Numismatic museum opens at Yale University

The Yale University Art Gallery, the western hemisphere’s oldest university art museum, has opened the doors of its new numismatic museum.

With more than 120,000 artifacts from ancient times through the present day, the Bela Lyon Pratt Gallery of Numismatics now holds the largest numismatic collection of any U.S. university. Named for Bela Lyon Pratt, a sculptor and medallist educated at the Connecticut-based Ivy League school, the gallery features 16 display cases with about 260 artifacts from its holdings.

One of the ancient coins, a rare brass sestertius issued during the Roman Empire, features the emperor Trajan, the namesake of Trajan Publishing, CCN’s parent company. The coin’s obverse shows Trajan, who ruled the Roman Empire from AD 98-AD 117, while the reverse depicts the Circus Maximus, a former chariot-racing stadium and 150,000-seat entertainment venue.

“You can see nearly every feature of the building,” Benjamin Hellings, the gallery’s associate curator of numismatics, told YaleNews, the university’s official blog. “Can you imagine the effort it took to engrave all of that detail?” While the museum opened to visitors in May, you can browse the artifacts online at artgallery.yale.edu/numismatics.

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