by Ursula Kampmann
February 6, 2014 – Medals, in history and presence, constitute the academic passion of Dr Wolfgang Steguweit. And only few numismatists have shown themselves capable of acting so much across time borders as he has been doing for decades. He has brought forward countless publications on medals. It never made any difference for him whether they were made 400 years ago or yesterday. To him, the initiator of the German Association of Medal art (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medaillenkunst) who has been its president until recently, the only point that counts is an object’s quality.
Considering his personality, though, it would not be adequate by far to narrow down Wolfgang Steguweit to his scholarly publications. After his academic education in history of art, art appreciation, German literature, and pedagogy at Dresden university, he headed the coin cabinet in the museums of the city of Gotha. He wrote his PhD thesis of 1980 about the Gotha mint, too. Until today his passionate love and his dedicated commitment is for this city. Nothing can be more thrilling than listening to him when he is telling stories from Gotha’s history. On the other hand he might easily get infuriated while explaining why, according to his opinion, the presentation of a couple of medals in the arch of coins in a numismatic exhibition in Gotha could have been slightly optimised from an academic point of view. However, when saying this we must remember that thanks to Wolfgang Steguweit’s personal commitment the beauties of the Gotha collection of coins and medals which had been considered war losses were restored to their traditional place as well as all the ancient coins of Gotha were.
In 1988, Wolfgang Steguweit moved on to the coin cabinet of the Berlin Museums as its new director. In this position he guided the coin cabinet in the new conditions all institutions of the former German Democratic Republic had to face after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1992, to the surprise of many people, he decided to resign from his position. This shows just how seriously he cared for the work to be done and not for some unimportant vanities. Therefore he chose to be vice-director and senior curator in Berlin in order to have more time for numismatics and the communication of his passion and less administrative tasks.
Whoever knows Wolfgang Steguweit will appreciate his down-to-earth attitude and his friendly manners. You may deduce from the many co-authors of his books the importance he attaches to collaboration.
All the best to Wolfgang Steguweit on the occasion of his 70th birthday from CoinsWeekly! For the future we wish him that he keeps his passion for medals and will write many more books we can put in our libraries!