World Coins

Gold medal from Hamburg 1842 fire-aid fundraiser

A large gold medal from 1842 was issued to raise funds for victims of the Great Fire of Hamburg.

Images courtesy of Teutoburger Münzauktion.

After the German city of Hamburg experienced a massive fire in 1842, a distinctive fundraiser helped pay expenses for the victims.

The medalist G. Loos in Berlin issued a commemorative medal that was offered to the public in bronze and silver versions. One gold medal was created, and this unique item is offered in Teutoburger Münzauktion’s auction No. 112, scheduled for Feb. 23.

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The Great fire of Hamburg began early May 5, 1842, and burned until the morning of May 8, destroying about one-third of the buildings in the inner ring district of the Altstadt.

In total, 51 people were killed and 1,700 residences and several important public buildings were destroyed. The fire required major rebuilding of the city and led to improvements in its infrastructure.

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Bronze examples of the medal were sold for half a taler while silver examples cost two talers. The unique gold medal was struck close to the specifications of 12 ducats, but its actual issue cost is not specified by the auction house.

The obverse of the medal depicts a map of the city, surrounded by an inscription noting the dates of the fire.

A Phoenix rises from the ashes on the reverse, with an inscription that translates to “Hamburg will rise again more glorious than ever before.”

The gold medal weighs 38.55 grams and measures 44.6 millimeters diameter.

In Extremely Fine condition, it has an estimate of €20,000 ($24,851 U.S.).

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