Using coins for classes

These are the current policies and procedures for using coins from any of the numismatics collections housed in Stanford Libraries’ Department of Special Collections & University Archives. The primary focus is on their use in classes in the Special Collections classrooms.

Classes: selection of coins

Faculty should first contact Kathleen Smith ( or Benjamin Albritton ( on selecting coins that will be used for their class from those that are already cataloged online from the Cantor Arts Center collection (or other collections): Cantor Arts Center collection of ancient coins, circa 5th century BCE - 15th century CE

Please note: There are currently three pre-assembled sets of coins from the Cantor Arts Center collection that may be requested for classes. Each set will come with a numbered list of all the coins in that set. Each coin on the tray will have a corresponding number. The sets that will be ready for spring term 2020 are as follows:

  • 1. Numismatic Study Set 1: Ancient Greece and the Hellenistic World
  • 2. Numismatic Study Set 2: Roman Republic
  • 3. Numismatic Study Set 3: Roman Imperial #1

As the coins must be used in one of our teaching spaces (e.g. Barchas classroom) under staff supervision, faculty must book a reservation for that class through Special Collections’ Public Services division in order to use cataloged coins. Reservations can be secured by emailing Public Services staff at

Paging & using coins for research or classes

  • No individual coins or coin trays (for the prearranged study sets) should be kept overnight in the reading room, departmental workspaces, or classrooms.
  • The appropriate coin(s) or coin tray (for sets) needs to be paged by departmental staff on the day of use and returned the same day to the coin cabinet in the vault.
  • Coins should be counted going out and counted upon return - checked against the listing (for sets).
  • Classes may use one of the prearranged study sets - but a staff member must be present during the class to ensure all the coins are accounted for immediately before the class is dismissed.
  • If a faculty member wishes to construct a small set from other cataloged coins, they will need to contact us at least a week or two ahead of time so we can put a temporary tray together for that specific class.
  • Individual patrons must sit at the front table for studying coins - in view of the reference desk. They may only have one coin at a time.
  • Nitrile gloves must be used (if there is no protective container).