Gifts of ancient coins enrich UQ Antiquities Museum

29 Nov 2016

Ancient coins have recently enriched the collection of the RD Milns Antiquities Museum at The University of Queensland.

A gift from local resident John Glynn in memory of his late father, Noel Glynn of Dublin, Ireland, has enabled the museum to purchase a rare and spectacular electrum 25 Litrai coin of Agathokles of Syracuse, weighing only 1.9 grams.

C.260 Electrum litra of Agathokles of Syracuse, 310-305 BC. Purchased from Antiquarius, Auckland with funds from Mr J Glynn, Brisbane in memory of his late father, Mr N Glynn of Dublin, Ireland, 2016.

Mr Glynn and his family hope the coin will inspire future generations of students at UQ.

“It’s our fond wish that this coin may kindle interest in Sicily and the Hellenistic age, or just in ancient history in general for future students,’ Mr Glynn said.

The coin was minted between 310 and 305 BC to pay Sicilian mercenaries used in campaigns against the Carthaginians, who sought to control the island of Sicily.

One side of the coin shows the god Apollo wearing a laurel wreath, while the other shows a Kithara with four strings, accompanied by the word “Syracuse” in Greek letters.

The coin was purchased from an Auckland based dealer and was originally purchased on the London Art Market in 1996.

A second gift, the personal collection of retired UQ Associate Professor Dorothy Watts AM recognises her significant achievements and contributions to the Antiquities Museum and to the discipline of classics and ancient history at the University.

Dr Watts was pleased to donate her collection to the museum for use by future generations of students and researchers.

“I am very aware of how important coins are in the teaching and research of ancient history,” she said.

The collection features several fine examples including a silver coin of the emperor Gordian III dating to AD 241-243, an early silver coin of the Persian empire dating to 450-330 BC and a silver coin of the Celtic Iceni tribe in Britain dating to AD 45-50.

The coins were all purchased in London or Brisbane between 1990 and 2000.

Further details of the gifts can now be found on the RD Milns Antiquities Museum’s online catalogue.

This article was first published by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.