The KIKPE Numismatic Collection comprises over 4,000 coins acquired in Europe and the USA at international auctions houses and art dealers. The core of the collection consists of ancient Greek and Byzantine coins. The issuing authorities of the first cover almost the entire Hellenic and Hellenizing world, from Spain, South Italy and Sicily to the Hellenistic kingdoms founded on the morrow of Alexander the Great’s conquests from the Middle East to Northwest India.
The Byzantine section of the collection includes coins of almost all the emperors, as well as a wide variety of denominations and issues of mints that operated in different periods of the Byzantine millennium.
The collection possesses a significant number of Modern Greek coins of different alloys, as well as coins of Hellenic and Hellenized cities, which were minted during Roman imperial times. Acquisitions extend also to Arabo-Byzantine and Turkoman coins, coins of the Latin East, etc. Although these categories are represented by few specimens, they function as connecting links between the periods spanned by the majority of the coins in the collection.
The significance of the collection lies in constituting an inexhaustible source of the history of Hellenism. The representations engraved on the restricted surface of the coin flans are transmitters that emit their signal from the past, summoning the beholder to embark on a journey into time.
Principal feature of the KIKPE Numismatic Collection, apart from the time-span of its material, is the exclusive presence of bronze coins. The establishment of bronze coinage in antiquity was a major innovation in the history of the coin, which also reflects essential changes in human habits. This is indicative of the desire to enhance the role and the importance of bronze coins as a medium for facilitating everyday transactions. Coins of base metal were used by every social and professional class of a city or a region, acquiring their own dynamic.
The Collection’s specialization attests the systematic acquisition of coins and clearly defines the basic purpose of its formation, in the framework of the Foundation’s cultural work. The methodical manner in which the coins are selected, with basic consideration the diachronic factor, as well as iconographic or technical particularities, has resulted in a unique corpus that touches on diverse parameters of the history and development of bronze coinage.
The KIKPE Numismatic Collection is on long-term loan to the Benaki Museum and is presented to the public in Greece and abroad through exhibitions organized under the auspices of the museum.