World Coins

German medalist Karl Goetz inspired by news events

Famed medalist Karl Goetz is known for his satirical art, but this medal celebrating the nomination of Adolph Hitler as chancellor of Germany lacks the biting tone associated with Goetz.

Medal images courtesy of Presidential Coin & Antique Co.

German medallic artist Karl Goetz has a rich legacy of artwork, especially of a satirical nature.

One piece coming up for sale in Presidential Coin & Antique Co.’s auction No. 86, ending Aug. 29, however, simply celebrates a news event, with no perception of its grave consequences.

According to researcher Gunter Kienast, in The Medals of Karl Goetz, the artist often found inspiration for his works by reading the newspaper. 

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“Goetz, stirred by an exciting event, would sit down at his bench and spontaneously create a medal which interpreted the newspaper account he had just read,” wrote Kienast.

When Adolf Hitler was nominated as chancellor by President Paul von Hindenburg on Jan. 30, 1933, Goetz memorialized the event in medallic form. The “With Hindenburg For Germany” medal (cataloged by the researcher as Kienast 484) was one such example. 

The medal commemorates Hindenburg’s nomination of Hitler as chancellor and Franz von Papen as vice chancellor. This example measures 139.6 millimeters in diameter. 

The obverse features busts of Hindenburg, Hitler and Von Papen with their names around. 

The reverse displays a German soldier holding a shield whose inscription translates to “National Front,” while slaying a dragon.

According to H. Joseph Levine, of the auction firm, Goetz submitted this medal to the Brown House, the Nazi Party headquarters for all of Germany, for approval, but after a long wait, approval was denied as the reverse did not display a swastika and Goetz was not a party member. A later, edited, design was made with a swastika on the shield; that design was approved and struck in 60-millimeter and 36-millimeter sizes. 

Graded About Uncirculated by Levine, the offered medal, of the earlier, sans swastika, design, has an estimate of $1,750+.

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