Akerman, John Yonge (DNB00)

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AKERMAN, JOHN YONGE (1806–1873), numismatist and antiquary, was born in London on 12 June 1806. In early life he became secretary to William Cobbett; in 1838 to the Greenwich Railway Company; and subsequently to Lord Albert Conyngham (afterwards Lord Londesborough). In Jan. 1834, Akerman was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. In the autumn of 1848 he became joint secretary with Sir Henry Ellis; and five years later, sole secretary of that society, and he held that post until 1860, when he was compelled by the failure of his health to resign it and the editorship of the ‘Archæologia.’ Akerman, though interested in the study of antiquities generally, took more delight in the special branch of numismatics. In 1836, at a time when there was no English periodical of the kind, he had the boldness to start, chiefly at his own expense, a publication called the ‘Numismatic Journal,’ two volumes of which appeared under his editorship. He helped to form the Numismatic Society of London, which held its first regular meeting on 22 Dec. 1836; Akerman was secretary from this date until 1860, and editor of the society's journal, first published in 1838 as the ‘Numismatic Chronicle.’ After 1860, Akerman resided constantly at Abingdon, where he died 18 Nov. 1873.

His contributions to numismatic and antiquarian literature consist largely of papers published in the ‘Numismatic Journal’ and ‘Chronicle,’ and in the pages of the ‘Archæologia.’ A long list of them may be found in the ‘Proceedings of the Numismatic Society for 1874,’ published in the ‘Numismatic Chronicle,’ vol. xiv. new series, pp. 16 ff., from which the following may be selected : ‘Numismatic Manual,’ London, 8vo, 1832 (and London, 8vo, 1840); ‘Introduction to the Study of Ancient and Modern Coins,’ London, 16mo, 1848; ‘Descriptive Catalogue of rare and Unedited Roman Coins,’ 2 vols. 8vo, London, 1834; ‘Coins of the Romans relating to Britain,’ 8vo, London, 1836 (enlarged edition in 1842, and again in 1844); ‘Ancient Coins of Cities and Princes,’ 8vo, London, 1846; ‘Numismatic Illustrations of the New Testament,’ 8vo, London, 1846; ‘Archæological Index for Celtic, Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon Remains,’ 8vo, London, 1847; ‘Glossary of Provincial Words and Phrases in Use in Wiltshire,’ 16mo, London, 1842; ‘Spring Tide, or the Angler and his Friends,’ London, 1850; ‘Wiltshire Tales,’ 12mo, London, 1853. In recognition of Akerman's published works and papers, especially of the series on the coins of the Romans relating to Britain, the gold medal of the French Institute was awarded to him, and he was also created an honorary member of several learned societies, among which were the Royal Academy of St. Petersburg and the Istituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica of Rome. Though Akerman's contributions to numismatics are in great part obsolete, he did good work in his day, especially in popularising the study of coins in England; and the Numismatic Society and its journal continue to prosper.

[Proceedings of the Numismatic Society of London for 1874, published in the Numismatic Chronicle, vol. xiv. (new series), pp. 13–19.]

W. W.