By using this site you accept the
terms of our Cookie Policy

You are in: Online Resources > Online Exhibitions > Perry Collection Home

Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan. Naval Diplomat and Collector – an online exhibition to accompany a display in the Glaisher Gallery, 1 April-5 July 2009.

Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, an American naval officer who famously opened up Japan to the West in 1854, and an outstanding example of an early American coin collector.

A Japanese woodblock portrait of Perry
(A Japanese woodblock portrait of Perry. Image from the Library of Congress.)
A Japanese coin from the Perry Collection (obverse)

Commodore Perry led an extremely significant diplomatic mission to Japan in 1852-4, opening up the previously reclusive and autarkic country to American trade. He was also an avid coin collector, acquiring a wide variety of Greek, Roman, medieval, Islamic, American and modern World pieces.

A Roman coin from the Perry Collection (obverse)

A number of Perry's coins can be associated with his famous trip to the Far East in the early 1850s. The Perry Collection therefore provides a tangible link with this important event in Japanese and American history, as well as a valuable insight into the scope and techniques of early American coin collecting.

The Fitzwilliam Museum has been lent a substantial element of the Perry Collection by a private collector. An exhibition about Commodore Perry, his trip to Japan and his collection is on display in the Fitzwilliam Museum's Glaisher Gallery, 1 April-5 July 2009.

The links below or in the menu to the left will take you to pages where you can find out more.

Commodore Perry

Find out more...

Perry and the Trip to Japan

Find out more...

Perry the Collector

Find out more...

Perry Collection Database

Find out more...

Go to top of page