About the collection

The John Max Wulfing Collection at Washington University in Saint Louis comprises an outstanding assemblage of c. 16,000 ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine coins along with many other items that span the world’s monetary history.  John Max Wulfing (1857-1929) was a native St. Louisan and amateur scholar of ancient numismatics who actively participated in the rich intellectual life of his chosen field, Roman coinage. 

As a part of St. Louis’ rich numismatic heritage, the collection also seeks to document the region’s economic and cultural history even as it remains focused upon the ancient Mediterranean world. Since Wulfing bequeathed the Collection’s core holdings in 1929, it has continued to grow through both donations and acquisitions and it now ranks as one of the largest college or university collections in North America.  

Together with a small supporting (non-lending) research library, the collection serves as a critical repository of important numismatic material and related items that allow dedicated scholars and students to investigate the economy, culture, and history of the ancient Mediterranean world and far beyond. 

Introduction to the John Max Wulfing Coin Collection

William Bubelis and Sarantis Symeonoglou introduce the exquisite John Max Wulfing coin collection and share some ancient Athenian highlights.

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In the Collection No. 1 (April 2021) “The Inaugural Entry: How a Curator is Made”

In the inaugural entry for In the Collection, Prof. William S. Bubelis introduces himself as the Curator and sets the agenda for future blogs.

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Beyond the Collection No. 2 (May 2021) “Counting Athena”

Even the coins we think we know best are full of surprises and reward a closer look. In this post we will look at one of the most familiar series of coins the world has ever known, the silver 'owls' struck by Athens c. 440-404, from the height of its hegemony over much of the Greek world to its terrible defeat in the Peloponnesian War at the hands of Sparta and its allies.

Support the Wulfing Collection

If you would like to support the Collection in any way, please contact Toni Reel at Arts & Sciences Alumni and Development.

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