Numismatic Collections

Explore our Numismatic Collections - A newly developed online searchable database supported in part by the State Historical Society of Iowa Historical Resource Development Program.

In addition to extensive archaeological and ethnographic collections, Luther College also possesses a substantial collection of historical currency and commemorative tokens, which is referred to as the Anthropology Lab Numismatics Collection.

The study of coins, called numismatics, has had a great impact on historical studies. Researching the distinctive features of coins such as inscriptions, metal composition, and depicted images are excellent ways of learning more about a particular culture. The origin of the word numismatics comes from the Greek word numos, which means "current coin."

We are currently conducting a detailed inventory and updated catalog of over 600 historic coins, currency, and tokens that date from the 1600s to early 1900s. Much of this collection was donated to the Luther College Museum between 1890-1930. These objects are available for viewing by appointment. Check out a couple numismatic pieces featured on our online exhibit To the Cage and Back.

Liberty in History Second Floor
By Meta Miller, museum studies minor ('21)
This exhibit draws of the Anthropology Numismatics Collection to highlight the past and current trends in depicting Lady Liberty on American currency. Check the online version of this exhibit.