Honouring Joe Cribb

Last evening, April 18th, a special event was held at the Society to honour Joe Cribb, the eminent numismatist. Arranged by his colleagues, Helen Wang and Robert Bracey, the lecture theatre was filled with his family, friends and colleagues as well as appreciative members of the RAS. The event celebrated Joe’s 75th birthday and the publication produced in recognition of his contribution to numismatics. The book’s title Look at the Coins! Papers in Honour of Joe Cribb on his 75th Birthday was chosen because of the frequency with which Joe reminded fellow researchers to look at the coins themselves rather than relying on secondary sources.

Look at the Coins (Archaeopress Archaeology, 2023)

Joe studied Latin, Greek and Ancient History at Queen Mary College, University of London. After graduating he became a research assistant at the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum. During the evening Joe confessed how he was able to impress his interviewers with his knowledge of Chinese coins only because their research interests lay elsewhere. From first researching Chinese coins, an interest sparked by his brother’s collection, Joe became expert in all Asian coinages. He created the first English-language catalogue on Chinese silver ingots and developed the British Museum’s first Money Gallery. He rose from assistant to be the Keeper of the Coins and Medals from 2003 until his retirement in 2010.

In addition to his work at the British Museum, Joe served as President of the Royal Numismatic Society from 2005–2009 and Secretary General of the Oriental Numismatic Society from 2011–18. Though now retired from the British Museum he continues his research and is currently Adjunct Professor of Numismatics at Hebei Normal University, Honorary Vice President of the Numismatic Society, Deputy Secretary General of the Oriental Numismatic Society and a Trustee of the Ancient India and Iran Trust.

Helen Wang

The evening began with a welcome from Helen Wang followed by her talk on what happened to the millions of dollars of silver demanded by the British as Ransom from the Chinese for burning opium in 1841. Helen traced the journey of the silver ingots provided by the Chinese, making mention of Joe’s catalogue and how he helped her to pursue this work. Helen handed over to Robert Bracey who also played homage Joe’s influence particularly making comment upon Joe’s phrase ‘Look at the Coins’.

Robert Bracey

This theme was also picked up by the third speaker, Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis, who spoke with great affection of the patience with which Joe had suggested to look at the coins rather than pictures of, or writing about, them and of the tolerance of all her colleagues as she became part of the team.

Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis

Joe concluded the talks and with great emotion thanked and paid tribute to his family, friends and colleagues who had all contributed to the rich life he’s enjoyed. He spoke of his continuing passion for his work and the many people, both alive and dead, who have informed and aided his research and helped to mould the path he has taken. The evening was one of joy and many stayed to share in a glass of wine and continue the celebrations. Besides those in the room others joined via zoom, and we hope to have the evening uploaded to our YouTube channel in the near future.

Joe Cribb

Next week, on Thursday 25th April, we will celebrate another special occasion when the Society will award the Bayly Prize for 2023 to Dr Thomas P. Barrett (Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Faculty of Asian and Middle East Studies and a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge). The Prize was established by friends and colleagues to mark the outstanding contribution of Professor Sir Christopher Bayly FBA to the study of world history and that of Asia in particular. It is awarded for a distinguished thesis in an Asian subject falling within the scope of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society or of Modern Asian Studies, the thesis having been approved for the PhD degree at a British University in the preceding year.

Dr Barrett will be joined by the other shortlisted candidates, Dr Mariano Errichiello, Dr Kelsey Granger and Dr Yui Lo, and each will have the opportunity to share something about their research. We would be delighted if you could join us at 6.30 pm for the conferment of the award and to hear about their contributions to the field of Asian studies. More details can be found on the events page and if you would like to join via zoom, please contact Matty Bradley (mb@royalasiaticsociety.org)

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Joe Cribb Honoured | Ancient India & Iran Trust
29 April 2024 at 11:58 am

[…] more detailed account of the event is available on the RAS blog, as well as a recording of the event on the RAS YouTube channel. A copy of Look at the Coins! will […]