Banknotes held at The British Library


04 May 2016
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Discover more about the major collections of banknotes from around the world held at The British Library

Very few people are aware that the British Library possesses several major holdings of banknotes from around the world, and the largest is part of the Crown Agent’s Philatelic and Security Printing Archive, which is under the curatorial responsibility of Philatelic Collections.

Although the philatelic part of the archive has been well researched by philatelists and other academics in the past, and continues to be used extensively, the paper money has hardly been referred to. Therefore, in order to raise awareness and to make the banknotes more accessible for research, the philatelic curators have been working on cataloguing each note, and these details will soon be available online.

The paper money part of the archive comprises approximately 4,100 bank and currency notes, issued by 48 separate monetary authorities worldwide.

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It is planned that the banknotes will be publicly exhibited within one of the British Library’s philatelic cases by late summer 2016, so that visitors to the library will be able to view them.

Researchers wishing to consult this banknote archive in detail can do so by appointment with the Philatelic Collections at the British Library, e-mail: [email protected]

You can read much more about the British Library's Banknotes Collection in the June 2016 issue of Stamp & Coin Mart, on sale from 13 May 2016.