owl in a particular posture that differs from that of standard coins of the time. The bird, which is shown in front view with its wings spread, looks aggressive and ready to attack. This depiction reflects the Athenians’ pride in their victories over the Persians in 467 BC. As only very few Decadrachmas have survived, they count among the most precious numismatic rarities.

Portrait Denar of Charlemagne (photograph)
© Münzkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Lutz-Jürgen Lübke

Portrait Denar of Charlemagne

This most beautiful of all portrait coins of Charlemagne is a unique specimen. It was created after AD 800. However, the exact occasion of its minting is not clear. It was made either when Charlemagne was crowned emperor or after the recognition of his empire by Byzantium. The obverse of the coin shows a bust of Charlemagne wearing a laurel wreath and emperor’s cloak. The reverse shows a church with four columns. Its front bay and gable each feature a cross.

Cosmos Medal in Honor of Alexander von Humboldt (photograph)
© Münzkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Lutz-Jürgen Lübke

Cosmos Medal in Honor of Alexander von Humboldt

The first two volumes of “Cosmos. A Sketch of a Physical Description of the Universe” by the Prussian world traveler and scholar Alexander von Humboldt were published in 1845 and 1847. On that occasion, the Cosmos Medal in honor of Humboldt was designed by Peter Cornelius and given material shape by Karl Fischer. The gold medal was struck at the Berlin mint by order of the Prussian king and on behalf of the Director General of the Prussian Museums, Ignaz von Olfers. Its obverse shows the head of Alexander von Humboldt. On the reverse, the genius of science is seen unveiling the mysteries of nature, which are symbolized by a statue of Isis.

Entrances to the Numismatic Collection and the Archaeological Promenade (visualization)
© SPK / ART+COM, 2015

Entrances

The exhibition rooms of the Numismatic Collection on the upper floor of the Bode-Museum are accessible via the main entrance of the museum on the northern tip of the island. To the right of the main entrance there is another access to the Numismatic Collection’s study hall, which is located separately in the basement. The Monbijoubrücke connects the museum to both river banks. Visitors will also be able to reach the Numismatic Collection via the Archaeological Promenade which will run under the railroad line from the Pergamonmuseum to the Small Cupola. The James-Simon-Galerie will serve as the central reception building offering visitors information and guidance.