01 September 2021
Find out more about the Royal Numismatic Society, the UK’s foremost society for numismatics – the study of coins, medals and related currency items - which was founded in 1836.
The Royal Numismatic Society is pleased to be an official partner of the All About Coins 2021 Festival of Coins.
The Society was founded in 1836 as the Numismatic Society, dedicated to the study of what was then termed ‘Numismatic Science’. Much of what still characterises the Society was laid down in these early years: regular meetings, a wide and international Fellowship, and the publication of a regular periodical, The Numismatic Journal (soon after changed to its present title, The Numismatic Chronicle).
In 1904, under the presidency of the great antiquarian and numismatist Sir Arthur Evans, we received our Royal Charter; the plain old ‘Numismatic Society’ became the Royal Numismatic Society. Her Majesty The Queen is our patron to this day. We remain the UK’s oldest and most prestigious learned society dedicated to the support and promotion of numismatic study in all its forms.
Our Fellowship is large and varied. We welcome applications from anybody with an interest in numismatics – be they collectors, students, or those working in museums, universities or similar institutions. Fellowship comes with a range of benefits, including a regular newsletter on Society news.
Our meetings, open to both Fellows and non-Fellows, take place monthly between October and June. Speakers come from a range of backgrounds and disciplines; in the 2019-20 season, we enjoyed talks on subjects as varied as the coinage of the Roman usurper Carausius, seventeenth century traders’ tokens, and the special role of silver in the 19th century China trade (see the Meetings page of our website for more).
This year, restrictions on in-person meetings required that we take our AGM online for the first time; our President, Roger Bland, delivered his annual address on ‘Problems in Ancient Numismatics II: Single finds versus hoards: what kinds of information can we gain from them?’ via Zoom, the recording of which can be found on the Festival of Coins webpage. It was pleasing to see many of our international Fellows tune in – so much so, that we intend to record more of our talks in future.
Further benefits of Fellowship include use of the ever-expanding RNS library, housed at the Warburg Institute alongside the library of the British Numismatic Society, which provides access to all manner of numismatic publications and periodicals, many of them scarce editions. Our Librarian, Brad Shepherd, is always happy to hear from Fellows in need of particular volumes or suggestions for new purchases. We also make available a number of research grants, each designed to support innovative research happening in various areas of numismatics. Both Fellows and non-Fellows alike are warmly encouraged to apply.
Another major feature of the Society’s work are our regular publications:
The Numismatic Chronicle, published annually, is one of the most important numismatic periodicals in print today, showcasing research in all areas of numismatics from antiquity to the present. Volumes 1-9 (1836-1869) are available freely to all, while RNS Fellows have free access to volumes 10-177 (1870-2016) on JSTOR.
Our ongoing series of Special Publications, now numbering 57 excellent volumes of ground-breaking research, are available to Fellows at a discount upon their release. This year saw the publication of SP 56, Metallurgy in Numismatics 6. Mines, Metals, and Money: Ancient World Studies in Science, Archaeology and History (ed. by Kenneth A. Sheedy and Gillan Davis), SP 57, by Clare Rowan, Mairi Gkikaki, and Antonino Crisà on Tokens: Culture, Connections, Communities, and SP 58, ‘The Hidden Treasures of this Happy Island.’ A History of Numismatics in Britain from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment by Andrew Burnett. We were pleased to make Rowen et al’s SP 57 available for all to download from our website, completely free of charge.
Find out more about the RNS
Visit the website for a selection of useful links and resources which provide a gateway to other numismatic activities in Britain and around the world. You can also find out more about how to become a member and the benefits of membership. numismatics.org.uk