The Hayes Collection of Ancient Coins

During September 1967, Archdeacon Edward Leo Hayes made the arrangements which saw his vast collection of books, manuscripts, documents, anthropological and geological specimens and assorted realia sent to the University of Queensland. The collection left an invaluable legacy to UQ's Fryer Library and anthropology museum.

In the fiftieth anniversary of UQ's RD Milns Antiquities Museum, Senior Museum Officer James Donaldson outlines Father Hayes' contribution to the Antiquities Museum's collection of ancient coins.

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The Hayes collection of ancient coins consists of fifty one individual coins. In 1979, when first added to the museum collection, they represented a significant increase to the number and range of the museum's coin holdings; the donation remains the largest single coin donation in the museum's history.

In particular, the Hayes coins represent a substantial part of the museum's late Roman collection. Of the twenty emperors represented in the Hayes coins (from Hadrian to Justinian), ten of these, including notable figures such as Commodus, are not represented by any other coin in the collection.

The oldest coin in the collection is a bronze Tetradrachm from Alexandria, minted in 112 AD by the Emperor Trajan, while the youngest coin dates to 602 AD and was minted in Byzantium by the emperor Justinian I (pictured).

One of the most interesting coins from the Hayes collection is a small Roman coin called a Follis, depicting on the front, the goddess Roma wearing a helmet and cloak and on the back, the Roman she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus (below). This type was minted by the emperor Constantine the Great around 330-331 AD and matched issues commemorating the foundation of Constantinople (modern Istanbul) as the capital of the eastern Roman Empire.

Coins from the Hayes collection have been used in teaching activities for the last 35 years. Countless school students from Brisbane and many generations of undergraduate students have used these coins in their studies of the ancient world.

- James Donaldson.


The R.D. Milns Antiquites Museum is open to the public 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday and is located on Level 2 of UQ's Michie Building. The exhibition Then and Now: Fifty years of antiquities 1963 to 2013 explores the history of the museum and the people who have shaped its collection. For more information visit the museum's new website.

Last updated:
11 April 2016