Leon Sarayan forwarded this article which has some more information on that old coin collection discovered in a library in Bavaria.
Dating back from the years between the Roman Empire and Napoleon's rule, initial Internet research has revealed that the coins are worth a "low six-figure sum," Wennerhold said. Experts must now determine their exact value. The most valuable pieces will likely turn out to be decorative medals from the Baroque era, Wennerhold estimated.
The coins were probably forgotten because their value was underestimated by past library workers, Wennerhold told DAPD. "None of the current workers here knew that these coins existed," he said.
Library janitor Höls said she frequently goes to the fourth-floor archive -- where old furniture and even a stuffed crocodile are also stored -- in order to retrieve books for library patrons. The wooden box containing the coins was even periodically dusted by library employees without an inkling as to what was inside, Wennerhold said.
This week the Passau state library plans to release photos of each coin on its homepage. Next year they will be put on display as part of the library's anniversary celebration. Founded in 1612 as part of a Jesuit college, the library claims to be home to one of the oldest book collections in Germany.
When I read this article last week I was curious about how they'd come up with their estimate of the value of this collection. It seemed high to me, but without images or an inventory it's difficult to dispute. The above article included a few images and states that the library will eventually put more photos on line. Ursula Kampmann, writing in Coins Weekly takes everyone in the media to task for not digging further before publishing the quoted figure.
The international media loved that news! While cleaning a store room, a curious concierge opened a little wooden box and found a “treasure” composed of 172 coins and medals; its value was estimated generously at a six-digit figure in Euro.
Now, the state library Passau publishes these coins in an exemplary manner on the Internet. And everybody is able to see for himself, what's the real value of these coins. Concerning the financial aspect the impression might be somehow disappointing. The original estimate is much too high. A five-digit figure is much more reasonable. (If the silver medals are tin, which could be indicated by the little dot of copper in the exergue, it will be even less.) But does that really matter? It is much more important, what kind of a collection has survived!
Before the secularization, the prince-bishopric Passau was one of the most powerful bishoprics in Germany. I am sure, that these coins can't be the showpieces from the collection of a prince-bishop, which were thought to be worth taking the risk of saving them from being confiscated!
The state library Passau suggests it might have been the collection of a Jesuit, which served as teaching material. But is there any system in that collection?
We should not overlook the fact that the 18th century was the century of collectors. A happy coincidence has delivered us the collection of an average collector of the 18th century. Once there must have been tens of thousand collections like this. The true value of this collection is that it was not – like all the other small collections – dispersed and sold, but survived as collection!
If you want to see the coins of the collection, click here:
To read the complete article, see:
The Passau Treasure
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOSEY LIBRARY JANITOR DISCOVERS ANCIENT COIN COLLECTION
Wayne Homren, Editor
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