by Hadrien Rambach
The provenance “ex Trau” refers to the sales in January 1904, May 1935 and April 1936, of the coins collected by three generations of the Trau family: Carl Trau (1811-1887), Franz Trau (1842-1905) and Franz Trau II (1881-1931). Unfortunately, the sale catalogues do not record which family member was responsible for the purchase of each coin, and only very few dates/places of acquisition.
Carl Trau had travelled Europe before running a chemist’s shop in Vienna 1843-1850. He then started the first tea-import business in Vienna, first importing tea from London and the Hansa towns, and later directly from China. This led him to collecting Oriental art, and Japanese items, in addition to religious medieval art, prints, miniatures, manuscripts, and an almost complete collections of the coins of Carinthia (his wife’s homeland).
Carl was a founding-member of the Austrian Numismatic Society in 1870, and his son Franz was a member of its first committee. Franz Senior continued to develop the family business, and focused his collecting interests in antiquity rather than the Medieval period: his pseudonym in the local coin club was Carus though he collected every Roman emperor. The first auction, which took place in Vienna in January 1904, contained only 522 ancient coins (among 2357 lots of coins, medals and numismatic books), and the beautiful coins that can be found in the La Borde collection come from the 1935-1936 sales instead.
His son Franz Junior had military training, but his father died when he was only 23 and he had to take over the business and the collections.
- John Spring, Ancient Coins Auction Catalogues 1880-1980, London 2009, pp. 70-71.
- Hadrien Rambach, “Provenance glossary”, in Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 91: the George W. La Borde collection of Roman aurei – part I, Zurich, 23 May 2016, pp. -.
- Hadrien Rambach, “Provenance glossary”, in Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 99: the George W. La Borde collection of Roman aurei – part II, Zurich, 29 May 2017, pp. 47-63.
- Hadrien Rambach, “Provenance glossary”, in Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 105: the George W. La Borde collection of Roman aurei – part III, Zurich, 9 May 2018, pp. 82-105.
This article was first published in a catalogue of auction house Numismatica Ars Classica.