Brussels conference on posthumous fate of Greco-Roman coins

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April 6, 2017 – On 19 May 2017, the “5th International Numismatic Conference of the Coin Cabinet of the Royal Library of Belgium” will be organized in Brussels, focusing on the phenomenon of overstriking, reminting and the duration of circulation of coins in Antiquity. 

Overstrike: Postumus on Trajan. Photo: © Coin Cabinet of the Royal Library of Belgium.

As human beings, coins are born, live and die. Although we are well informed today in which quantities they were “born” and how they “lived”, we still know nearly nothing about how they “died”, i.e. when they stop to be legal tender. Literary sources are extremely scanty on this important historical issue and archaeological contexts often offer tricky interpretations. Most of the time, subtle strategies have to be built to determine when coins ceased to be admitted as coins. In these circumstances, overstrikes are a great resource for the Greek world. In Roman times coin reforms were very frequent especially from the 3rd century AD onwards. Reminting the existing monetary stock was probably a way to increase the state’s revenues but the mechanisms are not well understood. From the Middle Ages onwards, recalls of coin issues and reminting were regular practices. The English king Edward I even brought 400 additional workmen over from France and the Low Countries for his recoinage of 1300. It is the intention of this conference to offer a wide panorama on the “live” of coins, their survival and their disappearance in crucibles or deposits. 

Program of the conference:

  • 10.00: Robert Nouwen (Operational director): Welcome
  • 10:15: Fr. de Callataÿ and J. van Heesch: Introduction
  • 10.30: Martin Allen (Fitzwilliam Museum): Reminting in Medieval England
  • 11.00: Olivier PICARD (Institut de France): “Les séries monétaires” et nomisma: comment classer les monnaies grecques?
  • 11.30 – 11.45: Break
  • 11.45: François de Callataÿ (Royal Library of Belgium): Overstriking in the Greek world: a tentative overview
  • 12.15: Christophe Flament (Université de Namur): Les refrappes dans le monde grec: apports et limites des analyses métalliques
  • 12.45 – 14.15: Lunch
  • 14.15: Andrew McCabe (UK): Roman over Roman: revaluation overstrikes in the Roman Republic
  • 14.45: Clive Stannard (University of Leicester): The crisis of small change in central Italy of the second and first centuries BC, and the function of overstriking
  • 15.15 – 15.30: Break
  • 15.30: Bernard Woytek (Austrian Academy of Sciences): Overstriking and reminting in Roman provincial coinage: some preliminary observations
  • 16.00: Johan van Heesch (Royal Library of Belgium and KU Leuven): Overstriking in the 3rd entury AD: an overview
  • 16.30 – 17.00: Jean Marc Doyen (Lille University): Usure et obsolescence: deux fausses “bonnes raisons” à la refrappe des monnaies dans l’Antiquité


Participation is free of charge, but please confirm your presence by e-mail.
Lunch is offered at 10 EUR (by inscription only).

Scientific committee:

Fr. de Callataÿ (Royal Library of Belgium and ULB)
Chr. Flament (UNamur)
J. van Heesch (Royal Library of Belgium and KU Leuven)
K. Verboven (UGent)


Royal Library of Belgium – Bibliothèque royale de Belgique – Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Mont des Arts – Kunstberg (entrance in the back of the park), 1000 Brussels.

For more information, please contact Johan van Heesch by e-mail.

And this is the website of the Royal Library of Belgium.