In his Numismatics and Archaeology blog on Friday, Nathan Elkins published a note from a colleague stating that the coin collection of the Kings of Hannover owned by the Deutsche Bank may soon be sold. Coming on the heels of the earlier news of the possible sale of the Hispanic Society of America collection (formerly on "permanent loan" to the American Numismatic Society), this is another potential blow to numismatic research and scholarship. -Editor
Nathan's unnamed French colleague wrote:
In 1983 the coin collection of the Kings of Hannover was bought by the Deutsche Bank, who now plans to sell it to a coin dealer. The "Niedersächsisches Münzkabinett der Deutschen Bank" is one the most important feudal collections in Germany and one of the 25 most important collections in Europe. It was managed in close cooperation with the "Landesmuseum Hannover"and became one of the important numismatic institutions in Europe. It is well known for its exhibitions and publications. The head of the coin cabinet, Dr. Reiner Cunz, is chairman of the German Numismatic Commission, vice president of the International Committee of Money and Banking Museums ICOMON, board member of the German Numismatic Society, member of the Brunswik Academy of Sciences and other academic societies.
This is truly disturbing news. Several museum collections are currently being sold off on account of the recession and have been in the news recently, stirring much controversy. These decisions are often made by administrators and businessmen who are only concerned about the bottom line and willing to cut things like art collections, academic programs, and research positions.
The sale of this important numismatic collection would be a great loss to numismatic scholarship. It should not be simply be divided up among bidders. I encourage all readers to send letters to those responsible for the decision to sell the collection and to the named German politicians. Dr. Lucia Travaini (Milan/Rome) has a page on her website, http://www.luciatravaini.it/ about the affair (click on 'Appello urgente per la collezione numismatica di Hannover,' which then takes you to a page in English with further links). You can also read her letter online.
To read the complete article, see: Disaster in Germany: The Royal Collection of Hannover for Sale!!! (http://coinarchaeology.blogspot.com/2009/01/disaster-in-germany-royal-collection-of.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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