Digitalization of ancient coins

Supported by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation) Uppsala University Coin Cabinet has digitized its collection of ancient coins, in total some 5000 pieces. This is a first step in a long-term project aiming to make the whole collection of Uppsala University Coin Cabinet available online.

The project was undertaken from 2014 to 2017 as a collaborative effort between the Uppsala University Coin Cabinet, Gustavianum and Uppsala University Library.  The latter assumes responsibility for long-term handling and storage of project information within its alvin framework. This ensures maintenance of the data in a long-term perspective. A common platform means that all components of the database, such as search engines or database software, can be upgraded as technology develops. It also means that the system will not depend on individual persons, as its preservation is institutionalized.

Integration of the numismatic data into Alvin means that the collections of Uppsala University Coin Cabinet will become available far beyond the ordinary outreach of a coin cabinet. Alvin establishes connections in new, creative ways, between collections of archives, libraries and museums. Thus, our numismatic collections are re-introduced in their historical frameworks. Alvin will also become an important online resource for students at Uppsala University.

All coin-images at can be downloaded and used both commercially and non-commercially free of charge.

Project manager: Ragnar Hedlund

The project was generously funded by the Swedish Central Bank’s Tercentenary Fund (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond), the Swedish foundation for humanities and social sciences.

All roads lead to Rome - or how to find coins in the Alvin database

At present (October 2015) we have published some 1000 Roman Republican and Imperial coins in the Alvin database ( - and more appear (almost) every day! So be sure to check out our progress…

It is going to be a big collection so we thought we should give you some guidance through the collections. Probably the most obvious way of searching for Roman coins would be to search for individuals known from the history books, for instance Gaius Julius Caesar. To find him, just search for his name in the main search field or klick the link to his authority file in Alvin: Then, click the "search for resources" link to the top let to have all the resources shown that are related to Gaius Julius Caesar in the Alvin portal.

We have also tagged certain objects with various keywords in order to create smaller  ”theme collections” in the database. It is really simple, just type in the keyword(s) in the search field and Alvin will present a number of objects belonging to the theme. While keywords in general have previously been used to tag coin posts in internet databases, we have for the first time attempted to use The National Library of Sweden's list of svenska ämnesord to identify topics of the coinage in the conventional manner in libraries.

We are very curious to learn how you like browsing our holdings. Below are the themes accessible in the collections now:

Famous Romans

Type in this keyword to see the portraits of Pompey the great, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony and others!

Roman Emperors

This keyword gives you the finest portraits of all the Roman emperors in our collections (as of now, this goes to Domitian).


In the Roman age, coins presented the most effective way available to spread messages from the authorities to the people. Victories, new buildings in Rome, ceremonies - they are all there on the coins. Type in this keyword to see a selection of coin images on the topic.

Roman Coin Types

Ever wondered about which kind of coins the romans used? Use this keyword to find out…

Fake Roman Coins

Ever wondered what a fake Roman coin looks like? Type in this keyword and take a look!