Numismatic collection

Numismatic collection


The collection of coins is distinguished not only for the diversity in groups, but, first of all, for the abundance of material found in Armenia, which gives an opportunity to present Armenia as one of the most important areas of coin circulation and international transit trade.

The collection includes diverse coins from the 5th century BC to the 20th century: Greek, Achemenian, Hellenistic, Hellenistic Armenian, Roman, Byzantine, Sasanian, Arabian, Medieval Armenian, Crusaders’, Seljuk, Georgian, Mongol, late Persian, Ottoman, Russian and European.

In 1921, after the Museum was founded, the ancient coins comprised an insignificant part of the museum objects. However, first large numismatic “injections” were made during the next ten years. In 1922, owing to Y. Lalayan’s efforts, the Museum replenished its collections by the invaluable materials of the Armenian Ethnographical Association of the Caucasus and the museum collections of the Lazarian Seminary of Oriental Languages in Moscow. Both collections contained invaluable ancient coins. In 1926, materials from the Ani Museum, with about 1,700 coins among other objects, excavated in this famous medieval city, were saved from loss and brought to the History Museum of Armenia. In 1929-1931, the numismatic collection from the Echmiadzin State Museum was transferred to Yerevan.

The Museum has replenished its numismatic collections by purchases and donations. Gifts were especially abundant in the 1960s-1980s, owing to many patriotic individuals and organizations of the Diaspora. The contributions of the Armenians from the Diaspora are so essential that the Museum owes the wonderful collections of Cilician coins and replenishment of many other collections (Greek, Roman, Parthian, Arabic, Byzantine coins, French medals) to their efforts. Over 1,700 donators from the Diaspora and Armenia participated in the creation of the national numismatic collection.

>Systematic archeological excavations in Armenia that started from the 1930s also enriched the numismatic collections at the Museum. The most important part of the medieval collections was formed owing to systematic archeological excavations in Armenia. Hundreds of coins have been found in Dvin. Later, they were enriched by Hellenistic, Roman and medieval coins dating from the 4th century BC to the 14th century AD found from the excavations in Garni, Artashat and other settlements.

The discovery of hoards contributed greatly to the study of coin circulation in Armenia in different periods. Especially famous are the Hellenistic silver coins hoard from Sarnakunk (1945), the Byzantine and Sasanian silver coins hoard from Dvin (1955), the Byzantine gold coins hoard from Norashen (1979), the Sasanian and Arabic silver coins hoard from Sissian (1986), as well as tens of other hoards of Arabic, Seljuk, Mongol, late Persian, Russian, Turkic and West-European coins.


The first large collections of banknotes and stamps were received in the 1920s, when the State Bank and the Central Post handed to the History Museum of Armenia the banknotes and stamps that were taken out of the circulation. Now the collection of banknotes includes issues of the 18th-20th centuries of numerous countries, among which especially valuable are the payment means of various states and governments that functioned on the territory of Armenia and former Russian Empire in 1918-1922.


The collection includes the issues of 1918-1922 of the First Republic of Armenia, the issues of 1921-1923 of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia, as well as the newest issues of the Republic of Armenia, starting from 1992. The collection comprises numerous examples issued in dozens of countries in the 19th-20th centuries.


The collection includes Armenian and European medals, decorations and badges, dated from the 17th century until our days.

Of special interest are the medals dedicated to memorable events and personalities of the Armenian history. 900 French silver medals of the 16th-20th centuries, whose copies were made by original dies at the Monnaie de Paris, occupy a particular place in the collection.