World Coins

Multiple taler, mining taler coins highlight auction from Künker

A landmark multimillion-dollar collection of multiple-taler (löser) and mining coins heads to auction Oct. 30 in London.

London Coin Galleries Ltd. in collaboration with Fritz Rudolf Künker offers the largest collection of löser and mining coins ever offered for sale. The coins are owned by the company once known as Preussag AG, a hospitality company and conglomerate that got its start in mining. 

The auction includes 217 löser and 327 mining coins. These coins are struck in silver or gold, in sizes representing various multiples of the standard taler weight. In some cases, these were rare presentation pieces or represented samples of the mines' bounty.

The company was founded as a mining firm in 1923, but ownership, headquarters and business lines have shifted during the intervening nine decades. With interests in products ranging from coal to skin care, the company further diversifed in 1997 when it acquired Hapag-Lloyd, entering Preussag into the transportation business, and the tourism industry soon after. TUI, as Preussag renamed itself in 2002, is the world’s largest tourism group, currently covering nearly 70 percent of the European travel market.

The Preussag Collection, comprising löser, yield coins and mining coins, dates back to the company’s heyday during the 1970s. 

With the professional advice of Karl Müseler, Preussag assembled a unique collection during those years. The 217 löser coins are a record for a collection, according to the firm. Neither the Meirhof Collection, comprising 170 löser pieces, auctioned March 12, 1930, nor the Edward D. Milas Collection, with 117 examples, sold by Spink Taisei on Oct. 21, 1992, can compete.

The first part of the auction offers virtually every löser type, represented by several cons in various weights. 

The sale includes 12 examples of the juliuslöser, the first löser, issued in the years after 1574 in the name of Duke Julius. 

One of them, the 5-reichsthaler coin from Heinrichstadt in Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel struck in a weight of 4.5 reichsthaler, is “extremely rare.” Graded Very Fine, the coin has an estimate of £20,000 (about  $30,815 U.S.).

As noted, this example is one of 12 juliuslöser coins in the sale, with estimates ranging from £1,500 to the £20,000.

A gold jakobslöser of 20 goldgulden from 1625, minted by Frederick Ulrich of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, is “probably unique,” according to the firm. 

The coin depicts Jacobus the Elder, a reference to the St. Jakob Mine at Lauenthal. On behalf of the duke, the mint was put under control of the Brunswick mining administration in 1623, and was made lucrative through a major capital investment. 

In Extremely Fine condition, the coin has an estimate of £150,000 ($230,985 U.S.). 

Mining coins

Just as many rarities and storied coins are offered in the section of mining coins. The pieces represent small, special emissions from metal sourced at specific mines referenced on the issues. 

Though many mining coins come from Germany and reflect the Habsburg Empire, the collection covers the rest of Europe and other parts of the world, including the United States (whose pioneer gold coins qualify as mining coins). 

Mining coins in the collection range in date from the 16th to the 20th century. 

The only known example in private hands of a gold medal denominated 25 ducats from 1681 is one such highlight.

Frederick William of Brandenburg-Prussia ordered its production, using gold brought back from Capt. Philipp Pietersen Blonck’s first expedition of the African Trading Company, to the coast of Guinea and Angola.

The coin has a pedigree including royal lineage, once belonging to the Prussian King Frederick II before he sold it in the 18th century.

In EF condition, this coin has an estimate of £75,000 ($115,470 U.S.). 

Another “probably unique” coin, a 1648 gold 10-ducat coin of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III, has a golden meaning.

The coin was struck from metal mined from the Ferdinand Mine at Schemnitz, modern-day Hungary. Its reverse depicts the sun in symbol of gold. The legend on the reverse translates as "Under lucky stars fate is recreated, and Hungary offers to you, Ferdinand, the fruit of your mines." 

The EF coin has an estimate of £100,000 ($154,055 U.S.).

The final highlight showcased here is from Russia.

The 1832 gold 5-ruble coin from St. Petersburg is made of metal mined from the gold mines at Kolyvan. 

“Its yields were something even the Prussian King Frederick wanted to be informed about by his ambassador John Eustace of Goertz,” according to the auction firm.

The Good VF coin is estimated at £20,000 ($30,815 U.S.).

The full illustrated catalog, written in German, may be viewed at the Künker website

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