AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award

The University of Hertfordshire in partnership with the British Museum invite applications for an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD Studentship commencing in October 2012. This award brings together academic research, expertise and facilities and the collections and resources of one of the world’s major museums to explore the work of coiners during the long eighteenth century.

University of Hertfordshire – History Group and the British Museum – Department of Coins and Medals   

Supervisors: Dr Anne L. Murphy (Hertfordshire), Dr Catherine Eagleton (British Museum) and Professor John Styles (Hertfordshire).

Start date: October 2012, for three years full-time study

Summary of the project:

Counterfeiting the coinage has been common since the emergence of a monetised economy. During the long eighteenth century it was facilitated by the variety of coins and tokens in circulation and by an ever-changing numismatic environment, which saw a series of recoinages and a shift away from silver towards gold. To some extent, the work of coiners was also made necessary by the state's inability to provide a workable system of small change and its failure to manage the exchange rate so as to maintain the stock of gold and especially silver coin. Without a detailed understanding of the work of coiners and the extent to which their products circulated and were accepted, therefore, it is impossible to fully comprehend the nature of the eighteenth-century monetised economy.

The primary aim of the project is to provide the first full length study of coining during the long eighteenth century. The student will be expected to bring their own perspectives to the design of the project but might consider such research questions as:

  • What were the technologies of coining?
  • Where did coiners acquire their skills and how were those skills transferred?
  • How did coiners organize their work and working environments?
  • What were the authorities’ responses to coining?
  • How did the public perceive the coiners and the products of their work?


 Applicants should hold a good first degree (BA/BSc Honours or equivalent at first or upper second class standard) in History or a related subject and normally have, or be about to obtain, a Masters qualification in a discipline relevant to the PhD topic.  Previous experience of working with archival materials and reading eighteenth century handwriting would be an advantage. 

Please note that full funding is normally restricted to UK residents. The award is available as a three-year AHRC studentship which must be held at the University of Hertfordshire. The British Museum provides an additional contribution to the student for travel and research expenses on top of the maintenance grant provided by the AHRC.

For further details about the project, and also of how to apply please contact: ssahri.res@herts.ac.uk or write to Janice Turner, SSAHRI, Room 312, De Havilland Campus, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9AB.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Anne L. Murphy: a.l.murphy@herts.ac.uk

Closing Date for applications: Tuesday 3rd July 2012 

Interviews will be held on 19th July 2012.

Published on: 
20 Jun 2012