Eugene von Guerard (1811-1901) was born in Vienna and migrated to Victoria in 1852, where he remained for the next 30 years. Trained as an artist, he developed an interest in coin collecting as a young man in Vienna and in Italy. While a practising artist and curator at the National Gallery of Victoria, he maintained this interest and developed a collection of some 4,000 coins, carefully listed and described in a three-volume catalogue, organised by country and date.
The von Guerard coin collection was purchased by the National Gallery of Victoria in 1881, thereby forming the basis of the state numismatic collection. The collection, together with von Guerard's handwritten catalogue was transferred in 1976 to the Science Museum of Victoria (a predecessor to Museum Victoria).
The collection comprises approximately 4,000 coins and medals, with strengths in coins from ancient Greece and Rome, Britain and Germany, up to the 1870s. Von Guerard collected on his travels in Europe, from dealers and contacts in Europe and from other Australian collectors.