Welcome to the pages of Numismatic Nudes. As the medal on our masthead plainly states, “IN THE IMAGE OF GOD CREATED HE HIM.” The celebration of that image has been portrayed in numismatic design down through the ages. Artisans minted early western coins around 700 BC in Aegina, an island off the coast of what is now Greece, by placing a blank metal disk, heated red hot, on a die, covering the disk with another die, and striking it with an iron mallet to emboss an image—often off center. Those images were of animals considered either sacred or used as commodities.
At some point in the evolution of coin design, as well as in societies, the nude made its appearance. As no surprise, these early coins depict the bodies of gods—Neptune, Jupiter, and Hercules, for instance—in muscular poses of victory and conquest. Rulers, at the time, loved associating themselves with these gods, and the coins were an affirmation of that relationship. Also popular were images of warriors and athletes in action, scenes that remain popular to this day.
Numismatic Nudes is a collection of coins, medals, and currency, ranging from ancient themes to contemporary representations. In some instances, they are not that far apart. The items shown on these pages are from my own limited, personal collection, intended to be a research resource (not for sale). The collection continues to grow in both acquisition and content. My goal is twofold: to establish a unique footnote in numismatic history and be able to view my own collection (which otherwise resides in a dark, bank vault).
Other numismatists have added nudes to their collections. Numismatic Nudes features month-long exhibits of up to 10 related items from guest collectors, adding to the archives on this subject. This will help broaden awareness of just how important a design element nudes have played in the crafting and appreciation of numismatics.
Additional information and historical updates are encouraged and will be included as space permits.
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