Spectacular Taler Collection at Heidelberger Münzhandlung
Lovers of coins in outstanding condition all over the world will be thrilled. In their two upcoming auctions on 10 and 11 November 2020, Heidelberger Münzhandlung Herbert Grün e. K. will offer what these collectors enjoy most: gold and silver coins of excellent quality. While auction 79 covers the entire spectrum of numismatics from antiquity to present times, auction 80 presents two special collections of a kind that can rarely be found on the market. First, 341 lots containing selected Nuremberg coins will be on offer, including pieces from the Middle Ages to 1807 and covering all denominations from pfennigs to multiple ducats. This is followed by a special collection of 462 German talers, double guldens and double talers struck between 1800 and 1872, most of them FDC or better, including numerous first strikes.
Anyone familiar with the world of German numismatics knows that auction house Grün has a very conservative approach when it comes to grading coins. All these pieces would have obtained excellent grades at any American grading institute. Heidelberger Münzhandlung decided against having them graded to meet the habits of German collectors.
Due to the current situation regarding Covid-19, Heidelberger Münzhandlung opted not to hold a public auction. Instead, live bidding will be possible. Those who prefer the traditional ways of bidding can obviously submit bids via email, letter or phone.
Special Collection of Nuremberg Coins
From an undated heller minted at the beginning of the 15th century to a machine-produced kreuzer from 1807 – that’s the time frame set by the creator of this special collection of Nuremberg coins. As is usual regarding great collections, the first part of auction 80 has something to offer for collectors of all budgets: estimates range between 25 euros and 12,500 euros. However, there is one thing that all coins that made it into this collection have in common: they are of excellent quality! Whether it be a small coin, taler or multiple ducat, every single issue could be a showpiece.
The city of Nuremberg used to be under special protection of the German emperor, who appointed the House of Hohenzollern as Burgraves of Nuremberg. When Burgrave Frederick VI was constituted administrator of the Margraviate of Brandenburg by King Sigismund in 1411, the Nuremberg council succeeded in taking over this office. Thus, Nuremberg became one of the most prosperous and innovative imperial cities of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1423, the same King Sigismund granted the Imperial regalia to be stored at Nuremberg. The Nuremberg special collection, from which we will present some highlights, begins with an issue that roughly stems from this very epoch.
One of the outstanding pieces of this collection is this interesting gold gulden from 1580 featuring the crowned portrait of Emperor Rudolf II on one side and both coats of arms of Nuremberg on the other side.
Unlike most Imperial Cities, Nuremberg did not have one but two coats of arms. The great coat of arms, which was used for the first time on a seal of 1240, depicts a golden eagle with the head of a crowned virgin on a blue background. The small coat of arms was influenced by the colours of the first Burgraves of Nuremberg – not by the Hohenzollern, but by their predecessors, the Lower Austrian Counts of Raabs: the coat of arms is divided and shows a black eagle on a golden background in one field, a shield in red and silver divided by five diagonal lines in the other field. This extremely rare taler from 1628 depicts a genius presenting both coats of arms while Emperor Ferdinand II can be seen on a horse dressed in coronation regalia.
This taler featuring the magnificent city view and an angel flying above it with victor’s wreath and palm branch was made in 1635, i.e. during the terrible time of the Thirty Years’ War. However, this war was anything but victorious: it was the end of the golden age of Nuremberg. The prosperous trading city suffered considerably from several occupations. Due to the epidemics of the 17th century, the population could not recover from these events. The magnificent buildings became testimonies to past greatness.
Even though the coins do not show any of this: the Free Imperial City of Nuremberg – which proudly presents the imperial eagle as a symbol of its imperial immediacy on this extremely rare taler with zig-zag edge of 1694 – had failed to adapt to modern times. The illusion that its time of power was not over could only be created by taking on ever-increasing debts. When the independence of Nuremberg came to an end, these debts had grown to the incredible amount of 9,923,580 guldens in capital plus 2,292,520 guldens in interest.
This ducat was dedicated to the homage paid to Francis II as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. When Francis II stepped down in view of Napoleon’s coronation as emperor in 1806 and Nuremberg fell under Bavarian rule in the same year, the end of independent municipal coinage was approaching. Therefore, this part of the auction sale ends with a small series of pfennigs and kreuzers from 1807.
German Talers, Double Guldens and Double Talers from 1800 to 1872
The second special collection to dominate the upcoming auction of Heidelberger Münzhandlung covers an epoch that immediately follows the time frame set for the Nuremberg special collection. It contains pieces struck in the period starting with the Napoleonic Wars and ending with the foundation of the German Empire under Prussian leadership. The collector focused on impressive talers, double guldens and double talers while paying special attention to the quality of the issues. With the exception of very few pieces, all issues are at least of extremely fine or better quality. Furthermore there are numerous first strikes and examples of coins struck in proof quality, a technique that already existed in the 19th century and that entailes a special preparation of dies and blanks for the minting process.
Of course this auction preview presents the highlights of this sale, the pieces that are particularly outstanding due to their rarity and beauty, such as this double gulden of 1848 commemorating the deliberation on the foundation of the German parliament in St. Paul’s Church in Frankfurt. However, presenting such splendid pieces should not hide the fact that there are also common coins of extraordinary quality with estimates in the low three-digit range on offer. Studying the catalogue and sitting in front of the computer during the entire auction waiting for an opportunity to acquire a special piece at a favourable price is definitely worthwhile for every collector.
Thus, for example, this collection contains 19 coins of the Dukes of Nassau. The estimates range from 200 euros up to 35,000 euros, regarding the quality of the pieces, the “worst” two coins are extremely fine to mint state. All other pieces are in better condition! What an offer!
This piece is from Saxony, it is an example for all the rarities that can be found in this auction sale. The King of Saxony repeatedly had extremely rare award issues minted in the form of talers (Prämientaler), both for the Freiberg Mining Academy and for the Academy of Forestry in Tharandt. They are rare, highly sought-after Saxon rarities, only 50 specimens of this Saxon premium double taler were minted.
By the way, if you are collecting Saxon yield issues, you should not miss this auction, too. It offers a wealth of rare pieces of outstanding quality.
Napoleon’s little brother was responsible for this konventionstaler from 1810. The piece, which is almost mint state, features on the obverse the Order of the Crown of Westphalia founded by Jerome Bonaparte on the left, and the Order of the Legion of Honour founded by his brother, the emperor, on the right.
And this brings us to the “regular” auction of Heidelberger Münzhandlung, auction 79, offering World Coins and Medals of different owners from ancient to modern times. Especially the section of ancient issues has a lot to offer this time, there are more than 500 lots! Connoisseurs will spot many perfect pieces that meet the highest standards, however, there are even more coins that are affordable to average collectors. Thus, many lovers of coins from the Roman Republic will be pleased to discover that 174 lots from their field of interest are on sale, and even the great rarities – although they might not be of perfect quality – are offered at attractive estimates.
Also this catalogue contains numerous aurei from the Roman Empire, some of them of excellent quality. Taking a look at the offer is worth it for all those who like to be seduced by the lustre of precious metal and appreciate the historical background of a coin.
By the way, if you are interested in this background, you should definitely take a close look at the offer of bibliophile books published before 1900. Our favourite is a commented Suetonius edition from 1591 containing several depictions of coins. Even in the 16th century, collecting coins was the perfect hobby for anyone interested in history.
World Coins and Medals are represented by about 200 lots. Most remarkable is a series of around 50 lots with French coins as well as some selected individual pieces such as this 5 ducat piece from Czechoslovakia, minted in 1930 in Kremnica.
Holy Roman Empire
There are about 75 lots of issues of the Holy Roman Empire, particularly noteworthy are a series of medals from the Turkish war as well as an extensive selection of ducats of the Austrian emperors Ferdinand I and Franz Joseph. They were made in the mints of Vienna, Karlsburg and Kremnica.
Also this auction focuses on Germany, namely on the German States, the German Empire and the Weimar Republic. In the section of issues from the German States, collectors will find a wealth of interesting pieces and small series, such as an extensive series of more than 60 lots containing issues of Frederick II of Prussia.
In addition, collectors of Goetz medals will have the opportunity to add some rarities to their collections.
As always, Grün obviously also offers a wide range of coin from the German Empire. As an example, we present one of the rarest silver coins of the German Empire: 5 marks Baden 1891 without the horizontal line in the letter A of the word Baden.
Let’s end this preview with a rare German banknote offered after the section of coins of the Weimar Republic and those of the German colonies. No less than two specimens of this series issued in August 1948 will be on offer.
The corresponding auction catalogue can be purchased for the nominal fee of 12.50 EUR at Heidelberger Münzhandlung Herbert Grün, Gaisbergstr. 40, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany; phone: +49 / 6221 / 65 2970; fax: +49 / 6221 / 65 297-29; e-mail.