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Joe Cribb is a numismatist, specialising in Asian coinages, and in particular on coins of the Kushan Empire. His catalogues of Chinese silver currency ingots, and of ritual coins of Southeast Asia were the first detailed works on these subjects in English.
Cribb joined the Department of Coins and Medals, British Museum, in the early 1970s, and eventually became Keeper of the Department of Coins and Medals (2003–2010), before his retirement in 2010. During his time at the Museum he curated a major exhibition Money: from Cowrie Shells to Credit Cards (1986), developed the Museum's first Money Gallery, and contributed to many other exhibitions and catalogues. 
Cribb has specialist knowledge of all Asian coinages. He started looking at Chinese coins, and wrote the first English-language catalogue on Chinese silver ingots, and then focussed on the pre-Islamic coinages of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Kashmir and Afghanistan. He is particularly renowned for his research on the coins of the Kushan kings of ancient South and Central Asia (first to fourth centuries AD).
In addition to his work at the British Museum, Cribb was President of the Royal Numismatic Society (2005–9) and is Secretary General of the Oriental Numismatic Society (2011-).
Honours and awards
Cribb was presented with the Award of the Hirayama Silk Road Institute, Kamakura (1997), the Medal of the Royal Numismatic Society (1999), and the Huntington Medal of the American Numismatic Society (2009). A volume of papers in his honour was presented to him upon his retirement from the British Museum.
A selection of his publications are given below:
- (ed.) Money, from Cowrie Shells to Credit Cards, BM Press, London, 1986.
- (with T. Francis) Money Fun Book, BM Press, London, 1986.
- (with I. Carradice and B. Cook) The Coin Atlas, London, Macdonald, London, 1990.
- Eyewitness Guide: Money, Dorling Kindersley, London, 1990, (revised edition, 2000).
- 'The origins of money - evidence from the ancient Near East and Egypt', in G. Crapanzano (ed.), La Banca Premonetale - Contributi culturale e storici intorno alle prime forme di transazione mentaria, Art Valley Association, Milan, 2004.
- 'Money as Metaphor 1: Money is Justice', in Numismatic Chronicle, (2005), pp. 417–438, pl. 47, '2: Money is Order', in Numismatic Chronicle, (2006), pp. 494–516, pl. 83-96; '3: Money is Time', Numismatic Chronicle (2007), pp. 361–95, pls. 83–96; '4: Money is Power', Numismatic Chronicle (2009) pp. 461–529, pl. 49–56.
- Money in the Bank, an Illustrated Introduction to the Money Collection of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Spink & Son Ltd., London, 1987.
- A Catalogue of Sycee in the British Museum, Chinese Silver Currency Ingots, c.1750–1933, British Museum Press, London 1992.
- (with H. Wang, M. Cowell and S. Bowman, eds) Metallurgical Analysis of Chinese Coins at the British Museum, British Museum Research Publication 152, 2005.
- (contributor and co-editor with E. Errington) Crossroads of Asia, Transformation in Image and Symbol in the Art of Ancient Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ancient India and Iran Trust, Cambridge, 1992.
- (co-editor with H. Wang and K. Tanabe) Studies in Silk Road Coins and Culture, Papers in Honour of Professor Ikuo Hirayama on his 65th Birthday, Institute of Silk Road Studies, Kamakura, 1997.
- 'The end of Greek coinage in Bactria and India and its evidence for the Kushan coinage system', in R. Ashton and S. Hurter (eds) Studies in Greek Numismatics in Memory of Martin Jessop Price, Spink & Son Ltd., London, 1998, pp. 83–98, plates 21–23.
- 'The early Kushan kings: new evidence for chronology – Evidence from the Rabatak inscription of Kanishka I', in M. Alram and D.E. Klimburg-Salter (eds) Coins, Art and Chronology, Essays on the pre-Islamic History of the Indo-Iranian Borderlands, Vienna 1999, pp. 177–205.
- 'Kanishka I’s Buddha image coins revisited', in Silk Road Art and Archaeology, Kamakura, vol. 6, 1999/2000, pp. 151–189.
- Ancient Indian Coins from the Chand Collection, Rarities Ltd and Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, 2003, pp. x and 66
- 'The Indian Coinage Tradition: Origins, Continuity and Change', in Indian Institute of Research in Numismatic Studies, Nasik, 2005,pp. 72
- (co-edited with G. Herrmann) After Alexander: Central Asia before Islam, Proceedings of the British Academy 133, London, 2007 .
- (co-authored with M.N. Khan and E. Errington) Coins from Kashmir Smast – New Numismatic Evidence, Peshawar, 2008.
- Magic Coins of Java, Bali and the Malay Peninsula, 13th century to 20th century – A Catalogue based on the Raffles Collection of Coin-shaped charms from Java in the British Museum, BM Press, London, 1999.
- (co-authored with R. Cribb) Eric Gill and Ditchling: The Workshop Tradition, Ditchling, 2007.
- Joe Cribb, From Cowrie Shells to Credit Cards (London, 1986) ISBN 978-0714108629
- Joanna Bowring, Chronology of Temporary Exhibitions at the British Museum [BM RP 189] (London, 2012) p. 63. http://www.britishmuseum.org/pdf/RP_Exhibitions_Chronology.pdf
- Shailendra Bhandare and Sanjay Garg (eds): Felicitas: Essays in Numismatics, Epigraphy and History in Honour of Joe Cribb, Mumbai: Reesha Books International, 2011.