Historical evidence of the international coin trade in Künker


From December 7 to 9, 2021, Künker will be offering nearly 2,000 lots of historical auction catalogs, constituting part 3 of the Alain Poinsignon Library.

From December 7 to 9, 2021, part 3 of the Alain Poinsignon Library will be offered. It contains nearly 2,000 lots with historical auction catalogs. You will find all the big names in the numismatic world there: from Adolph E. Cahn to L. & L. Hamburger and Felix Schlessinger, from Henri Rolland in Paris and Jacques Schulman in Amsterdam to Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge in London.

From December 7 to 9, 2021, the Osnabrück Künker auction house is offering in its eLive Premium Auction 357 nearly 2,000 lots with historical price lists and auction catalogs from the Alain Poinsignon Library. Many collectors from all over the world know the Strasbourg coin dealer. He opened his first coin mechanism in 1974 in Mulhouse. In 1984, he moved to Strasbourg, where he ran the “Poinsignon Numismatique” store for several decades. Alain Poinsignon was proud of the excellent quality of his monetary identifications, for which he built up a vast library. With around 8,000 books, magazines and 3,000 auction catalogs, its numismatic library is probably one of the most important specialist libraries in Europe in private hands.

With meticulousness, know-how and passion, Alain Poinsignon has collected historical auction catalogs from the 19th and early 20th centuries which are of paramount importance for any coin dealer concerned about the provenance of special coins. A bibliophile’s delight awaits the bidder. Alain Poinsignon himself was a bibliophile in the best sense of the word and attached particular importance to neat bindings.

3566 JOSEPH HAMBURGER, Auction [1] of October 16, 1905, Frankfurt am Main. Max Ritter von Wilmerdörffer’sche Münzen und Medaillen-Sammlung. Erste series: Kunstmedaillen der Renaissance, Münzen und Medaillen der Schweiz, Frankreich, Elsass und Lothringne, Baden, Württemberg, Hohenzollern. Poinsignon half-leather binding. Dedication copy printed on fine paper.)

A look at the history of the international coin trade

Auction catalogs and fixed price lists are the best source to piece together the history of the coins trade. Therefore, it is absolutely justified that these works have become collector’s items over the past two decades. They tell us about the men and women who have provided coins to collectors around the world for many centuries.

At this point we would like to present just one example. It represents many coin acceptors and collectors whose past is documented by the works that are part of the Poinsignon Library.

Lot # 3566 takes us to Frankfurt, where Leo Hamburger, founder of Germany’s most important coin dealer at the time, died on February 12, 1902. The name L. & L. Hamburger was for him and his cousin of the same name, who had helped him develop the business as a partner for almost 30 years. But Leo Hamburger had a son. Although Joseph learned the trade in his father’s coin shop for a few years, he preferred to go abroad to make his fortune. He did not succeed. He therefore returned home to claim his share of the inheritance as soon as he learned of his father’s death. Naturally, an argument broke out between him and the younger Leo Hamburger. The dispute was not resolved until more than a year later. Joseph Hamburger got his father’s house, which until then housed the L. & L. Hamburger coin store. Leo Hamburger the Younger took over the business, including all assets and liabilities. However, he had to move and establish his business at a new address. At that time, Leo Hamburger and Joseph Hamburger were competing for the former clients of the late founder of the company.

Joseph Hamburger pulled off a hit in this process, as evidenced by his first auction catalog: he managed to convince friends of his family to auction their extensive collection with him immediately after the new company was founded. Max Ritter von Wilmersdörffer, who died in 1903, had been Josef Nathan Oberndörffer’s apprentice in Munich with Joseph’s father, Leo Hamburger. In addition to his bank, Oberndörffer operated an international coin concession in Ansbach, Munich, Vienna and Paris. So Wilmersdörffer trained as a banker and numismatist, and when he married Oberndörffer’s only daughter he became his heir. After Oberndörffer’s death, Wilmersdörffer became head of the bank while the coins business was still operated by Abraham Merzbacher, who had married a niece of Oberndörffer. In 1873, the bank severed ties with its numismatic department, which became the Munich Merzbacher coin store. But Wilmersdörffer had obviously caught the numismatic virus. He became one of Bavaria’s most important coin collectors and a founding member of the Bavarian Numismatic Society.

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Collectors, collectors, collectors

It’s a lot of history for little money, isn’t it? If you can’t afford medallions from the Gnecchi collection, aurei from the Montagu collection, Greek coins from the Caruso collection or unique rarities from the collection of Egyptian king Farouk, the auction catalogs that featured these collections are a real alternative. You can find catalogs from all your favorite origins at the Poinsignon Library in Künker.

All the lots have a starting price of 10 euros, which is why every bibliophile has a chance to get their hands on one of the nearly 2000 lots.

You can find the eLive Premium auction online at www.eLive-Auction.de. To order a catalog, contact Künker, Nobbenburger Straße 4a, 49076 Osnabrück; telephone: +49 541 962020, fax: +49 541 9620222; or by e-mail: [email protected] Remember to register for the online auction in time if you do not yet have your myKuenker account.


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