In auction 81 (27 October 2022), the Swiss auction house SINCONA will offer the coin collection of Max Walty-Hüssy. The latter’s great-grandson, Dr. Jürg Widmer, wrote a preface to the auction catalogue with personal memories of the collector on behalf of the Widmer heirs, which will be published here:
Max Walty was our great-grandfather on our father’s side. Unfortunately, we only lived to know him briefly, my sister Jacqueline was 3 and I was 9 years old when he passed away after a rich, long life. We mostly learned from our parents and from other relatives what we can tell about him.
On the one hand, Max Walty was a sincere, obliging person, but he also had very specific principles and, if necessary, was disposed to enforce them rigorously, as was still custom in those days. For example, we were told that he became very indignant when lunch was not served at 12 o’clock sharp, whatever the reason. From today’s perspective, one would probably describe him as a proper “grand seigneur”, as there were many around at his time. We were told that he had his own beer glass with his name engraved on it at his favourite pub in Oftringen, and that his seat was always reserved for him. Professionally speaking, for many years he headed what would later become the Oftringen paper and cardboard factory, which had been founded in the early 19th century on a farm by his ancestors. Ultimately, he passed it on to his son-in-law (Max only had a daughter), Otto Widmer-Walty, and the latter led it to success with a great deal of entrepreneurial vision and skill, later together with his three sons as a family business.
Shortly before his death, our father is said to have asked his grandfather Max what he personally considered to be the most important technical achievement invented throughout his life (just think about it: Max was born when there was no electric light yet and died in the year when, as is well known, the first man set foot on the moon!…). Our great-grandfather answered immediately: electricity and thus, after kerosene and carbide lamps, electric light!
Besides his profession, Max Walty also devoted himself to other subjects with just as much passion. For many years, he extensively collected gold and silver coins, among other things, and left his descendants a remarkably large and interesting collection. He carefully wrote handwritten descriptions for all of his coins and, as was custom at the time, meticulously sorted them by countries and cantons and stored them in special wooden drawers. Since none of us both and neither of our children are collectors and do not have a special connection to coins besides the symbolic memory of our great- and great-great-grandfather, we would like to sell them as a whole at auction, hoping that others who are more interested in numismatics, know more about the subject and are more committed to it, may enjoy his collection so that the coins will be virtually “brought back to life”.
This article was first published in a catalogue by the SINCONA AG auction house.