A classics professor at the University of Buffalo, USA has discovered a significant collection of ancient Greek and Roman coins in the university’s library. The coins had been donated to the institution in 1935, but they had not been examined until recently.
Professor Philip Kiernan, found the coins on a shelf in the library where they had been left for years. “I must have been the first person to touch them in almost 40 years,” he said. He quickly asked specialists to examine and archive the coins.
The specialists quickly determined that the collection was not only real but it was also very important, since some of the coins were incredibly rare, for example one of them featured Roman emperor Otho who only ruled for 3 months. According to the official university announcement, they found “40 silver Greek coins, three gold Greek coins and a dozen gold Roman coins — one from each era of the first 12 Roman emperors, from Julius Caesar to Domitian.”
The collection was donated to the University of Buffalo 80 years ago by Thomas B. Lockwood, along with a number of rare books. According to Kiernan it is difficult to estimate the collections’ market value, however “their historical value is absolutely priceless.” One of the Greek coins portrays Alexander the Great as the god Herakles; another has an image of the Egyptian queen Arsinoe II.
At the moment, the professor is organizing a graduate course that will focus on studying the coins.