Skip to main content

Feingold, Ellen view

Curator of the National Numismatic Collection

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. Her areas of expertise include:

  • 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


Background And Education

Education And Training

Professional Biography

  • Feingold received her DPhil in History and MSc in Economic and Social History from the University of Oxford. As a student, Feingold 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. Feingold became curator of the Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection in 2014. 

    Feingold's research interests include the history of money and monetary objects, counterfeiting and forgery, and legal institutions and the administration of justice in sub-Saharan Africa. She is author of Colonial Justice and Decolonization in the High Court of Tanzania, 1920-1971 (2018) and The Value of Money (2015), as well as the curator of the exhibit of the same name at the National Museum of American History. Her recent work has appeared in the Journal of West African HistoryEconomic History of Developing RegionsPolitico Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, and the Huffington Post.

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

Awards And Honors


Selected Publications


Member Of