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The E-Sylum:  Volume 7, Number 42, October 17, 2004, Article 7

LEO MILDENBERG OF BANK LEU

  On Monday, October 11, Scotsman.com published an article
  about Leo Mildenberg, who founded the numismatic auction
  arm of Switzerland's Bank Leu.

  "The late Leo Mildenberg was a world-renowned numismatist,
  collector and philanthropist, who had a most unusual passion.
  Over a period of more than 40 years he built up a remarkable
  collection devoted exclusively to models of ancient Egyptian,
  near Eastern, Greek and Roman animals.  This gentle man died
  in 2001, and on 26 and 27 October his entire collection of close
  on 1,000 animals will be offered for sale by Christie's, the fine
  art auctioneer, in London. It is expected to realise up to 2.5
  million."

  "Mr Mildenberg was born in Kassel in Germany in 1913. He
  studied ancient history and Semitic languages at the University
  of Frankfurt, until being forced out by the Nazis in 1933. His
  first stop was Leipzig, and from there he went to Estonia,
  where he received his doctorate. In the winter of 1941, he was
  sent with many others to a Russian prison camp in Kazakhstan,
  although he had done nothing wrong. It was there that he met
  his future wife, Elsie Brunner, from Zurich, in Switzerland. In
  1947, the couple, with the help of the Red Cross, fled the
  camp for Switzerland. His experiences of Nazi Germany were
  to be reflected in his animal collection, in that every animal
  which joined his collection had to be "free, peaceful and
  spirited".  This was the guiding principle of his collection.

  Mr Mildenberg began collecting animals during the 1950s,
  when he joined the venerable Bank Leu, in Zurich. As great a
  numismatist as he was a collector, he had, within a few years,
  set up a specialist numismatic department within the bank,
  which later became the world's leading auction house for
  ancient coins.

  By the 1970s, his animal collection had grown into a
  veritable zoo, and, in 1981, he held his first public exhibition
  of his ever growing collection at the Cleveland Museum of
  Art in the United States. From there, the collection traveled
  extensively throughout the United States, Israel and Europe
  - being shown in 14 cities across three continents."

  To read the full story, see: Full Story

  [Do any of our readers have recollections about Mr.
  Mildenberg?  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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