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Numismatica Font Project

Numismatic Fonts for Ancient Coins

Numismatica Pro Font
Unicode Fonts
Aramaic for Unicode
Obsolete Fonts

To download the Numismatica Pro font, click here.


In the spring of 2000, I unsuccessfully attempted to locate a font containing the archaic, classical and Hellenistic letterforms necessary to electronically describe legends on ancient Greek coins. In the absence of an available font for Greek legends on ancient coins, I proposed a collaborative effort to create that font for unrestricted free distribution.

I proposed a table of glyphs after concluding preliminary investigations of the problems and scope in July 2000. These were presented to numismatic colleagues for consideration then submitted to the IT sub-committee members of the Association internationale d'épgraphie grecque et latine and the Association internationale de papyrologues which met jointly in Oxford, 3-5 August 2000. Their charter was to formulate a joint recommendation for submission to the Unicode Technical Committee.

Valuable contributions were received, incorporated and a pre-release version of an 8-bit 'symbol' font, appropriately named Numismatica, was completed and tested for sufficiency and technical suitability. Many factors were considered in addition to the letterforms. The type of font (TrueType, Type 1, bitmapped), supported platforms (Windows, Mac, Unix and others), keyboard mapping and utilities, Internet browser usage, use of the font by professional print setters, internationalization, and many other questions were addressed. Following the preliminary review, the font was distributed to beta testers for review.

Beta testing of the 8-bit Numismatica font extended for over two years during which additional Greek letterforms were identified and incorporated into the font. Testing identified the need for retrograde versions of many characters. The completed version of the 8-bit Numismatica font was made available to the public for download. The project continued to grow and other numismatic fonts were included in cross-platform evaluation and testing.

Concurrently with development of the Numismatica 8-bit font, widening acceptance of the Unicode standard by the computer industry dictated a shift away from an 8-bit symbol fonts to the Unicode standard. After originating in 1991, by 1993 Unicode had incorporated Greek. As Microsoft, Apple and other major vendors adopted the standard, increasing numbers of computer applications became Unicode-compliant. With the 2007 release of version 5.0, Unicode attained the sophistication, language codepoints and wide acceptance necessary to justify development of a Unicode version named Numismatica Pro to differentiate it from the old and increasingly obsolete 8-bit symbol font. In 2010 I began correspondence with David Perry, developer of the Cardo font. David included the Numismatica codepoints for ancient Greek letterforms and thus the Cardo and Numismatica Pro fonts are fully compatible for alternate Greek letterforms. His book Document Preparation for Classical Languages (Greentop Publishing: 2010, 2nd ed.) is very useful for publication of fonts.

An important feature of Numismatica Pro is the inclusion of monograms or 'control marks' for ancient Greek coins. These are encoded in the Private Use areas of Unicode since they are not letterforms. The incorporation of monograms was the result of my participation in the Sylloge Nummorum Parthicorum project and its requirement to illustrate Parthian coin monograms in printed volumes. See more information on the SNP at this link.

This page last updated 23 Feb 2021

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Online since 28 March 1998
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