CS 1: Money Matters: Historia Numorum. Italy

Submitting Institution

University of Edinburgh

Unit of Assessment


Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Language, Communication and Culture: Literary Studies
History and Archaeology: Curatorial and Related Studies, Historical Studies

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Summary of the impact

Research by Rutter and collaborators led to the production of Historia Numorum. Italy, a handbook of the coinages of pre-Roman Italy. HNItaly has become a tool for coin dealers, museum staff, and archaeological services alike, used both to identify, value and market goods, and to identify, label, study, and display holdings for public appreciation. In addition, HNItaly has been employed in the training of numismatists world-wide, including in the worlds of commerce and trade as well as public security.

Underpinning research

The underpinning research was carried out by Keith Rutter at the University of Edinburgh between 1993 and 2002, in collaboration with colleagues elsewhere (Drs A. Burnett and M.J. Price, Coins and Medals, British Museum; Prof. M.H. Crawford, History, UCL; Dr A. Johnston, independent scholar). Rutter was the largest single contributor to the content of the main research output, Historia Numorum. Italy, and the principal editor of all the contributions to the volume. Rutter retired from UoE in 2004.

The research has put our understanding of numismatics in ancient Italy on a new footing. The research involved not only a critical analysis of all the relevant literature, but also the detailed study of the coins themselves in great national collections (such as those of the British Museum in London, the Cabinet des Médailles in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples), or small local collections rich in the material of a single mint. This work involved personal research especially in the UK, Italy, other European countries, and the USA.

The findings were published in various articles in edited specialist volumes, internationally recognised journals, and in a monograph (see 3a below): it culminated in Historia Numorum. Italy (London: British Museum Press, 2001).

HNItaly is a handbook providing a clear account (with up-to-date, often revised identifications) of the Greek and other local coinages of peninsular Italy. Most of the coinages treated belong between the archaic period and the Second Punic War, but a few mints continued an independent existence down to the late Republic or even the early Empire. The overall arrangement is geographical, making it possible to understand the non-Roman coinages of Italy at the level of a single community, a region, or Italy as a whole. Some 180 pages of catalogue are accompanied by over 40 plates. The catalogue draws on all the available material, whether in public or private collections or in the reports of archaeological excavations or in sale catalogues. This is the first time that the coinage of any area of the Greek world of comparable size has been catalogued so fully and provided with such a rich illustrative apparatus, and one of the particular strengths of the volume is its rigorous handling of the often thorny problems of chronology and attribution.

One of the distinctive features of the coinage of ancient Italy is the spread of coinage from the Greek world not only to Rome but also to numerous other non-Greek communities (e.g. Aquilonia in Samnium, Capua in Campania, Iguvium in Umbria, and Luceria in Apulia). Our understanding of the underlying process of cultural contact (including exchange especially on a social, economic, political and religious level), documented through the spread of coinage, has been greatly enhanced through Rutter's work. A specific example is the very different cultural and linguistic histories of, for instance, Campania and Apulia, which now stand out in sharp relief as a result of our changed understanding of their coinages through the research here described.

References to the research

All listed outputs are available on request from the University of Edinburgh.

a) Outputs:

K. Rutter, `La monetazione de Velia', in La monetazione dei Focei in occidente: Massalia, Emporion, Velia (Rome: IIN, 2002), 163-79.

K. Rutter et al., Historia Numorum. Italy (London: British Museum Press, 2001).

K. Rutter, `The coinage of Syracuse in the early 5th century BC', in R. Ashton and S. Hurter (edd.), Studies in Greek Numismatics in Memory of Martin Jessop Price (London: Spink, 1998), 307-15.

K. Rutter, The Greek Coinages of Southern Italy and Sicily (London: Spink, 1997).

b) Grants/Fellowships:

Robinson-Kraay Fellowship held at the Ashmolean Museum (Heberden Coin Room) and Wolfson College, Oxford, July-August 1997.

Details of the impact

HNItaly has been used by scholars of ancient numismatics and the history of the ancient, classical world across the globe. But it has also offered a means of bringing the research to a wider audience, thereby achieving multiple impacts in relation to wealth creation, public service and public discourse. The impacts are at times overlapping, especially concerning public discourse and public service. The impacts all occurred (and continue to occur) both in the UK and internationally, as specified below.

a) wealth creation:

HNItaly provides coin dealers world-wide with a means to identify their goods (i.e. coins from ancient, pre-Roman Italy). It is a necessary tool for their professional activities, providing the required know-how for marketing, advertising, and, eventually, pricing their goods: it is the single most important tool in this process concerning the Greek coinages of ancient Italy, as evidenced in coin sale catalogues world-wide. A good example is the catalogue for Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins auctioned in May 2013 (`Auction 72') by Numismatica Ars Classica NAC AG: whilst other identification tools were used with regard to individual coins, HNItaly was used consistently for all of the Greek coins from Italy that were offered for auction (`Greek coins' (Italy), nos. 282-296, pp. 3-13): http://www.arsclassicacoins.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/NAC-72-OK_1-64s.pdf [http://tinyurl.com/oh6kxan] Typical examples for the identification of coins according to HNItaly include a stater from Taras, auctioned by Numismatica Ars Classica AG (`Auction 72', 16-17 May 2013: i below), or a 25-as gold Etruscan coin, auctioned by Sincona Coin Auction AG Zürich (`Antike Auktion 10', 27 May 2013: ii below):

(i) Stater circa 302-300, AV 8.61 g. TAPAΣ Veiled head of Hera r., wearing earring and necklace; in r. field, dolphin swimming downwards and below neck truncation, KON. Rev. ΔIOΣKOPOI Dioscuri riding l. side by side, the first crowning his horse; while the second holds a palm lemniscata from which hangs a wreath. In exergue, ΣA. Vlasto 21 (these dies). Locker Lampson 14 (this coin). Weber 548 (this coin). SNG Lloyd 182 (this coin). Gulbenkian 37 (these dies). AMB 95 (this coin). Fischer-Bossert G 15c (this coin). Historia Numorum Italy 952. Very rare. A wonderful specimen of this intriguing issue of superb style, minor marks on obverse and on edge, otherwise good very fine [CHF] 25'000 (see 5.1; no. 287, p. 9).

(ii) 25 asses c. 380/350. Lion's head to r. with open jaw and protruding tongue; behind, ΛX - X. Rev. Blank. 1.48 g. Vecchi I 47.36. Sambon 2. SNG Copenhagen 36. SNG ANS 2. SNG Lockett 42. Historia Numorum Italy 128. Extremely fine. [CHF] 4'000 (see 5.2; no. 6, p. 16). Thus, the research has a direct impact on the market for coins from ancient Italy by affecting the activities of dealers and collectors: it allows these users to increase their earnings through correct and clear identification of their goods, followed by appropriate marketing and sale. The impact occurred between January 2008 and July 2013 (and is ongoing). The locations of sale houses that employ HNItaly in the UK and oversees document its national and international reach: e.g. A. H. Baldwin and Sons Ltd., in the UK (see 5.3); ArtCoins Roma, in Italy (see 5.4), Numismatica Ars Classica AG, in Switzerland (see 5.1); etc. The global reach is further enhanced through the use of HNItaly in additional or accompanying online sales and showings, for which the online portal NumisBids offers good examples (see 5.5, also 5.3 and 5.4).

b) public service and public discourse:

The impact on public service occurs in two quite different contexts - one of which (i below) is directly related to the study of numismatics, the other (ii below) not at all:

(i) HNItaly has since its publication provided the primary means through which museums and other institutions that hold a coin collection train numismatists (re: ancient Italy) world- wide. It is a necessary tool in the `apprenticeship' of current and future Keepers of Coins in institutions that hold a Greek coin collection, both in the UK and abroad (see 5.6). Moreover, the knowledge and expertise provided through HNItaly allows the correct identification of their holdings. HNItaly thus also facilitates further study and public display, which affords in particular visitors to institutions that hold a Greek coin collection an opportunity to appreciate the cultural heritage of ancient Italy.

The significance of HNItaly in the training of numismatists in a museum context is mirrored by its importance in the training of numismatists in the academic sector: the volume has provided the primary reference work throughout academia internationally for the training of numismatists in the study of the Greek coinages of ancient Italy. This is especially the case in Italy where the subject is taught more than anywhere else, but applies generally wherever numismatics is an academic subject. HNItaly also benefits the Italian Archaeological Service in its identification of coins from archaeological contexts, especially in the south of Italy (see 5.7).

In sum, HNItaly has become the single most important textbook in this sub-field of ancient numismatics, and is an indispensable training tool in academic settings, in museum contexts, and in archaeological service sectors. The impact is within and across numerous countries, as evidenced by the locations of the institutions and services that use HNItaly, including such diverse institutions as the British Museum in London, and the Soprintendenza Salerno-Avellino (see 5.6 and 5.7). The impact occurred throughout the period 2008-2013.

(ii) HNItaly has provided the primary reference work for the US Border Patrol in its effort at law enforcement concerning the import of ancient coinages into the USA. On 19 January 2011, HNItaly has been publicly named in the US Federal Register amongst the means of identification for coins potentially subject to illegal import into the USA. This was in response to a Diplomatic Note from the Government of Italy requesting the Designated List of archaeological material originating in Italy and representing the Pre-Classical, Classical, and Imperial Roman Periods, to be amended so that `import restrictions are also being imposed on a new subcategory of objects (coins)'; as a result, `the category entitled ``Metal'' has been amended to include the subcategory ``Coins of Italian Types.''' (Federal Register 76/12; 19/01/2011, 3012-3): HNItaly is listed as the type catalogue for this purpose with regard to the Greek coinages of ancient Italy (see 5.8).

Sources to corroborate the impact

All original web content and corroborating sources have been archived and are available through the REF3b wiki. Items marked with an * are available on request from the HEI.

5.1 Documentation of the use of HNItaly for the identification of Greek coins from Italy for auction purposes:
Numismatica Ars Classica NAC AG auction: Auction 72, 16-17 May 2013, Greek, Roman & Byzantine Coins, Zürich: http://www.arsclassicacoins.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/NAC-72-OK_1-64s.pdf [http://tinyurl.com/oh6kxan]

5.2 Documentation of the use of HNItaly for the identification of Greek coins from Italy for auction purposes:
Sincona Swiss International Coin Auction AG: Antike Auktion 10, 27 May 2013, Zürich: https://www.sincona.com/templates/images/muenzen/Kataloge/Sincona10s.pdf [http://tinyurl.com/nmpds7e]

5.3 Documentation of the use of HNItaly for the identifcation of Greek coins from Italy for auction purposes:
A. H. Baldwin and Sons Ltd, 11 Adelphi Terrace, London WC2N 6BJ, UK; e.g. Auction 80, 8 May 2013, Lot 2003 (HNItaly 579): https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=463&lot=2003 [http://tinyurl.com/ouwp2yz]

5.4 Documentation of the use of HNItaly for the identifcation of Greek coins from Italy for auction purposes:
ArtCoins Roma, Via del Babuino 89, I - 00187 Rome; e.g. Auction 7, 20-21 May 2013, Lot 11 (HNItaly 568): https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=473&lot=11 [http://tinyurl.com/nvd4jbv]

5.5 Documentation of the use of HNItaly for the identification of Greek coins from Italy in online sales and showings:
NumisBids Portal: https://www.numisbids.com/; e.g. Roma Numismatics Ltd, May Auction, 21 May 2013, Lot 15 (HNItaly 1805): https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=474&lot=15 [http://tinyurl.com/ol44ywe]

5.6 Verification of the use of HNItaly in museums and coin collections, including for the training of keepers of coins: * (contact details of) [text removed for publication]

5.7 Verification of the use of HNItaly in the Italian archaeological service sector:
* (contact details of) [text removed for publication]

5.8 US Federal Register, documenting the use of HNItaly by the US Border Patrol as an identification tool (for the Greek coinages of ancient Italy) since January 2011:
US Federal Register (Vol. 76, no. 12, 19/01/2011, 3012-14) - Extension of Import Restrictions Imposed on Archaeological Material Originating in Italy and Representing the Pre-Classical, Classical, and Imperial Roman Periods; A Rule by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Treasury Department: https: federalregister.gov/a/2011-882 [http://tinyurl.com/nulsfrk and http://tinyurl.com/nn99omm]