Ancient coin: a token of tangible in digital era

Ephorate of Antiquities of Larisa, Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports (Greece)

Money has always made the world go round. Coins, symbols of prosperity and economic development, are also symbols of political strength. Ancient coinage in any given time period has certain similarities, conveying messages and establishing the power of its issuing state across the world. Starting from the Athenian Drachma, and moving on to the Macedonian Tetradrachm, the Roman Aureus, the Byzantine Solidus, the Spanish Doubloon, or the British Pound, reaching the contemporary US Dollar or the possible future global reserve currency of the Chinese Yuan, coins are depictions of the power of empires and states, where religion, politics, economics, and military strength are intertwined.

Ancient coins are among the most prominent exhibits in a museum. Certainly, a key factor in a museum's charm is to comprise ‘authentic’ objects, which provoke the viewer to experience the entity of the object and to approach and interpret it accordingly. Although, the accessibility of museums is not possible for everyone and especially nowadays, due to the recent serious health crisis caused by COVID-19. Now more than ever, the emphasis on representing ancient coins in digital environments is essential, not only to members of the scientific community but also to everyone who seeks even digitally the experience of ‘authenticity’. This alternative digital museum is a new way of managing the cultural information of the past. In this new environment, coins are not only meant as archeological finds or works of art, but one can experience them, defying their material existence, as ideas of the past projected in the present, concepts of economic life, memory, common identity, culture and history of the civilization across eras and geographical regions. Eventually, ancient coins, tangible and cultural heritage objects of the past, contribute to intellectual prosperity.