Numismatica Font Project Numismatica Font Project
Page Up Next Page

Numismatica Pro Font

A Numismatic Font with
Archaic and Classical Greek Characters

On this page...

Numismatic Letterforms
Greek Letterforms Not Contained in Unicode


Greek Glyph Chart
Greek Letterform Names
Download Numismatica Pro Font
Numismatica Pro Font Examples
Unicode Numismatica Pro Character Set
Unicode Greek Fonts for Numismatists
Unicode Greek Keyboard Layout
Unicode Test Page
Download the Numismatica Pro font
Font Test Webpage



Numismatica is a Unicode computer font of archaic and classical Greek letterforms, plus those monograms and symbols required to catalog coins. The font is the result of a team effort and you are invited to recommend changes to the font to make it useful to scholars, numismatists, dealers, collectors - in short, anyone needing to communicate electronically about ancient Greek coin legends. The production version is distributed for free on the Internet. To download the Numismatica Pro font, click here

The pro version of the font was created by Edward C. D. Hopkins in 2017. Numismatica Pro is based on the work of several font designers who have permitted incorporation of their work. The baseline Latin, Greek and Cyrillic character sets are from the BPreplay font by George Triantafyllakos. Several monogram glyphs were borrowed from the series of Seleucid monogram fonts designed by Catharine Lorber and from fonts designed by Brad Nelson of Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. Additional monograms were contributed by Dr. Farhad Assar of Oxford, England. The majority of monograms I drew by hand based on photos of actual Parthian coins. The many variations of archaic and ancient Greek letterforms were adapted from my earlier Numismatica symbol font and are consistent with their use in Dave Perry’s Cardo font. The Numismatica Pro font was created in support of the Sylloge Nummorum Parthicorum project.

Numismatic Letterforms

The literature includes documentation of many numismatic letterforms. B.V. Head, Historia Numorum (1911), summarized the Greek and Latin characters used on coins and provided the baseline for most later scholars. A study of Sayle's alphabet chart, a synthesis of Head, shows approximately 173 characters are needed to represent this chart if they are considered in alpha-sort groups. Icard has few variances with Head. Olson and Mitchiner add eastern forms. Many of the characters required for numismatic description of ancient coins are not found in the Unicode 12.0 specification.

Click on the charts to enlarge

Ancient Alphabets Alphabet Grec Drachm Letterforms Greek & Derivatives
W. Sayles, Ancient Coin Collecting (1996), p. 97 S. Icard, Dictionary of Greek Coin Inscriptions (1968), p. 567 R. Olson, Visible Language, 1973, vol. VII, no. 1, p. 29 M. Mitchiner, Ancient & Classical World (1978), p. 20
Click to view enlarged chart Click to view enlarged chart Click to view enlarged chart Click to view enlarged chart

Greek Letterforms Not Contained in Unicode

Unicode is a font standard designed to cover the characters of all the world's major living languages including scientific symbols and dead languages that are the subject of scholarly interest. Unicode 12.0 defines 137,928 characters from the world's alphabets, ideograph sets, and symbol collections; more than a million are technically possible. In most character sets, a single value is often assigned to several characters. For example, in ASCII a "-" is used to represent a hyphen, a minus sign, a dash, and a non-breaking hyphen. In Unicode, each meaning is given its own code point; that is, a hyphen is represented by a character different from a minus sign, and so forth.

The Unicode standard contains only one instance of each character and assigns it a unique name and code value. Special codes are provided for multiple variants of a character, and a "Private Use Area" is set aside for proprietary use. Because a single Greek letter letter may have numerous different letterforms, or glyphs, it is necessary to store these variant glyphs in Unicode's Private Use Area. Drawing on the above documents and expert advice, I defined a glyph chart for a Greek numismatic font. Unicode, and some specialty computer programs and operating systems, require distinctive names for the letterforms. In addition to the Greek characters found on ancient coins, special punctuation and symbols are necessary to describe coins, many of which are not in Unicode.

Drawing on the above and other sources, I prepared the following two charts to illustrate the glyphs used to describe Greek letters used on ancient coins and their descriptive names. All the below glyphs are contained in the Numismatica Pro Font.

Click on the charts to enlarge

Glyph Chart Greek Letterform Names
glyphchart115_small.jpg (200x331 -- 29383 bytes) Click to view enlarged chart


This page last updated 23 Feb 2021

Page Up Next Page
Home Site Index Site Map Feedback New Items Tech Info Search

Online since 28 March 1998
Copyright ©1998-2021 Edward C. D. Hopkins, all rights reserved

Click button to support   Click button to validate this page as HTML 4.01 compliant Click button to validate this page as CSS 3 compliant