One of the biggest pre-war collections is that of Meißen-based businessman Ernst Otto Horn. Now, the first part of it will be auctioned off in Künker’s auction sale #254 – and this is not the only highlight of the October auction. On Saturday, 4 October, 2014, the sale of orders and decorations will be conducted, which is the 10th of Künker’s so far. It will include fabulous items, like a collection Oldenburg as well as the insignia of the Russian Imperial Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called, estimated at 750,000 euros. Next in line is auction #254 with many rarities, such as large series from China, Italy and Switzerland as well as the Horst Nussmann Collection comprising coins and medals from Henneberg. Auction sale #255 consists not only of the Horn Collection but likewise of a comprehensive series Great Britain since Cromwell and a huge selection of Russian coins with several rarities. Catalog 256 with gold coins likewise presents interesting series from Italy, Great Britain and Switzerland, apart from many imperial coins with all rarities in gold. The last day of the sale is devoted to ancient coins. The connoisseur discovers any number of intriguing single items, portrait coins in conditions well above average plus gems in gold.
Auction sale 253 – Orders and Decorations
More than 1,600 lots of orders and decorations will be called on 4 October, 2014. In the section Germany, the Oldenburg Collection assembled by F. Beyreiß stands out. It consists of almost 150 objects, including – and this is the unrivaled highlight – the set of the Golden Great Cross with Chain of the Oldenburg House and Merit Order of Duke Peter Frederick Louis (150, II, estimate: 20,000 euros).
Here are the highlights from Germany and Europe, although, strictly speaking, there will be enough material available for every budget:
- A Pour le mérite from the estate of a general serving in WWI (298, II-, estimate: 18,000 euros)
- An order chain of the Danish Order of the Elephant (608, II, estimate: 30,000 euros)
- A Grand Cross Collar set of the Order of the White Rose of Finland (660, I-II, estimate: 15,000 euros).
- A Military Honor Medal “Tiroler Denkmünze”, donated by Emperor Francis II, from the possession of a noble family in Southern Tyrolia from 1797 (995, I-II, estimate: 18,000 euros), and
- An Order of Osmanieh 1st Class (1609, I-II, estimate: 40,000 euros)
Mention should also be made of the special collection Italy with more than 130 lots, the rarest item of which is not martial at all. It is an elegant decoration of a lady in waiting of Maria Antonia Grand Duchess of Tuscany, which she donated in 1833 (816, II+, estimate: 10,000 euros).
The special collection Russia will meet the greatest interest possible. A single item outshines all other objects on offer. It is the collar set of the Imperial Order of St. Andrew the First-Called. The former recipient of this first-class Russian rarity is not known by name, but catalog author Michael Autengruber was able to limit the possible candidates down to three persons: they all are members of the Romanow family. The pre-sale estimate of this one of a kind museum piece amounts to 750,000 euros (1121, I-II).
Naturally, there are many more Russian rarities available for sale, such as the Imperial Order of St. Alexander Nevsky (1123, II, estimate: 35,000 euros) and the Imperial Order of St. Anne (1154, II, estimate: 30,000 euros). The otherwise quite rare Imperial and Royal Order of the White Eagle is represented with several variants at once (1126, II, estimate: 30,000 euros / 1127, IV/II-III, estimate: 20,000 euros / 1129, II, estimate: 40,000 euros).
Auction sale 254 – Coins and Medals from Medieval and Modern Times
Künker continues its auction on Monday, 6 October, 2014, with coins and medals from medieval and modern times. We could easily dwell on this alone for pages since this area contains many reasonably estimated, rare and splendidly preserved pieces featuring good provenances that make the heart of every collector beat faster. A case in point is the series of Carolingian coins, including a denarius of Louis the Pious from Melle, with a presentation of the coining tools on its reverse (2034, VF, estimate: 2,000 euros). Or how about a pattern for a 5 francs piece, issued by Bonapartists in 1874, whose obverse is graced by the portraits of the son of the brought down emperor as Napoleon IV (2142, EF-BU, estimate: 1,500 euros). The testone of Alfonso d’Este from Ferrara (2261, VF, estimate: 2,000 euros) will surely find as many fans as the giulio bearing the portrait of controversial Julius II and the mint mark of the Fugger family (2278, VF, estimate: 1,500 euros) or the double ducatoni 1641 from Milan featuring the portrait of Philip IV (2314, VF-EF, estimate: 25,000 euros).
Especially remarkable is the offer of almost 190 lots comprising Swiss coins, including such unusually rare items like, for example, a Basel groschen no date (2524, HMZ 2-52a, VF-EF, estimate: 2,500 euros) and early high denomination silver coins like a Berne guldiner from 1494 (2536, VF-EF, estimate: 3,000 euros), a Zurich guldiner from the Hegibach Collection from 1512 (2627, VF, estimate: 5,000 euros) or a thaler from Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden dating from 1565 (2610, VF, estimate: 5,000 euros).
The roughly 80 lots of Chinese coins should not go unmentioned as well, including rarities like a dollar for the Fengtien Province from 1907 with the inscription MANCHURIAN PROVINCES (2790, VF-EF, estimate: 6,000 euros) and a dollar from the Pei-Yang Province from 1899, graded MS62 by NGC (2799, EF-uncirculated, estimate: 10,000 euros).
And this takes us right to the collection of Horst Nussmann with coins and medals from Henneberg. The approximately 250 lots cover the period from the 13th to the 18th centuries. The objects on offer not only include gorgeous bracteates like the pfennig minted in Schmalkalden in 1270/90 depicting a rider with a flag and a lion shield (3262, ab. EF, estimate: 250 euros) but likewise magnificent Renaissance portraits, like the sale’s most expensive piece, a presentation coin of William VI in the weight of 3 thaler made from the coining dies of 1557, that presumably was produced during the 16th or the 17th century (3287, ab. EF, estimate: 5,000 euros).
Last but not least there are the almost 150 lots of paper money as well as the collection of coin scales – so every collector is recommended to browse through the catalog very carefully.
Auction sale 255 –Horn Collection, Part I / English Coins after 1658 / Russian Coins and Medals
The same goes for auction sale #255 that entails as many as three special collections at once. They are in a class of its own: the first one bears a name that alone makes every collector become excited. For more than 60 years now, the core of the Ernst Otto Horn Collection remains untouched. Thanks to an amicable arrangement it has now become possible to sell the Horn Collection, just as the collector himself had stipulated in his testament as early as 1945.
Auction #255 comprises almost 700 lots that make only the first part of the collection. You will find coins from all of Europe in superb conditions. Some of these are rarities, some pieces are more usual that, however, are seldom encountered on the market in this state of preservation. To name but one example: how many perfect 10 lepta pieces from 1831 (4548, EF, estimate: 250 euros) have you seen so far in your career as a collector?
The German part of the collection is just the same. Three outstanding items are: a löser worth 10 reichsthaler, struck by Henry Julius of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel in Zellerfeld in 1609 (4724, VF, estimate: 25,000 euros), a mule of a thick triple reichsthaler of the Archbishopric Mainz from 1639 (4861, VF, estimate: 20,000 euros) and an extremely rare ½ reichsthaler of William of Saxe-Weimar on the taking over of the presidency of the University of Jena by Bernhard of Saxe-Jena (5092, ab. uncirculated, estimate: 5,000 euros). The last piece stands for the many Saxon coins, which Horn as a proud citizen of Meissen has in his collection.
Next is the collection Great Britain made of almost 400 lots of coins since Cromwell. Even though the many unusually well-preserved magnificent specimens, like for example the ½ crown from 1658 (5198, EF-uncirculated, estimate: 4,000 euros) will surely exceed the pre-sale estimate, the collector discovers quite a number of reasonably priced pieces, some of which are available for mere 20 euros!
Let us have a look at the Russian section as well, that consists of more than 400 lots including rarities in great quantities, as always. To name just the three most expensive items: a roubel of Peter I from 1720, minted in Moscow in the Kadashevsky Mint (5596, ab. EF, estimate: 20,000 euros), a roubel of Catherine I from 1727, minted in St. Petersburg (5665, VF-EF, estimate: 20,000 euros) plus a gold 10 roubel piece of Tsarina Elizabeth from St. Petersburg from 1756 (5711, traces of mounting, VF-EF, estimate: 20,000 euros).
Auction sale 256 – Gold Coins / German Coins after 1871
The gold coins are scheduled to be auctioned off on 9 October, 2014. Naturally, there are many more coins on offer than we could ever mention in such a preview. The focus in regard to the foreign countries is being laid on England – with a ryal worth 15 shillings of Catholic Mary I of England, minted in London in 1553 (6630, VF, estimate: 30,000 euros), on Italy – with a full and a half augustalis (6704, VF+, estimate: 8,000 euros, and 6705, VF-EF, estimate: 6,000 euros) as well as on Switzerland – with ample series of rare gold coins coming from Berne and Zurich, such a Zurich ducat without date (c. 1580) (6780, VF-EF, estimate: 4,000 euros).
Likewise remarkable are the rarities from overseas, for example a set of Chinese commemorative coins 1990 ‘Dragon and Phoenix’ (6858, PP, estimate: 50,000 euros), a VIP Proof set 2005 from North Korea, of which no more than 10 had been issued (6905, Proof, estimate: 5,000 euros), and a 7 tien piece of the Vietnamese emperor Tu Duc (6964, EF, estimate: 7,500 euros).
As if that were not enough already, the expert discovers a great deal of rarities amongst the coins of the German Empire as well, like – and we can only single out two cases in point here – a 10 mark piece Prussia 1878 B, J. 245 (7397, EF-uncirculated, estimate: 50,000 euros) and a 20 mark piece Württemberg 1913 (7526, Proof, estimate: 30,000 euros).
Let us conclude this part of the preview with one of the big rarities of the GDR coins, i.e. the pattern for the 5 mark piece 1986, ‘Einstein Tower Potsdam’ with a mintage of 10 specimens only (7951, uncirculated, estimate: 20,000 euros).
Auction sale 257 – Ancient Coins
Roughly 1,300 lots containing ancient coins constitute the last part of the Künker auction week. But there will be no such thing as a cool down because this catalog, too, is made up of highlights, presenting several superbly preserved gems with the ‘Collection of an Aesthetic’. The aficionado is first introduced to more than 280 lots of Celtic and Greek coins, after which numerous denarii from the Roman Republic follow which come in an extraordinarily good quality, but there are also bronze coins from Roman Imperial Times available bearing excellent portraits. Two examples might suffice: an as of Emperor Hadrian depicting the personification of the province of Egypt on its reverse (8522, EF, estimate: 4,000 euros) and a sestertius of Marcus Aurelius (8538, EF, estimate: 4,000 euros). Mention should also be made of this collection’s many coins of rarely encountered emperors whose perfect state of preservation and excellent portraits were the decisive criteria for the ‘aesthetic’ to collect them in the first place. This is evidenced, for example, by a follis of Domitius Domitianus dating from A. D. 297 (8670, EF, estimate: 4,000 euros).
In addition, there is a number of remarkable gold coins to discover, like a gold stater from Cyrene, struck between 322 and 313 B. C. (8284, VF, estimate: 5,000 euros), several gold coins from the Roman Republic among them a gold quinarius of L. Munatius Plancus for Caesar which is of utmost rarity (8839, VF, estimate: 12,500 euros), and a great number of beautiful aurei from Imperial Times, like an aureus of Titus (8929, EF, estimate: 30,000 euros), of Commodus (9021, EF+, estimate: 25,000 euros) and of Licinius, respectively (9099, EF, estimate: 60,000 euros).
Despite its estimates ranging in the more modest regions, the small series of smaller denominations from the Alexandria Mint is at least as spectacular to the specialist as the gold coins. A good example is the inconspicuous dichalkon of Hadrian from the regnal year 14 (= 129/30), that is neither part of the Köln Collection nor described by Kampmann / Ganschow (8981, VF, estimate: 100 euros).
The auction sale is concluded by some historically highly important coins dating from the Migration Period and from Byzantium, like a solidus of Theoderich II in the name of Majorian (9222, EF, estimate: 15,000 euros).
The catalogs may be ordered at Künker, Gutenbergstraße 23, D-49 076 Osnabrück; phone +49 (0)541 / 96 20 20; telefax: +49 (0)541 / 96 20 222; or by writing an email: All coins can be viewed online four weeks prior to the auction sale at https://www.kuenker.de/Unsere_Auktionen.Kuenker