Profile profile for FeingoldE

Ellen Feingold

Curator of the National Numismatic Collection

B.A., University of Wisconsin – Madison, History, 2005
MSc., University of Oxford (St. Antony’s College), Economic and Social History, 2008
D.Phil., University of Oxford (Merton College), History, 2012

Research Specialties: 
  • History of money and monetary objects 
  • History of counterfeiting and forgery
  • Imperial and global history, focusing on mechanisms of colonial rule and the process of decolonization 
  • History of the common law and legal institutions in sub-Saharan Africa 
Role in Museum: 

Dr. Ellen Feingold is the curator of the National Numismatic Collection (NNC), a global collection of approximately 1.6 million objects that span more than 5,000 years.



Recent Digitization Initiatives:

Collecting Initiatives:

  • Collecting contemporary currencies and documenting the development of new monetary technologies worldwide

Selected Publications: 

  • Books:

Feingold, Ellen R. Colonial Justice and Decolonization in the High Court of Tanzania, 1920-1971. Palgrave Macmillan (Cambridge Imperial and Post-colonial Studies Series), 2018. 

Feingold, Ellen R. The Value of Money. Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2015.

  • Articles:
Feingold, Ellen, Abby Pfisterer, Orlando R. Serrano Jr., and Sarah Weicksel. "Working Together: New Approaches to a History Exhibition for Children." Perspectives on History (2023). 
Feingold, Ellen. "How Medieval Money Shaped Ukraine's Modern Identity." Smithsonian Magazine, 2022.
Feingold, Ellen. "A Harriet Tubman $20? That's Just the Beginning." Politico Magazine, 2021.  (Related podcast: "On the Money" on PORTRAITS and Sidedoor)
Feingold, Ellen, Johan Fourie, and Leigh Gardner. "A Tale of Paper and Gold: The Material History of Money in South Africa." Economic History of Developing Regions  36, no. 2 (2021): 264-281. 
Feingold, Ellen R. and Leigh A. Gardner. "Research-led Digitization: Inverting the Usual Way of Thinking about Digitization." Perspectives on History  58, no. 8 (November 2020). 
Feingold, Ellen R. "International Currency Counterfeiting Schemes in Interwar West Africa." Journal of West African History  3, no. 1 (2017): 77-101. 
Feingold, Ellen R. "How the Redesign of U.S. Money Shows the Power of Protest." Smithsonian Magazine & Huffington Post, 2016. 
Feingold, Ellen. R. "Women on Money." Financial History 118 (2016): 20-23. 
Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 

As a student at the University of Oxford, Ellen held the Clarendon Scholarship, John Roberts Scholarship, Beit Research Scholarship, and Designated Research Studentship in Modern History. She received numerous grants in support of her doctoral research on the development and decolonization of the High Court of Tanzania. She was also awarded a special prize from the Robert Herbert Memorial Fund for her research on the history of the British Colonial Legal Service. After completing her doctorate, Ellen joined the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum as a Project Curator for the Money in Africa project. She was a co-curator of a display on mobile money in Africa in the Citi Money Gallery in 2013. 

In 2021, Ellen received the Elvira Clain-Stefanelli Memorial Award for Achievement in Numismatics. 

Professional Affiliations: