Numismatic Collection


The Numismatic Department of Plovdiv Regional Archaeological Museum boasts a collection of 60,000 coins, dated VI c. B. C. - XX c. A. D. The department is constantly enriching its fund either through acquisition from various archaeological excavations or by buying out coins from private collectors.

The earliest coin emissions are represented by electrum and silver coins (archaic and classical type) cut out in the towns of Kyzikos, Athens and the Island of Thassos. They came into circulation in the Upper-Thracian Vallley in the period of VI - IV c. B. C., through the exchange of merchandise along the Maritza river valley and the road system in the Rhodope Mountains. The Numismatic Fund of the Museum treasures a considerable number of coins minted by various Thracian towns as well as by rulers and tribes, inhabiting the Aegean coast and the inner part of Thrace. It also contains imitations of the tetradrachms of Maroneia and the Island of Thassos, from II - I c. B. C., with decoratively depicted human and animal images.

The earliest coinages in the ancient Philippopol belong to the II B. C., when the town was called Odriza and produced bronze coins with the image of Heracles, the holly animal – bull and an inscription - WDRISWN.

A substancial part of the numismatic treasure of the Archaeological Museum is comprised of coins minted in the period of I - V c. A. D. Philippopolis was the first town in the inner part of Thrace that began to mint the so-called "pseudo-autonomous" bronze coins. The Emperors Domicianus (81 - 96), Trajan (98 - 117) and Hadrian (117 - 138) gave permission to the town to issue coins without the mediation of the Roman legates, temporarily governing Thrace. Alongside with the coins, the Museum collection holds a considerable amount of medallions, issued as commemorative signs to eminent representatives of the Emperor in the province or to town notables. In some periods they were also used as legal tender.

The minting of coins in Philippopolis in I c. A. D. began under the rule of Emperor Domicianus (81 - 96). Under the rule of different Roman emperors, the images on the coins and medallions minted in Philippopolis were generally related to the location, religion and history of the town in the period of I - V c. A. D. They represented deities worshipped by the Thracian people, such as: Bendida (also identified by the Greeks as Arthemis), Orpheus, Apollo Cendrisian, Eumolpius, Dionysus, as well as the Hebros river with boats sailing, the Rhodope mountains, and town-protecting deities. Coins and medallions representing scenes from the Alexandrian and Pythian games organized in the town during the reign of Caracalla (198 - 217) were also minted. Their inscriptions on the coins reveal that the games themselves were financed by the Thracian Union and province funds.

In the Middle Ages (VII – XV c.) Plovdiv continued to play a leading part in the historical development of Bulgaria as an economic, commercial and cultural center. The Numismatic Fund of the Museum holds collections of gold, electrum and bronze coins from that period, minted under the rule of different Byzantine emperors. These treasures were all found on the territory of Plovdiv and the region around it.

A collection of gold, silver and bronze Ottoman coins of different face values is an essential part of the Numismatic Fund. These coins, dating from the period of XV - XIX c., represent almost all Ottoman Sultans. The Numismatic Department also holds an impressive collection of West-European coins, typical for the period of XVI - XIX c., issued by different European rulers.

The Numismatic Department Fund also displays a coin collection, issued during the XX c. by official Bulgarian authorities.



Bronze coin of the Odryss Thracian tribe (II c. B. C.)

    Gold treasure found in the village of Gornoslav, Plovdiv district, dated to XI - XII c. A. D., which consists of Byzantine coins minted under the rule of Alexius I Comnenus (1081 – 1118), John II Comnenus (1118 – 1143), Manuel I Comnenus (1143 – 1180), Andronicus I Comnenus (1182 – 1185)