Richard Abdy

Curator of Roman and Iron Age coins

Department: Coins and Medals 


+44 (0)20 7323 8640

Richard Abdy helps to curate the Museum’s collection of Roman coins, and covers the middle imperial period of the second century AD through to Late Antiquity (late Roman and early Byzantine as well as the emerging 'barbarian' kingdoms). He is also responsible for the recording and reporting of the many Roman coin hoards discovered in England and Wales under the Treasure Act (1996).

He is interested in the world of the Roman Emperors in general – the notable historical events and personalities as well as evidence of daily life – and is particularly concerned with the way such information can be gathered from Roman coins and medals. Coins were as ubiquitous in antiquity as they are today. Whether lost by accident or buried for safekeeping, as offerings to the gods or in graves, their very survival has much to say about the people of the past. Their designs also carry the images and political messages of the emperors and empresses.

Current projects

Creating a new, updated and revised edition of Roman Imperial Coinage (RIC) vol. II.2, for the Emperor Hadrian

Editor and contributor for forthcoming publication on the Bath (Beau St.) Treasure (Archaeopress Archaeology, forthcoming)

Previous projects

Coins and the Bible (2013 exhibition with Amelia Dowler)

Public Image: Portraits on Coins & Medals (2004 exhibition with Ian Leins)

National Treasures: Icons to mark 25 years of the National Heritage Memorial Fund,1980–2005 (2005 Great Court display)

Recent publications

R. Abdy and A. Dowler, Coins and the Bible, (London, Spink, 2013)

R. Abdy, R., ‘The Severans’ and ‘Tetrarchy and the house of Constantine’ in (W. Metcalf ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Coinage, pp.499-513 & pp.584-600, (+appendix, 663-5), New York, OUP, 2012.

R. Abdy, E. Besly, and F. López-Sánchez, (eds.) 2010. The Gloucester Hoard and other coin hoards of the Britannic Empire; Coin Hoards from Roman Britain Vol. XIII. Moneta, Wetteren, 2010.

R. Abdy, 'The Domitian coin from Chalgrove: a Gallic emperor returns to history' in Antiquity Volume 83, issue 321, September 2009, pp.751-757.

R. Abdy, Roman Army (British Museum Pocket Dictionaries), London (BM Press, 2008).

R. Abdy, ‘In the pay of the Emperor: coins from the Beaurains (Arras) treasure’ in Constantine and Britain, E. Hartley et al (eds.), (London: Lund Humphries, 2006)

R. Abdy, ‘After Patching: imported and recycled coinage in 5th-6th century Britain’ and ‘A catalogue of hoards and single finds from the British Isles c. 410-680’, with G. Williams, both in: B. Cook and G. Williams (eds.) Money and History in the North Sea World: Essays in honour of Marion Archibald (Leiden: Brill, 2005)

R. Abdy, Romano-British Coin Hoards (Shire Archaeology 2002; 2nd edition 2011, now Bloomsbury Press)

R. Abdy, ‘A Survey of the Coin Finds from the Antonine Wall’ in: Britannia, xxxiii (2002), pp. 189-217