Griechische Münzen is a charting of the most extensive private collection of ancient Greek coins. Presented by Hansjürg Saager, the coins are categorized in relation to the motifs and their provenance, and are each time contextually and historically introduced. Even though this book has historical and academic value, it’s not available for sale and is only distributed privately by the collector.
The book was designed by London-based studio BOB Design. Their take was to create an object whose preciousness would be a an exceptional setting for a unique collection and its richness: thinking beyond the pure value of such antics, there is also an imaginary of a civilization long gone and its splendor. All coins are of course made out of gold, silver, copper, or other metals: this material relation is visualized by the silver ink used to print the textual parts of the book. The book is therefore mainly a catalog of high-definition images of coins, with particular attention given to reproduction and to the structure of the book: each new part begins with a map on a dark background, which gives clarity to the charting. The cover is cloth-bound and embossed with the pattern of a coin, which adds to the bibliophilic dimension of the publication. This material care given to an encyclopedic publication somehow evokes the 19th century, its passion for collecting and its interest for antiques as well as for ancient and distant civilizations, and the beginning and rise of sciences such as ethnology and philology.
The book is set in Sainte Colombe from Production Type. Even though its design may seem classical at first sight, Sainte Colombe shows some pretty peculiarities and distortions which are barely noticeable but are the source of all its personality. This contemporary interpretation of a classical serif is one of the ways through which the designers from BOB Design anchored the book in contemporaneity: type and their treatment of cartography. Although the numismatic collection and the beginning of their academic study are now far from us, we can’t help but notice the contemporary look on the collection formalized by the editorial design.