A hidden gem of Madrid’s museum scene that’s well worth a visit.
There’s no escaping the fact that money makes the world go round and in some senses the history of money is the history of human civilisation. The Museo Casa de la Moneda – Museum of the Royal Mint – is one of the best examples of its kind, and one of the more quirky museums in the Spanish capital.
The beginnings of Spanish money
Beginning with a collection of drawings, engravings, coins and medals used by Tomás Francisco Prieto – General Engraver of the Mint of Carlos III – to teach artists at the School of Engraving how to produce coins for Spain and its colonies, the collection has grown over the years to encompass all manner of currency.
In the museum’s vast open spaces, you’ll find a rich collection of exhibits detailing the history of coins from the very earliest days, through the coins of the Greek and Roman empires, right up to the present day. Also in the collection are banknotes, postage stamps, lottery tickets and medals, along with the tools and machines used to produce them.
Surprisingly fun for all the family
There is also a range of activities for children to enjoy such a storytelling on the theme of money and treasure, a clue-solving game with a prize at the end and the museum also offers the chance to strike your own copper ‘coin’ for just €3. It’s not a real coin – it has no face value – but it’s a great keepsake to remember your visit.
Completing the museum, there is a large collection of books, dating back to the 15th century, showing the development of currency and the techniques used to produce it. The museum is also staffed by highly knowledgeable experts who can answer any questions you may have. The museum is often used by students for research into the subject.
Getting round the museum can be done at your own pace with the aid of the free audiotour smartphone app or there are guided tours, taking around 90 minutes to help you make the most of your visit.
No trip to a museum would be complete without a shop and what could be better than a shop where you can swap money for money?! As well as the usual souvenirs, you can pick up beautifully struck coins marking special occasions in, of course, mint condition!
The museum is open Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5:30pm and on weekends and public holidays is open 10am to 2pm. The museum closes on Mondays. Entry to the museum is free and there’s no need to book unless you’re visiting in a large group.