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Numismatics in Sicily


As in other Italian regions, in 16th century Sicily began the development of an interest in ancient coinage. The 16th century antique trade had recovered through coin iconography the portraits of kings and the princes of antiquity. Instead, the first scholars of sicilian numismatics considered coins as historical documents. From Filippo Paruta (1552-1629) and Vincenzo Mirabella (1570-1624) to Gabriele Lancillotto Castelli Principe di Torremuzza (1727-1792), men of noble origin but active in both political and social life, came the development of a continuous period of study which outlined a method of scientific research and laid the foundations for Sicilian numismatics as monetary history, which has an important role in the general history of the populations which have inhabited the island.   After the unity of Italy the archaeologist and numismatist Antonino Salinas (1841-1914), director for 40 years of the Museum of Archaeology in Palermo, dedicated himself to the growth of the numismatic patrimony of the museum, convinced that the Institution should illustrate Sicilian history from ancient to contemporary times. From there, after a short period, the reorganisation of the Museum of Syracuse and the work of the Rovereto archaeologist Paolo Orsi, became fundamental for the protection of Sicilian numismatic riches. The coinage collection of Syracuse would subsequently be enriched with excavation discoveries, donations and acquisitions of large collections such as that of Barone Pennisi di Floristella. G. E. Rizzo (1865-1950) archaeologist and numismatist, a refined and expert connoisseur of ancient art, with his “Monete greche della Sicilia” (1946) has written the most beautiful volume which has celebrated the art of Sicilian coinage of the 6th – 5th century B.C.

In parallel to the most noted collectors and numismatists a myriad of minor collectors, of enthusiasts and archaeologists, both Italian and foreign, have contributed to the creation in Sicily of a significant number of coin collections (see attached published list on the Numismatic State Portal (Portale Numismatico dello Stato). These collections together with the largest coin collections of Palermo and Syracuse, and of no less importance the collections of Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Enna, Messina and Ragusa make Sicily one of the Italian regions which can boast amongst the most rich, varied and chronologically broad numismatic patrimonies, for the most part still unknown.

Concise presentations of Sicilian coinage are in the progress of being printed on Compte Rendu which will be distributed to participants of the 15th International Numismatic Congress in Taormina 21-25 September 2015.

IL Medagliere del Museo “Antonino Salinas”

Caltanissetta- La Collezione Numismatica del Museo Regionale


Milena (Caltanissetta) - Antiquarium "Arturo Petix"

MILENAfoto1-Akragas Aquila e granchio con didascalia

Il Medagliere del Museo Archeologico Regionale di Gela


Marianapoli (Caltanissetta) – Museo Archeologico Regionale

MARIANAPOLIfoto4-Moneta punica Testa femminile e cavallo stante didascalia

Camarina - Museo Archeologico Regionale


Museo Archeologico Regionale di Agrigento

Ak 3

Messina – Museo Interdisciplinare Regionale "M. Accascina"

Caligola sacrificante

Siracusa - Medagliere del Museo Archeologico Regionale “Paolo Orsi”