The Joseph Puig Museum of Money and Medals in Perpignan was our MicroAdventure for March 2, 2017. Apparently the only museum of its kind in France and the largest in Europe, it displays coins and medals from all time periods and locations, with some very rare coins from Catalonia and the Roussillon.
Housed in the location of the former owner of the collection, a beautiful three-story home near the train station. The attached garden is just as lovely, even if it was too early in the year for the pond and fountain to be working!
The gardens are Japanese-style and though there was plenty of bamboo in a variety of colors, thicknesses and heights we really loved all the flowering trees that filled the area.
Though normally a museum that charges admission, we arrived on a day without an admission charge. The collection is housed on the first floor and fills two rooms and the hallway.
We saw coins from all corners of the globe and from all periods in human history, including some trading shells which were used as currency before coins. The earliest coins we found were from Rome around 101 BC, the largest seemed to be from South America, sparkliest were from France and the ones with the best designs were from Sicily and Greece. Among the favorites for the day were the bunny and crab coins.
The displays at the museum were interesting as well. We saw the standard cases, and some vertical ones which nicely displayed both sides of the coins. The most unique were the clear plastic tubes bent at different angles, creating a tree effect with a coin from antiquity at the end of each tube.
We spent quite a bit of time there since we had the place all to ourselves. We even took the time to look through some of the documents they had available in binders with newspaper clippings, postcards, and letters. The newspaper headline announcing “Britain at War” dated August 5, 1914 was one that caught my eye. August 5, 2000 was the day Alan and I married, so it was more the date that captured my attention, though the headline was all there was to the front page article, and all that had been saved by Mr. J. Puig in his notebook.
We have found recently a lot of unique family collection type of boutique museums in and around Perpignan. It seems to be a lovely way to preserve the home of wealthy families and share them with the city at the same time.
If you’re ever in the area, we do recommend a trip to the Money and Medal Museum, it’s just a 10 minute walk from the train station and just a few euro entry fee, when they’re charging it!