Head, Barclay Vincent

Full Name: 
Head, Barclay Vincent
Date Born: 
Date Died: 
Place Born: 
Ipswich, England, UK
Place Died: 
London, England, UK
Home Country: 

Numismatist and Keeper of the Department of Coins and Medals, British Museum; his Historia Numorum changed the study of Greek coins by studying them systematically. Head was educated at Ipswich Grammar School, entering the British Museum in 1864. He became joint editor of the Numismatic Chronicle in 1869 and married Mary Harley Corkran (d. 1911). He held the Chronicle editorship until 1910. In 1873 he began to publish the major catalogs of the Greek coin collections at the British Museum. In the end, he wrote eight of the nearly thirty volumes in the series. In 1887 he issued his most important work a general history on Greek coinage under the title Historia Numorum. This treatise proved invaluable to archaeologist and scholars outside the field of numismatics and a second edition appeared in 1911. He retired in 1905. His work was continued by George Francis Hill, later a Director of the British Museum. He held honorary degrees from the universities of Oxford, Durham and Heidelberg. A prize was established at Oxford in Head's honor in 1910, the first recipient being Edward Stanley Gotch Robinson, later of the British Museum.

Selected Bibliography: 
Historia Numorum: a Manual of Greek Numismatics. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1887; and Poole, Reginald S. Catalogue of Greek Coins: Attica-Megaris-Aegina. London: British Museum, 1888; and Poole, Reginald S. Catalogue of Greek Coins: Macedonia, etc. London: British Museum, 1879; Catalogue of Greek Coins. Corinth, Colonies of Corinth, etc. London: The British Museum, 1889; and Gardner, Percy, and Poole, Reginald. Catalogue of Greek coins. The Tauric Chersonese, Sarmatia, Dacia, Moesia, Thrace, etc. London: British Museum, 1877.
[obituary:] A Great Coin Expert. Death Of Dr. Barclay Head. The Times (London). June 13, 1914; p. 5.