The National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest numismatic collections. Up until it closed in August 2004, the collection was located in the National Museum of American History on The National Mall in Washington, DC. The collection has over 450,000 coins, medals, and decorations and over 1 million pieces of paper money. While pieces have been used for education programs and have appeared in other displays, there was no numismatic collection on display since.
Starting on December 8, 2005, the Museum of American History will exhibit “56 rare and historically significant artifacts from the Museum’s National Numismatic Collection—more than half of which have never been on view or have not been displayed for many years. Coins, bills, medals and captivating oddities—such as pattern designs, fantasy coins and homemade clam shell money from the Great Depression—will be on display.” This is a rare opportunity to see coins like a 1913 Liberty Head nickel, one of five known to exist and a 1907 Saint-Gaudens ultra high relief Double Eagle—from Augustus Saint-Gaudens‘ original design as commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt.
The museum will have a companion website that will also debut with the opening. You can visit the site at http://americanhistory.si.edu/coins. It is a good reason to come and visit your nation’s capital.