Dietrich Klose Retired

Dietrich Klose awarded the Walter Hävernick Prize 2015 in his position as chairman of the Numismatische Kommission der Länder der BRD (Numismatic Commission of the Federal States of Germany). Photo: UK.
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There are colleagues about whom you know immediately what they accomplished, colleagues that inform you at every meeting about the new projects they are currently working on. And then there are colleagues who do their work diligently, complete one project after the other and one almost has to force them to talk about it. Dietrich O. A. Klose belongs to the second category. During his 36 years at the Bavarian State Coin Collection in Munich, he achieved a lot. And much of it only becomes apparent at second sight.

From Saarbrücken to Munich

As many numismatists of his generation, Dietrich Klose studied with Prof Franke in Saarbrücken. He received his doctorate in 1984 with a dissertation on the coinage of Smyrna during the Roman imperial period and was then immediately hired as research assistant for ancient and modern times at the Coin Collection, which was headed by Wolfgang Heß. When he started working there, the Bavarian State Coin Collection had begun to complement the permanent exhibition with temporary exhibitions, which provided Dietrich Klose with the opportunity to explore different areas of monetary history. And he seized that opportunity again and again, with an impressive love for detail.

From Banknotes to Commodity Money and Contemporary Art Medals

Even though his degree focused on ancient coinage, Dietrich Klose was also interested in other fields of numismatics and monetary history. The variety of topics he dealt with in temporary exhibitions will impress anyone who knows how much work it takes to become familiar with a new field. He was not above picking up popular topics that were sure to attract visitors. Whether it be Ludwig II of Bavaria or ancient coins with sports-related motifs in the Olympic year 1996. Dietrich Klose loved to be up-to-date, already one year after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, he organised an exhibition on the GDR’s monetary symbols and accompanied the step from the D-Mark to the Euro with an exhibition on the Deutsche Mark.

Living in an ivory tower? Certainly not. For his exhibitions, he collaborated with coin dealers and collectors. In this context, I will only mention the exhibition “Statthalter, Rebellen, Könige” (governors, rebels, kings) with Persis coins, which has remained a rather unknown field of numismatics to this day. The coin collector Theo Reuter had bequeathed seventy-nine precious and rare Persis coins to the Bavarian State Coin Collection. When the exhibition started, Dieter Klose was already able to display as much as 200 coins of this area, which had been purchased by means of the acquisition fund and money that had been raised thanks to the friends of the Bavarian State Coin Collection. By the way, a co-author of this catalogue was Wilhelm Müseler, who worked as an employee of Münzhandlung Dr Busso Peus Nachf. at the time.

Yes, Dietrich Klose was inspired by collectors and coin dealers and asked them for ideas and advice. After all, the Bavarian State Coin Collection had already been the home of the Bavarian Numismatic Society for years, a group of collectors, dealers and scholars that amicably discuss numismatic topics.

Therefore, many collections were acquired that exceeded by far the spectrum of a traditional coin cabinet. As a result, the State Coin Collection has every reason to present itself as “Museum of Monetary History”. An example is the Walter and Brigitte Kames Collection of historical stocks and securities, which was acquired in 2012 at the initiative of Dietrich Klose. And he was also the one who made sure the Kuhl Collection of pre-monetary means of payment was to come to Munich after the extensive exhibition “Geld ist, was gilt” in 2009. And these are but two examples of many. Moreover, we shouldn’t forget that Dietrich Klose promoted creators of modern art medals by making the Coin Collection purchase their work; this interest is also demonstrated by the fact that he was board member of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medaillenkunst (German Association for Medal Art) for many years.

Collaboration Is Better Than Competition

Dietrich Klose always relied on collaboration. For example, he has been cooperating with the HVB Foundation Banknote Collection for many years, which is why several exhibitions displaying pieces of the collection already took place.

And he is willing to display precious objects in unusual places. For example, pieces of the Bavarian State Coin Collection are regularly shown at special exhibitions of the “Munich Show – Mineralientage”. If you don’t know what that is: it’s an annual exhibition of minerals, fossils, gemstones and more attracting several tens of thousands (sic!) visitors.

A Highly Esteemed Colleague Who Supported Collectors

But what’s most appreciated by many Munich numismatists is that with him heading the Bavarian State Coin Collection, a spirit of collegiality returned. Thanks to his friendly, modest, non-pushy and communicative character, he created a scholarly home for many in the library of the Munich Coin Collection. Everyone felt welcome, whether it be a renowned specialist, a collector or a student.

In general, Dietrich Klose was committed to all forms of numismatic collaboration and was brave enough to speak up in public for the rights of collectors.


CoinsWeekly wishes Dietrich Klose the very best for his (busy) retirement. And we hope that he finds the time to continue working on many numismatic projects and attend many conferences because we would like to meet him as often as possible in the numismatic world!

Here you can access the new website of the Bavarian State Coin Collection in Munich.