Coins and Medals

Coins and medals – the numismatic collection – was one of the key founding collections of the Harris. Today, the collection numbers over 12,000 coins, medals, tokens and banknotes. Many of those with a Preston story are on display in our history gallery, Discover Preston.

The numismatic collection is varied – a mixture of locally-found items and carefully selected pieces from around the world, designed to give as representative a picture of the development of money as possible.

Collection areas include:

Greek and Roman coins from the Classical era to Late Antiquity;

British coins from the Saxon period to our current Queen;

Foreign, colonial, and Commonwealth coins – a varied collection, from the medieval period to the present day;

Tokens – mainly British trade tokens from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. It also includes love tokens, seals, jettons, counters and toy money;

Medals – a strong collection of foreign, national and local military and commemorative medals from the 17th to the 20th centuries and the local collection of commemorative medals including a large section relating to Preston such as Temperance medals and standard and trade medals from the Preston Guilds;

Bank notes from around the world.

The Harris is also home to several coin hoards, all of which – except Fleetwood and Prestwich – are on permanent display in Discover Preston:

  • Kirkham. 35 Denarii (silver coins in use from the start of Roman Britain until about the mid-third century) and one semis (a small bronze coin) of the early 1st – 3rd centuries AD. Buried in a Samian-ware pot between probably around the mid-third century.
  • Worden. A hoard of base radiates (small copper alloy coins distinguished by the emperor’s radiate sun-crown) of the 260s to early 280s AD.
  • Hackensall. A hoard of base radiates, similar to Worden, of the 250s to mid-270s AD.
  • Fishergate Hill. A small but eclectic mix of Roman coins from different periods and locations – possibly a modern, rather than Roman-era burial.
  • Brindle. Bronze coins from the 4th and 5th centuries AD – probably deposited at the turn of the 5th century, not long after the date of the latest coin.
  • Fleetwood/Rossall. A large hoard of silver siliquae (the very latest Roman silver coins to reach Britain) from the 4th and early 5th centuries AD, buried by the mid-5th century.
  • The Cuerdale Hoard. Viking, Saxon and Frankish silver pennies and hacksilver, buried between 905-910 AD and discovered by workmen in 1840. Before being dispersed, the hoard contained 40 kilograms of solid silver objects and coins – the largest such find in Western Europe to date. The Harris houses the largest portion of the Cuerdale Hoard in the North-west.
  • Prestwich Hoard. A portion of a much larger hoard of 1,065 English 12th century silver pennies, mainly from the reign of King Stephen, buried around 1145.
  • Lytham St Anne’s and Whittingham hoards. Two large groups of Tudor and Stuart coins in gold and silver.  Probably buried in the mid-1640s – the date of the latest coins – in response to disturbance caused by the English Civil War.

Researchers are welcome to make an appointment to view items from the collection in our study facility. Please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Help is also given in the identification of numismatic material (please note: we cannot provide valuations).
The Harris is listed on the Money and Medals Network directory – a nationwide collections mapping project run from the British Museum. Discover more about the Harris’ numismatic collection, as well as others around the country, here:

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