Derek Allen Prize

The Derek Allen Prize, worth £400, is awarded annually in recognition of outstanding work by a scholar in musicology, numismatics, and Celtic studies, in rotation.

History of the prize

The award commemorates Derek Fortrose Allen (1910–1975), elected a Fellow in 1963, who served from 1969 to 1973 as Secretary of the Academy and from then until his death as Treasurer. It was founded in 1976 by his widow, Mrs Winifred Allen, and her sons to provide an award in one of three academic fields in which Mr Allen had particular interest. The prize was first awarded in 1977.

Eligibility criteria

In 2024 eligible nominations will be in recognition of outstanding work by a scholar in Celtic Studies.

In 2025 eligible nominations will be in recognition of outstanding work by a scholar in musicology.

How to nominate

Nominations for this award are open from 1 December to 31 January and may only be made by Fellows of the British Academy. Entries should be submitted electronically to [email protected].

In the body of the email, clearly state:

  • Name of the prize or medal
  • Name of nominee
  • Nominee’s position/institution and email address
  • Nominee’s principal area of academic distinction
  • Supporting statement (250 words)
  • Nominator’s name and your British Academy section
  • Declaration of any institutional or personal interest

The deadline for submissions is 31 January each year. Nominations will be reviewed, and the winner selected, by the relevant panel.

If you have any queries submitting a nomination, please email [email protected].

2023 winner

Joe Cribb_Headshot
Joe Cribb Headshot

Professor Joe Cribb has been awarded the 2023 Derek Allen Prize for his outstanding contribution to the discipline of numismatics. In particular for his expertise and wide range in Asian numismatics, from the Far East via South and Southeast Asia to the Greek and later coinages of Bactria. His focus on the coinage of the Kushans and their successors, the Kushano-Sasanians and Kidarites, has led to a greatly improved understanding of the history of Afghanistan and adjacent regions in the early centuries CE.

Joe Cribb is a specialist in the monetary history of Asia. He worked as a curator of Asian currencies at the British Museum for forty years before retiring 2010 as the Head of its Department of Coins and Medals. Throughout his career he has been committed to making the Museum’s numismatic collections internationally accessible and to training young numismatists from around the world. Since his retirement he has become an adjunct professor of numismatics at Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang, and a trustee of the Ancient Indian and Iran Trust, Cambridge

He has authored and edited books on Chinese, Indonesian and Central and South Asian currencies and history, and introductory books on coins. He has also written many articles on Asian coins and numismatic practice. He has curated major exhibitions at the British Museum and Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge University. He is former President of the Royal Numismatic Society, London, and former Secretary General of the Oriental Numismatic Society.

His contributions to numismatics have been recognized by the medals of the Royal Numismatic Society, London, the American Numismatic Society, New York and the Indian Numismatic Society, Varanasi. He has also been honoured by Hebei Normal University, the Ashmolean Museum, the Institute of Silk Road Studies, Kamakura, and the Austrian Numismatic Society, Vienna.

Joe’s current research is on the Kushan dynasty in Central and South Asia, the history of numismatic research in Japan and the relationship between money and art.

“I am delighted to be the recipient of the Derek Allen Prize, established in memory of one of Britain’s most important numismatic scholars. I feel honoured to be included in the list of eminent numismatic colleagues who have received this award. Numismatics is a collaborative discipline and I know that what I have achieved could not have been done without the support and friendship of many eminent scholars in this field. I can only name a few who deserve my particular thanks, my colleagues at the British Museum: Helen Wang, Elizabeth Errington, Vesta Curtis, Robert Bracey, Wannaporn Rienjang, Shailendra Bhandare, Andrew Burnett, and the late Nicholas Lowick and Martin Price, and to Dai Jianbing (Hebei Normal University), Nicholas Sims-Williams (Ancient India and Iran Trust), David Jongeward (Toronto), Gul Rahim Khan and Nasim Khan (University of Peshawar); I also have a debt of gratitude for the support of my late wife Margaret and our dear children and grandchildren and of my partner Linda Crook.

I am greatly encouraged by the receipt of this award to continue to push forward my research and to promote the importance of numismatics as a discipline, particularly for Asian history, and thank the Academy for this honour.”

- Professor Joe Cribb, August 2023

Previous winners

2022 (musicology) Professor Suzanne G. Cusick, New York University

2021 (Celtic studies) Professor Ralph A. Griffiths, Swansea University

2020 (numismatics) Dr Andrew Burnett FBA, University College London

2019 (musicology) Alejandro Enrique Planchart, University of California, Santa Barbara

2018 (Celtic studies) Professor Máire Herbert, University College Cork

2017 (numismatics) Professor Michael Crawford FBA, University College London

2016 (musicology) Dr Margaret Bent CBE FBA, University of Oxford

2015 (Celtic studies)  Professor Pierre-Yves Lambert, Centre national de la recherche scientifique

2014 (numismatics)  Dr Richard Reece, University College London

2013 (musicology)  Professor Arnold Whittall, King's College London

2012 (Celtic studies)  Professor Fergus Kelly, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

2011 (numismatics)  Dr Mark Blackburn, Keeper, Department of Coins and Medals, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

2010 (musicology)  Professor Gary Tomlinson, Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania

2009 (Celtic studies)  Yr Athro Dafydd Jenkins, Emeritus Professor of Legal History and Welsh Law, University of Aberystwyth

2008 (numismatics)  Professor Michael Metcalf, Emeritus Professor of Numismatics, University of Oxford

2007 (musicology)  Professor Philip V. Bohlman

2006 (Celtic studies)  Mr Daniel Huws

2005 (numismatics)  Professor Philip Grierson FBA

2004 (musicology)  Professor Colin Timms

2003 (Celtic studies)  Professor Pádraig Ó Riain

2002 (numismatics)  Professor Dr Gert Hatz

2001 (musicology)  Dr Janice Stockigt

2000 (Celtic studies)  Professor Derick Thomson FBA

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