The Coin Cabinet and its collections
|The Coin Cabinet's specialist field includes money, medals and decorations. Its collection is older than the National Museum. Initiated in Academy of Turku in the mid-18th century, it was the only collection of the university to survive the Turku fire of 1827. After the fire, the collection was moved to Helsinki along with the University. It became a part of the National Museum in 1920. Currently there are two people working in the Coin Cabinet. In addition to the management of the collections, they also answer questions regarding monetary finds.
The Coin Cabinet's collection includes money from all over the world over a period of more than 2500 years. However, the main part of the collection consists of the Swedish and Russian money which formerly was used in Finland. In addition, the collection of Finnish money from the mid-19th century to the present day is almost complete. Already in the 18th century, the University's collection was supplemented with coins from the classical period, and in 2002 the Coin Cabinet acquired over 2000 ancient Greek coins when it received the collection of the SKOP Bank. Other special collections of importance] include the collection of Swedish coins bequeathed by H.F. Antell (1846-93); it is one of the best of its kind. The Coin Cabinet has from the start also collected medals, and it has an impressive collection of commemorative medals and medals for merit as well as modern art medals.
In addition to the numismatic material, the Coin Cabinet has in the recent decades also curated the National Museum's orders and decorations.
The Coin Cabinet's exhibition forms part of the National Museum's "treasury". It presents Finland's monetary history from Viking times (800-1050) onwards and concisely also the monetary types of the rest of the world. The medal exhibition displays Swedish and Russian medals connected to the history of Finland and Finnish art of medals from the 19th century onwards. There is also a limited display of foreign medals which starts from the beginning of medal art in Italy in the 15th century.
The exhibition also includes a collection of well-known Finnish and foreign decorations and temporary exhibition entities. The exhibition, which was opened in 1993, is being renewed in stages.
The Coin Cabinet's reference library includes almost all numismatic books which have been published in Finland and Sweden, and the aim has been to obtain also the most important foreign publications. Some literature is available regarding heraldry and seals too. In addition to the reference library, the Coin Cabinet also has antiquarian literature such as illustrated works on money and medals from the 17th and 18th centuries. The library is open to the public during office hours but please contact the National Board of Antiquities' library in advance of your visit.
Archive for money finds
According to the Antiquities Act, coins and other objects found in the ground have to be taken to the National Board of Antiquities if their owner is not known and they are suspected of being more than 100 years old. The National Board of Antiquities has the right to redeem the item. Only some of the finds are redeemed but the Coin Cabinet keeps documentation regarding finds in its archives, together with data on old and lost finds. Information from the archive is accessible by agreement.