About Numismatic Nudes

As a young man, my grandfather was already a serious coin collector. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, he sold much of his collection for $3,000 — a princely sum — to help support his family. Twenty years later, Grandpa had rebuilt his collection. I was a boy. He would pull out coins to show me and talk about how to catalogue and file them.

Some years ago, I bought a set of Olympic coins. Images of nude athletes competing in their chosen sports were sculpted throughout the set. Some of those images were based on the historic Athens’s Panathenaic Games (566 BC to the 3rd century AD) from as far back as 530 BC. I became curious. Just how common were nudes featured in numismatics?

Naively, I thought the search would be simple and short lived. After the passing of a couple of decades, however, I have discovered that the search is essentially without end. Realizing this fact, I brought my search to an end, and to that end I created Numismatic Nudes for the enjoyment of numismatists around the world.

Numismatic Nudes is a collection of coins (ancient and modern), exonumia (medals and tokens), and currency (paper money and bank notes) featuring the human figure — gods and goddesses, men and women, babies and children — either fully or partially nude. Nudity has been a recurrent design theme for 2,700 years, beginning with early Greek coinage.

Whether it is a coin, a medal or token, or currency, a great story revolves around each piece. History is alive in these inanimate objects and hopefully comes to life for you on the pages of Numismatic Nudes.

One last thought: Many of these numismatic items are, indeed, impressive works of art created by competent, and even great, artists. Use our search tool (upper right corner) on Charles Barber, Paul Dubois, Adolph A. Weinman, Alexander Calder, Abram Belskie, Max Svabinsky, and Gottlieb Saarinen, and witness examples of small, splendid artwork. Enjoy the experience of discovery and visit often as new items continue to be added. Keep in mind that there is no end!