Heidelberger Münzhandlung

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Heidelberger Münzhandlung Auctions Rainer Thiel’s Lorraine Collection

From 16 to 17 May 2023, Heidelberger Münzhandlung Herbert Grün will be holding its 86th auction. As always, there will be a wide range of pieces up for sale, with something for everybody. The lots in this auction cover a period spanning from antiquity to the Federal Republic of Germany, with pieces from all over the world, from ancient Europe to the rare coinage of Hong Kong, as well as from the Strait Settlements and Hawaii. And the estimates? As always, the estimates range between two and five figures; after all, it is Grün’s policy for the auction house to present just as extensive a range of high-quality coins for beginners as it does for long-time collectors who only need a few more real rarities to complete their collection.

Lot 3 – Duchy of Bar. Robert, 1352-1411. Gold gulden, Bar le Duc or St. Mihiel. From Peus auction 375 (2003), Lot 1589. Obverse: extremely fine. Reverse: very fine. Estimate: 2,000 EUR.

Coins and Medals from Lorraine: The Rainer Thiel Collection

The auction opens with an extensive collection of coins and medals from Lorraine by Rainer Thiel, who is aa constant in the world of coin trading. As a sworn expert in numismatics from antiquity to the present day, he has an excellent eye for quality and authenticity; based on this, one can more or less guarantee that the pieces in his collection are something very special.

Lot 228 – Mediomatrici. Gold stater. Very rare! Very fine. Estimate: 3,500 EUR.

This collection not only contains coins from the Duchies of Bar and Lorraine, but also from the free imperial cities of Metz, Toul and Verdun, which now form part of the Lorraine region. Connoisseurs will find over 100 lots from Metz alone. And it’s hardly surprising, since coins have been produced in this city since antiquity. After all, Metz was the capital of the Celtic Mediomatrici. Under the Merovingians, Metz developed into the capital of Austrasia, the eastern part of the Frankish kingdom. This is evidenced by the coinage from the Merovingian and Carolingian periods.

Lot 32 – Duchy of Lorraine. Charles II, 1390-1431. Gros. From the L’Héritier Collection, Vinchon auction (1979), Lot 598, and Teitgen Collection, Alde auction (2015), Lot 1085. Estimate: 2,000 EUR.

One key focus of the Thiel Collection is the ducal coinage of the High and Late Middle Ages; at that time, Lorraine played a central role as a connecting region between France and the Holy Roman Empire. For example, it was Charles II, Duke of Lorraine, who provided Joan of Arc with the escort who guided her safely to Chinon and to the pretender to the French throne. He also issued the exceptionally well-preserved gros, whose obverse depicts the duke in full armour riding towards the left. By the way, Charles II would actually have been Charles I, but since the Duchy of Lorraine traced its lineage back to Charlemagne, Charles insisted on being the second to bear this name.

Lot 49 – Duchy of Lorraine. Antoine, 1508-1544. Écu n.d., from Künker auction 87 (2003), Lot 2809. Very fine. Estimate: 4,000 EUR.

One impressive piece from the Renaissance period is this écu featuring a portrait of Antoine II. Antoine supported the imperial policy of Charles V and, in return, received great privileges, which ultimately facilitated Lorraine’s secession from the Holy Roman Empire.

Lot 141 – Duchy of Lorraine. Leopold, 1690-1729. Écu 1710. From Rauch auction 100 (2016), Lot 24. Very fine +. Estimate: 3,500 EUR.

These are just a few highlights of the Thiel Collection. But we can be sure that anyone interested in the Lorraine region will be studying this catalogue very carefully anyway.

Ancient Coins

The second part of Auction 86 opens with ancient coins, of which Heidelberger Münzhandlung will be presenting 85 lots. These will cover everything from the Celts to Byzantium. The main focus is Roman coins. One particularly noteworthy highlight is a small series of rare spintriae, which for a long time were disparaged as brothel tokens. Today, we know that these tokens are actually ancient game counters.

Coins From Around the World

No matter which country’s coins you collect, be sure to take a look through the Heidelberger Münzhandlung catalogue. It contains numerous rarities from exciting destinations that aren’t easy to find in this quality. For now, we’ll just mention the small series of British crowns in outstanding condition with a fantastic patina, as well as the many extremely rare 19th-century coins, including for example the birr of King Menelik II, minted in Paris, or the dollar minted in San Francisco featuring a portrait of the last king of Hawaii, King Kalakaua. Both these pieces are in pristine condition and boast an incredible patina, making them real showpieces.

Lot 788 – USA. 1/2 dollar 1928. Hawaiian Sesquicentennial. Rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 750 EUR.

Collection of American Half Dollars

If you’re interested in American coins, you should definitely take a look through the extensive collection of early commemorative quarters and half dollars from the USA. The collector managed to secure items of outstanding quality. Almost all the pieces are extremely fine, while many – including the very rare types – are even extremely fine to FDC. Since all pieces are valued conservatively, it is worth looking at each one very closely, with reference to the excellent photographs by Lübke & Wiedemann.

Lot 533 – Bronze plaque, no date (1902), by E. Framiet. 83.9 x 66.7 mm. Bronze. Very rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 700 EUR.

A Wide Range of Medals

If you appreciate the magnificent artistry of die cutters, we recommend taking a look at the extensive lots of medals, which are grouped by various themes. These themes include archaeology and chemistry, but also the Art Nouveau period.

Coins and Medals From the German States

As we have come to expect from Heidelberger Münzhandlung, Herbert Grün will be offering an impressive variety of pieces, particularly in the field of the German states coins, including numerous fascinating rarities. We’ve selected a few representative examples:

  • An oval gold medal commemorating the silver wedding anniversary of Frederick I of Baden and Louise of Prussia, only 10 specimens of which were produced in gold.
  • A very rare and exceptionally well-preserved taler of Christian, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth.
  • A perfectly preserved taler from 1624, minted in Fürth by the Franconian Circle in the name of Ferdinand II.
  • A gold medal of 10 ducats featuring the portraits of Frederick III of Saxony and his new bride Christina of Austria.
Lot 1248 – Prussia. Frederick II, also known as ‘Frederick the Great’, 1740-1786. Taler 1781, Breslau, ‘Hoym taler’. Extremely rare. Beautiful patina. Inspection mark. About extremely fine. Estimate: 25,000 EUR.

A Specimen of the Legendary Hoym Taler

One highlight is undoubtedly a specimen of the “Hoym taler”, which was issued by the Wroclaw mint to commemorate the 42nd birthday of Karl Georg Heinrich von Hoym, the Minister in charge of Silesia. The king criticised this move and forced the mint master in Wroclaw to remelt all available specimens of this issue, meaning that the Hoym taler is now one of the great rarities of Prussian numismatics.

Lot 1176 – Nuremberg. Goldgulden 1646 (from 1645). Extremely fine to mint state. Estimate: 10,000 EUR.

Coins of the Free Imperial City of Nuremberg

Nuremberg was one of the most significant free imperial cities of the early modern period. It is therefore no wonder that it was able to mint some spectacular coinage. Some of the finest specimens will be presented in Auction 86 at Heidelberger Münzhandlung. The condition of the pieces is particularly fantastic! If you’re a collector of either coins from Nuremberg or coins depicting beautiful cityscapes, make sure you don’t miss this auction!

Lot 1392 – Würzburg. Johann Hartmann von Rosenbach, 1673-1675. Taler, no date. Extremely rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 17,000 EUR.

Würzburg Rarities

There are only 11 lots from Würzburg up for auction, but they boast a total estimate of over 60,000 euros – that should speak for itself. Herbert Grün will be offering some of the greatest rarities among Würzburg’s talers and gold coins. For example, one of these specimens is an extremely rare taler of Prince-Bishop Philipp Adolf von Ehrenberg, who went down in Würzburg history as a notorious witch-hunter. Our second example was minted under Johann Hartmann von Rosenbach, who was officially elected Bishop in March 1673, but not consecrated until 6 January 1675, shortly before he succumbed to a stroke on 19 April of the same year. No wonder his talers are so rare!

Lot 1581 – German Empire. Baden. Frederick I, 1852-1907. 5 mark 1875. Showpiece. Very rare in this condition. FDC. Estimate: 10,000 EUR.

German Empire

As always, this Heidelberger Münzhandlung auction concludes with an extensive range of coins from the German Empire. And, as always, this includes a number of extremely rare and excellently preserved pieces. For example, this is an exceptionally well-preserved 5-mark coin of Frederick I of Baden, a piece rarely found in this condition.

The auction concludes with a small selection of 61 lots of German paper money.


The two catalogues issued by Heidelberger Münzhandlung can be purchased for €12.50 at Heidelberger Münzhandlung Herbert Grün, Gaisbergstr. 40, 69115 Heidelberg; Tel: ++49 / 6221 / 65 2970; Fax: ++49 / 6221 / 65 297-29; Email.

Of course, the catalogue is also available to view online on Biddr.

For more information on the auction house go to the website of Heidelberger Münzhandlung.