In 2020 the Barber Institute of Fine Arts celebrate the golden anniversary of their coin collection, which is one of the most important in the world.
The scholars and numismatists, Geoffrey Haines (1899-1981) and Philip Whitting (1903-1988), each left their vast collections of a combined 15,000 pieces to the Barber with the condition that the coins were used for educative purposes. This year Barber remember and continue to honour their wishes with an exhibition which introduces the fascinating world of coins – miniaturised artworks and historical documents – to modern audiences.
This year-long exhibition explains the basics of the study of coins and showcases some of the most visually appealing and interesting examples. Aiming to answer the questions non-specialists might have about this niche, but revelatory, subject – but don’t always dare ask – this exhibition explores how much an ancient coin might have bought, where and how it was made and what from, and tell the story of how these coins came to be part of a museum in Birmingham.