by Bernhard Weisser
April 19, 2018 – Erivan Karl Matthias Haub, long-time CEO of the Tengelmann Group, and – along with his wife Helga – the most important patron of the Staatliche Museen’s Münzkabinett, died on 6 March at the age of 85. Bernhard Weisser, Director of the Münzkabinett, takes a moment to reflect on this prominent supporter.
Bernhard Weisser, Erivan and Helga Haub (from left to right) visiting the showroom of the Münzkabinett in 2009 with their family. Image: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Münzkabinett.
The building housing the Bode-Museum – the primary home of the Münzkabinett’s collection – was in the midst of refurbishment when the Haubs arrived at the end of a guided tour of the Museum Island. Nevertheless, Erivan Haub was captivated by both the dignified atmosphere of the already renovated Münzkabinett rooms and the coins and medals presented to him by then-director Bernd Kluge. As an enthusiastic philatelist, Haub understood the expressive power of these small pieces of history, and to this day, we feel privileged that Haub – who had just had the entirety of the Museum Island laid at his feet by the director-general – took a liking to the Münzkabinett in particular. Since then, all of the Münzkabinett’s special occasions and celebrations, and all of its extraordinary achievements, have been connected to the Haub family.
In 2004, Erivan and Helga Haub established a foundation to promote acquisitions and exhibitions at the Münzkabinett. The original endowment capital was increased in 2009, with additional funding for acquisitions in the high six-figure range. As a result of this generosity, we were able to acquire Peter Berghaus’s archive of drawings and prints of famous numismatists 2004, and in 2014, the Münzkabinett’s outgoing director was given the gold florin from 1518 belonging to Elector Joachim I – the first gold coin from Brandenburg embossed with a specific year – as a ‘farewell gift’.
The digital revolution has brought coins and medals into a new light, and since 2007, the Haubs have been closely involved in the online cataloguing of more than 540,000 museum objects. Financed by the Stiftung Haub, the Münzkabinett’s interactive Online Catalogue has been available to the public since 20 May 2007 and allows the coins and medals to be viewed from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. The tenth anniversary of the catalogue’s launch, which we celebrated last year, was marked by an update to the website with enhanced features and a fresh design.
In the many encounters we had with the Haubs since their initial visit to the Münzkabinett in 2004, we were consistently impressed by their wholehearted interest in our work and their gracious dedication to our employees. Erivan Haub was especially passionate about promoting young numismatic talents; the Numismatische Gesellschaft zu Berlin, founded in 1843 and itself a patron of the Münzkabinett, thus appointed him and his wife as honorary members in 2008. The Stiftung Haub has given the Münzkabinett the latitude to respond successfully to the challenges facing numismatics in the 21st century. For this, we would like to express our deepest gratitude as we honour the memory Erivan Haub.
Visit the museums of Berlin here.
For a virtual tour through the premises of the Münzkabinett, follow this link.
Some years ago, Erivan and Helga Haub gave an interview on the topic of collecting art and coins which can be found here.