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Absa Money Museum reopens


World’s most complete SA numismatic collection once again on show

Absa will mark International Museum Day on 25 May, 2011 with the reopening of the Absa Money Museum – South Africa’s only money and banking museum – at its new home at Absa Towers West in the Johannesburg CBD.

Formerly the Absa Group Museum, the new Absa Money Museum has been completely overhauled to present the most complete collection of South African numismatic items in the world in a dynamic, functional space that pays homage to the country’s history through money.

“It’s absolutely fascinating that the history of our country – who we are, where we came from and where we stand today – can also be traced through our currency. Coins and notes provide a tangible view of how a country has changed over the years and visitors now have the chance to see that,” explains Absa Art Curator, Dr Paul Bayliss.

The museum houses a rare collection of trading instruments, such as cowrie shells, tokens, coins and bank notes that date back to the 1930s. While Absa inherited a number of collections when it was formed in 1991 through the merger of United, Volkskas, Allied and TrustBank, the bank has consistently added to these collections since then to preserve this part of the country’s heritage.

The result is an intriguing collection of local numismatic items that includes highly specialised collectors’ pieces such as a 1926 proof set of six South African coins (pennies and shillings) – one of only 16 sets originally minted and believed to be one of only four sets in existence today.

“Pieces like these make this a national heritage collection. They are part of our history and if they hadn’t been preserved, these items would have been lost to international collectors. This, and other never-seen-before collections, are now on display at the new Absa Money Museum,” says Dr Bayliss.

The museum also tracks the evolution of money and banking in South Africa from early trading instruments to modern day technological advancements.

All visitors to the Absa precinct at 15 Troye Street, Johannesburg, will be able to visit the museum. These include tour groups, school groups and members of the general public (booking is essential).

The museum is open Monday to Friday (08:30 – 16:00) and access is free. A tour guide is provided for groups (maximum of 15 people).

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