barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


The Barber Institute is home to one of the finest collections of Roman, Byzantine, Sasanian, medieval Islamic, and medieval and modern Hungarian coins in the world, numbering more than 15,000 items. While selections from this are regularly on display in themed exhibitions in the Coin Gallery, the majority are housed in state-of-the-art storage facilities in the Coin Study Room. This room also provides access to the collection’s electronic catalogue, a specialist library numbering more than 2,000 volumes and facilities for private study and seminars. 

Coins and related artefacts can be browsed online at

The Coin Study Room was created thanks to the generous financial support of the Henry Barber Trust, the Friends of the Barber Institute and MLA West Midlands.

The study room is open to students, scholars and members of the general public, individually or in small groups, by prior appointment only.

The room has tables and chairs to facilitate private study or seminars

The Coin Study Area Regulations

  • Before using the resources of the Coin Study Room visitors must sign the Visitors Book.
  • Visitors must place all bags, cases, handbags and other luggage away from their desk, as instructed by the invigilator. Coats, etc, should be left in the Museum’s lobby or the Curator’s office on the ground floor, and not placed upon tables or seats.
  • Visitors must remain within the Coin Room unless escorted by a member of the Barber Institute’s staff.
  • It is general Barber Institute policy not to permit the use of personal stereo systems and mobile phones in the building. This rule applies to the Coin Study Room also.
  • Visitors examining coins or seals will be closely supervised at all times.
  • Closed circuit television with video recording is in use.
  • No more than one tray of coins or seals will be given to a visitor at one time.
  • Visitors must take good care not to damage or impair any object or book in the Coin Study Room.
  • Visitors wishing to compare their own coins or seals with those in the Barber Institute Coin Collection must obtain the consent of the Curator of the Coin Collection.
  • Personal photography is not permitted nor is the making of wax or other impressions (including rubbings) except at the discretion of the Curator. Any requests for consideration should be made in writing well in advance of a visit. High-resolution digital images of the Barber Institute coins and seals for publication or publicity purposes are available for purchase. Please address all enquiries to
  • A visitor may not leave the Coin Study Room until the invigilator is satisfied that the tray/s examined by the visitor is/are in good order.
  • In the event of a fire or security alert visitors will be required to follow all instructions given by members of the Barber Institute security staff and the invigilator. This will normally involve immediate evacuation.
  • Infringement of the Regulations may, at the discretion of the Curator of the Coin Collection, result in exclusion from the Coin Study Room.


Buried Treasures

Uncovering Hoards

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Inheriting Rome

Until 24 April 2016

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Coin Collection

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