Development  of  a  font  with  medieval  numismatic  characters






This project aims to create a specific font (compatible with word processors such as WORD® of Microsoft) with characters ressembling as well as possible those appearing on coins of the regions making up the actual Belgium, from the earliest days till the Renaissance.  The characters on the coins of the Celtic peoples, the Merovingians and the Carolingians were still very close to the Latin characters, even if they were less finely engraved; later on, more rounded characters appear, although also some massive letters can be found; from the 16th century on, Latin capitals (with sérif) were again generally used, but for this type, many fonts are already available.



Several tens of thousands of fonts are available on the Internet (see e.g., which can be used freely (no copyright).  Besides these, several thousands of other fonts can be purchased (see e.g., and/or can only be used for non-commercial purposes.  Although some of the (free or charged) fonts are labeled "medieval", we could not find one that provides (enough) characters resembling closely those used on medieval coins from our regions.

On the other hand, several numismatic publications from the 19th century (i.a. the Revue belge de Numismatique) used a set of characters (in lead) whose appearance was close to the ones engraved on coins from the 11th till the 15th century; this set is no longer practicable.  But the new information and communication technologies make it possible to create a font – with a minimum of costs – by using the appropriate programs, most of which can, by the way, be found free on the Internet.  These findings have lead us to the idea of creating a specific font, which we have baptised Numismatica Medievalis ; our intention is to put it at at the disposal of numismatic scolars free of charge, once it is finalised.

Note that there are different ways to include a character (be it a letter, a figure, a mint mark, or any other symbol) in the font  Numismatica Medievalis :

  • one can start from electronic images (e.g. scans of a letter or a text in pdf); by using the appropriate software, this character can be integrated at any place wanted into Numismatica Medievalis (click here for an example)
  • one can start from existing fonts (provided they are free of copyright), and copy one or more characters into the font  Numismatica Medievalis ; this can be done directly (if the size of the two fonts is the same, but this is only rarely the case), or indirectly, by first "tapping" the characters in an electronic format (click here for an example), and then, after having adapted their size (click here for an example), loading them into Numismatica Medievalis in the way as described above
  • it is of course also possible to start from pictures of the coins, by drawing the letters on tracing paper, and then creating an electronic image of this drawing
  • last but not least, it is possible to draw the characters by using a special software (click here for an example), that also allows to adapt the form of the characters loaded into the font Numismatica Medievalis by one of the aforementioned ways.



In medieval times, characters were created manually (either by engraving them directly into the die, or by using hand made letter punches).  As a consequence, the number of types and varieties is almost infinite, and the font Numismatica Medievalis contains already about 900 glyphs for the 26 letters of the alphabet, about 50 varieties for each of the figures 0 to 9, and about 600 other symbols, or in total, about 2.000 glyphs.  The following list gives an overview of what is available at present.  Characters which can be introduced directly from the keyboard (as capital letter or small letter) are dislayed on a blue background ; those which have to be inserted by using the Insert symbol functionality of WORD are displayed on a red background.  We have also given the position within the font (in hexadecimal code).



It would be impossible to try to foresee in Numismatica Medievalis all the possible varieties of the characters used on medieval coins.  On the other hand, it is very likley that in the set of characters actually available, several signs that are relevant for the study of medieval numismatics are still missing (especially interpunction signs); insofar as these varieties are indeed interesting, they should be integrated in the font.  We appeal to all numismatic scholars who are interested, to signal us such characters, which will then be included free of charge.  Please contact




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