Cotton, Robert Bruce - A not of such Books and Bundells of paper in the Lower study that are not inserted in the Catalogy

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Robert Bruce Cotton, London

Cotton, Robert Bruce - A not of such Books and Bundells of paper in the Lower study that are not inserted in the Catalogy
FINA IDUnique ID of the page  15245
TitleTitel of the book. A not of such Books and Bundells of paper in the Lower study that are not inserted in the Catalogy
InstitutionName of Institution. London, British Library
PlacePlace of publication of the book, composition of the document or institution. London 51° 30' 26.41" N, 0° 7' 39.54" W
InventoryInventory number. Add. MS 35213, f.42
AuthorAuthor of the document. Robert Bruce Cotton
CollectorCollector. Robert Bruce Cotton
Catalogue dateDate when the catalogue was issued: day - month - year .
LanguageLanguage of the correspondence English
Associated personsNames of Persons who are mentioned in the annotation.
LiteratureReference to literature. Sharpe 1979, pp. 66-71, Archibald 2006, p. 1792, Burnett 2020b, pp. 145-63
External LinkLink to external information, e.g. Wikpedia 
KeywordNumismatic Keywords  Roman , Roman Imperial , Saxon , British Coins , English , Greek
Grand documentOriginal passage from the "Grand document".

'The page is a single leaf, damaged sometime at the bottom by water, entitled ‘A not of such Books and Bundells of paper in the Lower study that are not inserted in the Catalogy’. The upper part of the page, headed ‘Ivlivs’, has a list of seven groups of books and bundles. The lower part is entitled ‘Augustus’. (Both terms, ‘Augustus’ and ‘Caesar’, refer to sections of his library, which was classified by the twelve Caesars, plus Cleopatra and Faustina.) The page was first published by Sharpe, but the reading given here is slightly different for the first ‘sid’ (side); in addition, I have made a fresh attempt to read the last paragraph, the last part of which was previously omitted:

A Cabanett of 10 8 leaves and 2 drawing Boxes
The first sid
The first and second leaf contayning the Coynes or Medalls of all the Roman Emperors som being of Gold som of Silver and som of Copper from Pompey and Julius to Phocas and Maritius.
The seco third leaf coyntayning the Coyns of the Saxon kings som in Silver som of Gold.
The fourth leaf contayning divers Brittayn Coyns of Gold and Silver and The Coynes of the Kings of England from William the first unto King Charles, som few gold, and rest Sil Silver.
On drawer or Box contayning a dead and seall of all the Kings of England from Edward the Confessor to Richard the Second.
The Second sid of the Cabinett
The first leafe contayness divers Medalls or Coynes of the Great and Siciliens, and Af Asian and Egyptian //// Countrys som in Ivory Roundell and som without.

This description indicates the overall organisation of the collection, although it must be incomplete, since we have a reasonable description of only five of the eight ‘leaves’ and one of the two ‘boxes’. It consisted of:

  1. one part, consisting of two ‘leaves’ of Roman gold, silver and bronze coins, ranging in date from the end of the Roman Republic to the early Byzantine empire, of the early 7th century AD;
  2. a second part, the third ‘leaf ’, of gold and silver Anglo-Saxon coins;
  3. a third part, the fourth ‘leaf’, of gold and silver coins of pre-Roman Britain (there is no mention of bronze, but we know he had at least some ancient British bronze coins: see below); and a few gold, but mostly silver, English coins from the Norman Conquest to the reign of King Charles;
  4. a box containing royal seals from Edward the Confessor to Richard II, which does not concern us here;
  5. a ‘leaf’ of coins that are probably Greek coins. I suggest reading ‘Great and Siciliens’ instead of ‘great[?] Sicilian’; the words Asian and Egyptian seem clear and account for most of the rest of the Greek world of the eastern Mediterranean. I think ‘Great’ may be mistake for ‘Greek’ The last words, not previously read, refer to the frames put round the coins. Archibald has pointed out that Pegge later mentioned ‘ye Ivory frame’, which contained a coin of ‘Conulf Rex’, and suggested that it was a ‘ring-mount with broad enough borders to have identifications written on them, similar to the ‘black turned hoops’, mentioned later for the collection of Charles I.'

(Burnett 2020b, pp. 145-6)


  1. ^  Sharpe, Kevin (1979), Sir Robert Cotton 1586-1631, Oxford.
  2. ^  Archibald, Marion M. (2006), “Cotton’s Anglo-Saxon Coins in the Light of the Peiresc Inventory of 1606.” British Numismatic Journal, 76, p. 171-203.
  3. ^  Burnett, Andrew M. (2020), The Hidden Treasures of this Happy Land. A History of Numismatics in Britain from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, BNS Special Publ. No 14 = RNS Special Publ. No 58, London, Spink & Son.