The Bode Museum on Berlin’s famous Museum Island is home to one of the world’s largest numismatic collections. Known as the Münzkabinett, or “coin cabinet,” it was originally owned by the Electors of Brandenburg in the mid-16th century.
Part of the current Berlin Coin Cabinet’s collection dates all the way back to 1649, which includes about 5,000 antique coins and the like. The museum boasts over 500,000 items today, a fifth of which are coinage from the ancient Greco-Roman world.
As the collection is enormous, only a small portion of it is exhibited at the Bode, but its selection is diverse and of excellent quality, making it easier for visitors to imagine its full extent. In addition to an impressive display of medieval and Renaissance-era German coins in silver and gold, there are emergency money, counterfeits, tokens, medals, stamps and weights, you name it.
On March 27, 2017, the Berlin Coin Cabinet fell victim to a huge theft—quite literally. A trio of thieves, including a former security guard at the Bode, stole a Canadian “Big Maple Leaf” gold coin that weighed 100 kilograms and was worth several million dollars. Though they were arrested three years later, the coin is believed to have been lost, likely melted down for bullion.
Know Before You Go
The best way to see the Bode Museum is through a three-day combination pass, which includes entrance to other gems on Museum Island.