Philip Attwood

Keeper of Coins and Medals

Department: Coins and Medals


+44 (0)20 7323 8260 


Philip Attwood is Keeper of the Museum’s Department of Coins and Medals. The department holds one of the world’s finest numismatic collections, covering the history of coinage from its origins in the seventh century BC to the present day, and includes related material such as paper money, tokens and coin weights. It also has one of the world’s finest numismatic libraries.

Formerly Curator of Medals, Philip retains direct responsibility for the Museum’s unrivalled collection of around 70,000 medals, comprising commemorative and art medals from the Italian Renaissance to contemporary works produced today by artists around the world. Philip’s work has focussed particularly on Italian sixteenth century and British nineteenth century medals, but he has also written numerous articles on other medallic subjects.

He also coordinates the Modern Museum Group, whose members include all those working within the Museum with an interest in its modern and contemporary collections.

Previous projects

Modernism in French medal design (1997) Reflections of Glory: the medallic art of 16th-century Italy (2002) Medals of Dishonour (2009), with Felicity Powell. This focussed on the medal as an indicator of dishonour and notoriety, with historical medals shown alongside contemporary examples by internationally renowned artists.

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

President of the Fédération Internationale de la Médaille d’Art

President of the British Art Medal Society and editor of the society's journal, The Medal, which contains articles on historical and contemporary medals and their makers

Honorary curator of the medal collection of the Worshipful Company of Cutlers, London

Recent publications

P. Attwood, Hard at work: the diary of Leonard Wyon 1853-1867 (London: British Numismatic Society, 2014).

P. Attwood and F. Powell, Medals of Dishonour, exhibition catalogue (London: British Museum Press, 2009)

P. Attwood, Badges (London: British Museum Press, 2004)

P. Attwood, Italian medals, c.1530-1600, in British public collections (London: British Museum Press, 2003).

P. Attwood, British art medals 1982-2002 (London: British Art Medal Trust, 2002)