Sir John Evans Centenary Project - image background is marbled paper from one of John Evans's books John Evans Numismatic Society Medal 1899

Sir John Evans's Coin Collection

Sir John Evans's coin collection was of considerable size and value in intellectual and real terms. His father Arthur Benoni Evans had begun to take an interest in numismatics and started collecting coins about 1832. By 1834 Arthur Benoni was purchasing coins and cabinets to house them in, specialising in classical coins. He then 'gave John all his copper tokens, three books on the subject and ten shillings towards a cabinet for them'. (Time and Chance). In 1843 when Evans was just 20 John and John Dickinson visited the British Museum, and then in 1844 John and his father visited the British Museum and it was John who introduced Arthur Benoni to William Vaux (later to become the first Keeper of Coins and Medals) and not the other way round. By 1847 he had to order a cabinet which would hold 1,900 coins. John's source of coins came from many directions - personal contact, pawnbrokers, jewellers and auction sales. When he got too busy to attend the auctions he asked dealers to go for him. Coins of the Ancient Britons was published in 1864, for which he was awarded the Prix Allier de Hauteroche of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in Paris.

Part of the Evans coin collection and the related archive are still within the holdings of the Ashmolean Museum's Heberden Coin Room. They include, among others, Iron Age, Roman and English coins many of which were of British origin.

View a selection of coins from the Evans Coin Collection

Coin from Evans' Collection Coin from Evans' Collection

Further References / Links:

Joan Evans, Time and Chance: The Story of Arthur Evans and His Forebears (1943)