barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

50 Years – A Celebration of the Coin Collection


The Barber is temporarily closed due to COVID-19.


In 2020, the Barber celebrates the golden anniversary of its coin collection – one of the most significant in the world.

Scholars and numismatists, Geoffrey Haines (1899 – 1981) and Philip Whitting (1903 – 1988), each left their vast collections of a combined 15,000 pieces to the Barber with the condition that the coins were used for ‘educative purposes’.

This 50th-anniversary exhibition honours their wishes and introduces the fascinating world of coins – miniaturised artworks and historical documents – to today’s visitors.

Through visually engaging and appealing objects, this year-long exhibition explains the basics of the study of coins and aims to answer the questions non-specialists might have about this niche, but revelatory, subject.

Find out how much an ancient coin might have bought, where and how it was made, and discover the story of how these coins came to be part of a museum here in Birmingham.

Free admission.

Sights of Wonder

Digital exhibition - From Friday 12 June 2020

Learn more

CORNWALL AS CRUCIBLE – Modernity and Internationalism in Mid-century Britain

19 February – 17 May 2020

Learn more