In 1935 the Museum of the Order of St John was given a collection of 754 coins by Colonel Sir Edwin James King, a Knight of Justice and Librarian of the Order of St John, in memory of his deceased wife, Mildred King. Colonel King had bought the coins from various European dealers over the previous fifteen years, taking advantage of the fact that many large collections had been dispersed, including those of Archduke Sigismund of Austria, Prince Philip of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and the Prince of Furstenburg.[i]
The coins that compose the Mildred King Memorial Collection can be broadly categorised as crusader coins dating between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries. Many of the kingdoms and principalities established by crusaders in the eastern Mediterranean are represented. Coins from Cyprus make up the largest proportion of the collection, but coins from Achaea, Antioch and Jerusalem are also numerous. Smaller numbers of coins come from Cilician Armenia, Beirut, Edessa, Sidon and Tripoli. You can find out more about each of these areas by exploring the links below.
These coins have until now never been published in full,[ii] but the collection is comparable in size and spread to the other major collections of crusader coins in UK institutions, including the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford),[iii] Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge) and the British Museum (London), and is the first to be made available online.
The Museum also holds a substantial collection of coins relating to Grand Masters of the Order of St John in Rhodes and Malta.
King, E. J., 1936, An Unpublished Catalogue of the Mildred King Memorial Collection in the Museum of the Order of St John.
Metcalf, D. M., 1995, Coinage of the Crusades and the Latin East in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (London: Royal Numismatic Society and the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East)
Metcalf, D. M. and Willis, P. J., 1979, ‘Crusader Coins in the Museum of the Order of St. John, at Clerkenwell’ in The Numismatic Chronicle, seventh series, vol. 19. 133-138.
[i] King 1936, ii
[ii] A selective catalogue of 111 of the more interesting examples were published in Metcalf and Willis, 1979
[iii] Metcalf 1995