Union Académique Internationale

Fontes inediti numismaticae antiquae (FINA)

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Project nº83, adopted in 2013

The antiquarian approach is currently very much en vogue in numismatics. However, the development of the discipline from the 16th to the 18th century can be evaluated adequately only by taking into account not just the printed works, but also the manuscript sources: mainly scholarly correspondence, but also shorter treatises or manuscripts of books that were never published. This material is scattered all over the world in archives and public as well as private libraries and is largely unknown today; hence, it is frequently overlooked by scholars.

The international project Fontes Inediti Numismaticae Antiquae (FINA) has been created in order to remedy this. It is being coordinated by the Académie royale de Belgique (Brussels; Prof. Dr. François de Callataÿ) and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Vienna) and is under the patronage of the Union Académique Internationale (UAI). This project envisages the publication (also online) mainly of scholarly correspondences dedicated to ancient Greek and Roman numismatics, dating from c. 1500 to c. 1800: it was decided to limit the time frame to the end of the 19th century because Joseph Eckhel, the “Father of Ancient Numismatics” died in Vienna in 1798.

The Coin Cabinet of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna is one of the institutions with important numismatic manuscript material in their holdings ‒ the archives of the Coin Cabinet are being studied by the Austrian FINA team. From 2013 to 2015, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is funding the project „Joseph Eckhel (1737‒1798) and his numismatic network“ (P25282), directed by Bernhard Woytek (project co-worker: Daniela Williams). It aims at a publication (with a numismatic commentary) of a corpus of letters addressed to Eckhel, which are kept at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, together with all of Eckhel’s replies as far as they can be traced in international archives and collections. The analysis of this important material sheds new light on a period which was decisive for the development of numismatics into a scholarly discipline.