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Heads and tales from antique lands

Volume 6 Number 11 November 8 - December 12 2010

Katrina Raymond previews a rare glimpse of the treasures of the University’s coin collection and those of several Melbourne private collections.

The Ian Potter Museum of Art, at the University of Melbourne, will present a unique insight into the ancient world with the display of one of Australia’s finest collections of ancient Greek and Roman coins.

The exhibition will feature selected coins from the empires of the Greco-Roman world as well as examples from periods and regions beyond.

Classics and Archaeology Curator at The Potter, Dr Andrew Jamieson, says “the coins reveal fascinating insights into the history, culture and society of the time.

“In the ancient world, coins were an ideal way of depicting myths, disseminating information, reinforcing a political message or for propaganda purposes.

“Made of copper, bronze, silver and gold the ancient coins featured in this exhibition display unique aesthetic qualities, fine craftsmanship and intricate details on a small scale requiring close inspection.”

The exhibition features selected coins from the University of Melbourne’s extensive collection, and rare coins from several Melbourne private collections.

Many of the coins have never been publicly displayed, as their intricate details become lost in larger display cabinets.

The Potter has installed specially designed fixtures, which allow visitors to experience the ancient coinage in a clear and accessible manner.

Dr Jamieson says, “This exhibition gives people the opportunity to reflect on fascinating and complex cultures and ideas through the coinage of the ancient world.”

Ancient coins: heads and tales from antique lands runs from 23 October 2010 to 10 April 2011.