The coin collection of the Museo Nazionale Romano (Rome) is undertaking a new publication series for publishing the Roman coins from the important collection of Francesco Gnecchi (1847–1919). Bernhard Woytek will initiate the series with a volume on the coinage of Nerva and Trajan.

Francesco Gnecchi

The Milan-born industrialist and painter Francesco Gnecchi (1847–1919) was one of the most important numismatists of the late 19th and early 20th century. Together with his brother Ercole, in 1888 he founded the »Rivista Italiana di Numismatica«, still in print today, and both brothers were also amongst the founding members of the »Società Numismatica Italiana« (1892). Francesco Gnecchi built up an outstanding collection of Roman coins, which at the time of his death comprised approximately 20,000 objects. Important information regarding their provenience is available for part of the collection: the coins originate in part from excavations in Rome itself. In 1923 the collection was purchased by the Italian state, which stores it in the coin collection of the Museo Nazionale Romano (MNR). The collection of the MNR is therefore one of the most important worldwide for ancient Roman coins.

Gnecchi als Wissenschaftler

Gnecchi exploited his own collection for his extensive numismatic activities. In addition to a large number of contributions to the »Rivista Italiana di Numismatica«, two works must be mentioned first and foremost for the ancient coins: the popular, richly illustrated little introduction »Monete romane«, which appeared in a number of editions (3rd improved and expanded edition, Milan 1907) and which was also translated into English, and the monumental three-volume work »I medaglioni romani« (3 volumes, Milan 1912). Even today, the latter represents the most comprehensive reference work for Roman medallions – the often large-format, ornately worked presentation pieces of the Roman emperors.


The new Project

The eminent significance of the Gnecchi Collection is based on the one hand on the fact that it contains not a few unique pieces and variants of Roman coins. Further, Gnecchi cited many unedited pieces in his own writings, whereby they are often referred to as reference examples in the later literature. Nevertheless, almost one hundred years after being purchased by the Italian Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione, the collection as such is still unpublished.

This lacuna is now being closed by a research initiative begun by the Museo Nazionale Romano, the aim of which is the first systematic treatment of the complete complex of material of the collection. To this end, a separate publication series will be founded, which is conceived as a special series of the »Bollettino di Numismatica«.

The series will be initiated with a bilingual monograph (English/Italian) by Bernhard Woytek, devoted to the Roman imperial coinage from the reigns of Nerva and Trajan (96‒117 A.D.). In addition to a completely illustrated catalogue, the volume will contain an extensive introduction as well as detailed commentaries on the most significant objects.

Die Reihe wird durch eine zweisprachige Monografie (englisch/italienisch) von Bernhard Woytek zu den römischen Reichsmünzen der Regierungen von Nerva und Traian (96‒117 n. Chr.) eröffnet, die neben vollständig illustrierten Katalogen auch eine umfangreiche Einleitung sowie detaillierte Kommentare zu den wichtigsten Stücken enthalten wird.


Principal Investigator

  • Maria Gabriella Angeli Bufalini (Museo Nazionale Romano)


Museo Nazionale Romano, Münzkabinett


since 2016