Originally there was no intention of creating a numismatic collection at the imperial library. The sale of the very extensive collection of a person in Colmar was the determining factor in its creation in 1873. At the beginning of the century, the City of Strasbourg, which owned a substantial collection, deposited the 14 000 items it contained with the library. The entire numismatic collection at the BNU currently contains 39 000 coins, medals and other items in coin form. The coins are divided into an Alsatian collection of 10 000 coins, plus tokens. French coins: 5 800, of which 2 500 from Lorraine. German collection: 5 500 coins and banknotes. Roman coins: 4 900, of which 4 200 were found in Alsace and in Lorrain during the Annexation period. Greek coins: 1 700. Coins from the Arab world: 500. In addition to these collections there is also a collection of 1 250 Muslim stamps and monetary weights in glass, and a collection of copies of Alsatian seals on various media.
It is only the collection of Alsatian coins that receives any new acquisitions, from antique dealers.
The collection of Alsatian coins has been digitised and put online in 2003, under the heading "Alsatian coins and medals" ("Monnaies et médailles d'Alsace").
These collections may be consulted on justified application to the curators in charge of the collections.
For more information:
Lang, Madeleine. Le Cabinet numismatique de la Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg. In: Cahiers alsaciens d'archéologie, d'art et d'histoire, 1960, p. 129-142.