Explore Pierre Willemart’s Numismatic Collection in our Museum!


It will be understood that Pierre was what might be called an exceptional numismatist: He collected coins not because they were valuable but because they meant something valuable.

                                                                          Hélene Willemart – Crasnopolski

          January 2009

Specialised in numismatic studies, Pierre Willemart observed the rich history of Anatolia in depth during his trips with his wife Hélene. In the 1960s, they colorized their trips with a fascinating interest towards coin gathering.

A comprehensive inventory of educator, historian besides his numismatist identity, Pierre Willemart’s unique collection, donated to Suna & İnan Kıraç Foundation and comprising coins of states on the Eurasian belt from Macedonia to China and extending from 5th century B.C. to date. Apart from the identification of different coins, the collection also offers a pleasant historical journey for its audience. Some of the examples from Willemart’s unique collection which includes almost 600 coins, accompany the balance weights in the chronological exhibition of Anatolian Weights and Measures Collection.


Obverse, Ioannes Komnenos II, Constantinopolis, Hyperpyron, 1118-1143

The coin that can be seen in the image is a Byzantine hyperpyron. With the new coinage regulations inherited during the reign of the emperor Aleksios I (1081-1118), the newly introduced hyperpyron started to be used. Corresponding to 4, 30 g in terms of its mass, hyperpyron left its mark on the period of almost a hundred years between 1092 and 1204.

On the obverse of the coin which can be dated back to the period of Ioannes Komnenos II (1118-1143), the bearded figure of Jesus is enthroned. Jesus is depicted with a certain type of clothing, a short-sleeved kolobion with the Holy Bible in his left hand. While one hand holds the Bible, the other blesses people with a specific gesture. The letters IC – XC around his head form a Christogram, which is a monogram, meaning “to be victorious” or “to conquer”.


Reverse, Ioannes Komnenos II, Constantinopolis, Hyperpyron, 1118-1143

On the reverse, an imperial figure is accompanied by the Virgin Mary with a halo around her head. They both hold a long stick placed between them, and the stick is decorated with a patriarchal cross on top of it. The imperial figure is depicted with an embroidered and long clothing named loros and he holds an akakia with his right hand, symbolizing the mortal nature of mankind. The Virgin Mary, however, wears a maphorium which is quite typical of Medieval clothing style.

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