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Numismatic Treasury: show me the money!



On 10 March 2016 the Georgian National Museum launched a permanent exhibition (to 10 March 2030) called Numismatic Treasury – and its all about money. The Simon Janashia Museum of the Georgian National Museum will showcase the country’s history of money circulation from the 6th century BCE to 1834.

Numismatic Treasury is an extension of the previous exhibition opened in 2013 in the Svaneti Museum. Now the collection will be accommodated in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, which will represent a large-scale unique collection that covers over 20 centuries of coin minting history.

The collection includes about 3,500 silver, gold, and copper coins, such as the Colchian tetri (the nations first coins) and the denarius of the first Roman Emperor Octavian. There are also coins used by the Bagrations, David IV the Builder, Queen Rusudan, and other noted kings and queens. Overall the museum has up to 100,000 coins, most of which were found within Georgia, with many unearthed during different archaelogical excavations.

Throughout history the form, size, weight, images, and inscriptions have changed to reflect the country’s economics, politics, culture, and foreign policy.








Ekvtime Takaishvili: the Keeper of the Treasure
In the basement of the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi is the Archaelogical Treasury. And the Keeper of the Treasure was Georgian Ekvtime Takaishvili.



Takaishvili (1863-1953) began his interest in creating a numismatic collection in 1888 when he was a member of the board of the Society for the Distribution of Literacy among Georgians. In 1907 he founded the Historical and Ethnographic Society of Georgia which was the amalgamation of three private collections – including Takaishvili’s own numismatic collection.

Therefore, in the early 1900s, there was a collection of rare Georgian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Russian Imperial coins. When Takaishvili arrived in France in 1922 in exile he was elected member of the Paris Numismatic Society. He shipped 39 boxes of coins from the Georgian treasury to Marseille and then to banks in Paris for safe-keeping. The 7,097 coins and 27 medals of various epochs were eventually returned to Georgia in 1944.

The current Numismatic Treasury has ancient Georgian, Greek, Roman, Parthian and Sassanian coins, as well as Georgian-Sassanian, Byzantine, Umayyad, Ab-basid, Ilkhanid, Seljugid, Iranian, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian coins.

The launching of the Numismatic Treasury in 2016 represents one of the best numismatic collections in the world.





MARTINA NICOLLS is the author of:- The Shortness of Life: A Mongolian Lament (2015), Liberia’s Deadest Ends (2012), Bardot’s Comet (2011), Kashmir on a Knife-Edge (2010) and The Sudan Curse (2009).


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