The Numismatic Department of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts is celebrating its 75th anniversary. To mark the occasion of the establishment of this department as an independent structural unit of the museum 75 years ago, the Pushkin Museum opened an exhibit there in December 2020 with the title “Curators: The Fellowship of the Key.”
The exhibition acquaints the viewer with the history of one of the museum’s largest collections of over 220,000 items and tells the story of its most famous collectors and curators. More than 800 objects are exhibited, including coins and medals, orders and insignia, banknotes, gems and seals, and archival documents. This is the first time that the numismatic section of the museum has been presented so extensively. The department has its origins in the teaching collection of the Moscow University, where courses in numismatics and heraldry were taught since 1757.
Today’s numismatic collection has far outgrown the modest scope of the university collection of coins and medals and, together with the numismatic collections of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the State Historical Museum in Moscow, is one of the greatest coin collections in Russia. In connection with the decision of the Arts Committee of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR on May 4, 1945, the Numismatic Department was able to establish itself as an independent entity. The head of the department,
Dr. Sergei Kovalenko published an article on the occasion of this momentous anniversary, which reports on the curators who have grown together, as it were, into a kind of brotherhood as well as on various acquisitions. It can be accessed in Russian.
Of the collection, some 174,000 pieces have already been described in an internal database, much of which is also accessible online with images.