I promised to tell you of my numismatic experiences in Britain during my past visit. I thought I would start with the greatest repository of coins in the world, the British Museum.
I found the displays to be somewhere between mediocre and disappointing. There is one room devoted to Banking and Monetary systems, and includes examples from seeds and beads to credit cards. However, there is a similar museum in Brussels that puts this one to shame.
I was looking for coins of the Anglo-Saxons, one of my specialties. I found three coins - an Aethelred II that was way inferior to ones in my collection, an Alfred the Great about equal to mine and a nice Aethelstan, which I do not have.
Roman coins were spotty.
The best way to see coins in the British Museum is to request access to the Study Room. You fill out a form and request the specific coins you want to see. You ask for a specific time and date for admission. You are given instructions on accessing photos and accession numbers so that you can identify the coins you wish to see. If approved, your will be notified and given instructions on when and where to go to gain access. I had planned to look at a number of silver pennys from the Stamford mint. But I had to cut my trip in half and decided that my wife and son would not enjoy sitting around while I used one of our precious days in London looking at old coins, so I did not apply.
The British Museum is definite a MUST SEE place, even if their display of coins is not what one would hope for. Their display of Roman glass was fabulous, and I got a number of photos for a presentation on the subject I am preparing for the local ancient coin club.
Next I will write about a place that really had nice displays of Roman coins. I won't tell you where, yet, but you should be able to guess.