Art & Culture

Parisian Museum of coins and medals

The nature of every person has something special and unique, a taste for something what another may consider not interesting and useless. Tell me: do many of us take a great interest in numismatics? Probably not! But, nevertheless, there are people for whom ancient coins and medals are, perhaps, the breath of life. And these people, certainly, would visit with great pleasure one of the oldest museums in France – the Cabinet of coins and medals (Cabinet des Medailles et Monnaies) – being in Paris.

This interesting museum is located under the roof of the National Library of France and it contains a rich collection of over half a million artifacts from all over the planet. There are rare and unique medals, coins, jewelry and adornments among them.

History of the museum began many centuries ago when the King Charles IX had created a special position in the Royal Household – the keeper of the royal coins and medals. And each his successor maintained this position and increased the collection of jewelry, coins and medals, which eventually had became the richest in Europe.

Significant stocking of the depository was received in 1765, thanks to a rich collection of antiquities of the famous French art historian and archaeologist Count Caylus. Also the museum received a collection of pre-Christian artifacts that were kept at Sainte-Chapelle.

In 1846 a buried treasure related to the V-VI centuries was discovered (about a hundred of ancient coins and other gold items) in the town of Gourdon, which had also become a part of collection of the Cabinet des Medailles et Monnaies. Later the museum received a collection of Greek coins of Louis XIII favorite Charles d’Albert duc de Luynes.

Today Parisian Museum of coins and medals offers its visitors the opportunity to see many unique items, including the Husraw Bowl of gold and crystal (6th century), the largest in the world cameo (1st century), the Bowl of Ptolemies of sardonyx (1st century BC).

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