About Us

Department of Numismatics and Monetary History

The Department of Numismatics and Monetary History at the University of Vienna is the only autonomous university department of this orientation in Europe. At the same time, it is the only place where it is possible to study the subject of numismatics and monetary history in its full methodological and technical variety, covering all eras from antiquity to the modern period. Due to its expertise on coins, medals, monetary symbols and monetary equivalents covering all periods and cultures, as well as the associated political, economic, social and cultural questions, the field of numismatics and monetary history is firmly established in numerous key research areas of the Faculty. Furthermore, it significantly contributes to the basic research profile of the University of Vienna, especially in the fields of classical studies and medieval research. The range of courses extends from extension curricula for students in bachelor’s programmes to a doctoral programme in numismatics. The Department offers around 30 hours of numismatic teaching per week, and provides various networking opportunities, as well as useful complimentary courses for almost all degree programmes.

Through its extensive study collection, specialised library, catalogue collection and the “Numismatische Zentralkartei” (NZK, numismatic central catalogue) – including around 1.5 million coins documented in photographs - the Department offers working opportunities that are unique in the world and that international academics regularly make use of. The Department has an extensive national and international network with all institutions working in the field of numismatics – not least through its graduates. In many ways, the Department’s influence extends beyond the University and academia. The Department regularly offers summer schools that are targeted at international early stage researchers.


The Department’s collection traces back to the numismatic reference collection (“Numismatischer Lehrapparat”) at the University of Vienna, which was started in 1898 on the initiative of Wilhelm Kubitschek (1858–1936), who was Professor of Antiquity Studies. It numbers more than 30,000 objects, excluding castings, such as plaster casts.

The collection encompasses coins spanning ancient to modern times, medals and related objects, as well as different special collections. Coins from the Middle Ages and the modern period as well as medals have been added to the collection not before the second half of the 20th century.

Due to the history of the collection, the general collection is particularly rich in objects from antiquity with particular emphasis on non-ferrous metal coins excluding precious metals. The collection only contains a small number of coins from the Middle Ages. With regard to modern coinage, the period from the modern age until the present day is strongly represented.

Apart from a small number of older objects, the primary focus of the paper money collection is on the 20th century. The substantial collection of Austrian paper Notgeld notes (necessity money) from the period after World War I is complemented by a large collection of Bavarian paper Notgeld notes.

Medals (mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries), token coins and jetons are some of the youngest objects in the collection. In addition, the collection comprises seals, coin weights, coin dies as well an extensive collection of modern counterfeits.

Our most important special collection is the collection assembled by Josef Brettauer (1835-1905), an ophthalmologist who lived in Trieste. It was donated to the University of Vienna after Brettauer’s death. The Brettauer collection comprises almost 7,000 objects on the topic Medicina in Nummis. The collection also includes ancient coins with depictions of Salus, but it primarily comprises medals from the Renaissance period until 1905. Its high level of completeness with regard to this period is a special characteristic of the Brettauer collection. Moreover, most medals are in mint condition.

Further special collections include plaster casts and other castings of coins, for example from the estates of Andreas Alföldi (1895–1081), Rudolf Paulsen (1883–1966) and Friedrich Stefan (1886–1962).

Further Information...

The Digital Coin Cabinet of Department of Numismatics and Monetary History

Project management: Reinhard Wolters, Hubert Emmerig
Editorial: Hubert Emmerig, Martin Baer
Programming: Jürgen Freundel, Ilmenau

Academic Staff and responsibilities

Martin Baer, Hubert Emmerig, Simone Killen

With collaboration of Agnes Aspetsberger, Mika Boros, Johannes Hartner and many others (cf. Mitteilungsblatt des Instituts für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte).

See each object entry's print view for details.
Layout: Goldland Media
Maps: Goldland Media, Dr. Jürgen Freundel

This project is in cooperation with the Münzkabinett der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin. The database and online catalogue are based on http://ikmk.smb.museum with shared data administration for the NUMiD-Project for the semantic web.