Ancient coins: heads and tales from antique lands

Ian Potter Museum of Art

Saturday 23 October 2010 to Sunday 10 April 2011
The Ian Potter Museum of Art, at the University of Melbourne, will present a unique insight into the ancient world with the display of one of Australia’s finest collections of ancient Greek and Roman coins. The exhibition will feature selected coins from the empires of the Greco-Roman world as well as examples from periods and regions beyond.

Classics and Archaeology Curator at the Potter, Dr Andrew Jamieson, says “the coins reveal fascinating insights into the history, culture and society of the time.”

“In the ancient world, coins were an ideal way of depicting myths, disseminating information, reinforcing a political message or for propaganda purposes.”

“Made of copper, bronze, silver and gold the ancient coins featured in this exhibition display unique aesthetic qualities, fine craftsmanship and intricate details on a small scale requiring close inspection.”

The exhibition features selected coins from the University of Melbourne’s extensive collection, and rare coins from several Melbourne private collections.

Many of the coins have never been publicly displayed, as their intricate details become lost in larger display cabinets. The Potter has installed specially designed fixtures, which allow visitors to experience the ancient coinage in a clear and accessible manner.

Dr Jamieson says, “This exhibition gives people the opportunity to reflect on fascinating and complex cultures and ideas through the coinage of the ancient world.”

Location

Ian Potter Museum of Art
The University of Melbourne, Swanston Street
Melbourne Precinct
Victoria
Australia
Silver drachm with flying Pegasus
© All rights reserved Melbourne Private Collection 2010 Australia
Acarnania, Leucas, c. 470–450 BCE Melbourne Private Collection
Silver stater with Pegasus and head of Athena wearing a Corinthian helmet
© All rights reserved Melbourne Private Collection 2010 Australia
Akarnania, (Akarnanian Confederacy) c. 250–167 BCE, Thyrreion mint