The Dresden Münzkabinett (Coin Cabinet) comprises nearly 300,000 objects. It is one of the largest and oldest universal coin collections in Germany and is due to its holdings of European significance. Since the closing of the permanent collection in the Albertinum in 2004, small fractions of the collection could only be seen in special exhibitions. On June 7, 2015 the Coin Cabinet has opened a completely new, long-awaited permanent exhibition and herewith returned to its original location in the Georgenbau in the Residenzschloss (Royal Palace). At the same time, a next step in the reconstruction of the Royal Palace was completed.
On 350 m² exhibition space, about 3.300 objects illustrate the diversity and historical importance of coins and medals. Among others, the collection holds the largest collection worldwide of Saxon numismatic objects. It also comprises coins from all countries from antiquity to present times, historical and modern medals, orders and insignia, banknotes and historical bonds, coin and medal dies, seals, models, pre-monetary means of payment as well as minting machines and equipment.
The permanent exhibition begins in the first room with Mining and Coin Minting in Saxony, a presentation narrating the history of more than 900 years of coinage in the Meissen-Saxony area. The silver deposits in the Erzgebirge mountains provided the foundation of the wealth of Saxony, which was also expressed through demonstrations of princely prestige.
The next room, The Cosmos of Money, traces monetary development from antiquity to the modern era. The history of coinage in Germany and the broader European context is explored chronologically from ancient times to the present day, while closer insights into the dual aspects of the coin as bearer of information and means of payment are provided. The narrative arc spans several monetary epochs, from the ancient drachm to the euro of today. Alongside the paper currency also displayed here as an important form of money, a range of associated objects illustrate the topics of minting techniques and coin collecting.
The room dedicated to Medals and Orders tells the story of the development of the art of the medal from the Renaissance to the present day. The changing artistic styles of this art form, a special type of relief sculpture which first emerged in Italy in the 15th century, is illustrated by outstanding examples from Saxony, other parts of Germany, and Europe. There is, for example, a particular focus on the “Histoire métallique” during the heyday of the Baroque medal in France and Saxony. Another section of this room is devoted to orders, decorations and awards of merit as a specialist field.
In the Elbsaal, eight different thematic aspects of Money and related objects, each in its own vitrine, are vividly shown in a presentation which breaks with the predominantly chronological approach of the exhibition design. Topics highlighted include coins and their materials, unusual forms of money, and original names for coins. The triumphant progress of the world’s most successful currency, already in existence for nearly half a millennium, is narrated under the title From taler to dollar. Other exhibits include scales and weights, forgeries, jetons and counters, and coins which are still used in superstitious practices and traditional customs and coins incorporated in jewellery.