The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 36, September 3, 2023, Article 20


Jeremy Bostwick at Numismagram sent along these five medals from the hand of the ever-popular Karl Goetz. His new group for September is composed entirely of these artistic and highly satirical issues. For all of these new medals, please visit -Editor

  Goetz RMS Lusitania medal

102532 | GERMANY, GREAT BRITAIN & UNITED STATES. RMS Lusitania iron Medal. Dated 1915. The Sinking of the RMS Lusitania (56mm, 37.23 g, 12h). By K. Goetz in München. GESCHAFT UBER ALLES (business above all), skeleton (as Death) standing left within ticket booth marked CUNA[RD]/LINIE and CUNARD (the Cunard Line, owners of the ship) above and to right, and FAHRKARTEN/AUSGABE (ticket office) below; to left, queue of passengers, one of whom reads a newspaper with the headline U/BOO[T]/GEFAH[R] (U-Boat danger) // KEINE BANN WARE! (no contraband!), the Lusitania sinking in heavy seas; in five lines in exergue, DER GROSSDAMPFER / =LUSITANIA= / DURCH EIN DEUTSCHES / TAUCHBOOT VERSENKT / 7 MAI 1915 (the liner Lusitania sunk by a German submarine). Edge: Some filing marks as made. Burns 3b2; Kienast 156; Eimer 1941Ad; cf. Jones, "Dance of Death," 28 (for the original with the erroneous date); "The Art of Devastation," p. 254, 53 (for the original in bronze with the erroneous date). Choice Mint State. Light pewter gray surfaces, with some deeper toning in the recesses. A very rare original—as opposed to the numerous later copies of it—with the corrected date for the sinking. A similar corrected date version in bronze realized $1,920 in a recent Heritage sale (auction 61319, lot 23216), with its new owner currently accepting no less than $2,880 for it). $1,395.

Not long after the German warning against sea travel into her 'war zone' declared upon Great Britain, a popular liner–the RMS Lusitania–was torpedoed 11 miles off the coast of Ireland, where over 60% of her passengers, some of whom were Americans, were killed. Serving as a rallying cry against the German Empire, this action solidified American involvement in World War I.

German medalist Karl Goetz jumped at the opportunity to satirize these events, designing a medal which would become infamous. The idea of Death handing out the tickets to the eventual passengers–and victims–of Goetz's Germany did not sit well with Great Britain nor her soon-to-be official ally in the war efforts, the United States. Both made copies of this gruesome memento in order to remember the ignominious act and also raise funds for the victims' families. This, however, is one of the rare originals by Goetz, made with the corrected date of the sinking.

To read the complete item description, see:
102532 | GERMANY, GREAT BRITAIN & UNITED STATES. RMS Lusitania iron Medal. (

  Goetz Pact of Malice medal

102355 | GERMANY & the ENTENTE. Pact of Malice cast bronze Medal. Dated 1915. "Der Bund der Tücke"—on Germany's fight against the "union of deceit" (82mm, 141.16 g, 12h). By K. Goetz in München. DER BVND DER TVECKE (the bond of malice), winged fantastic beast standing right, with numerous allegorical, elongated, serpentine/hydra-like heads: cock (for France), lion (for Belgium and England), bear (for Russia), Snake (for Serbia), and dragon (for Japan); below, figure, nude but for Bersagliere hat, seated with back to viewer, suckling from the beast's teats (an allegory for Italy, as Romulus/Remus suckling the she wolf); MCMXV below // Facing bust of God, holding scythe and resting hand upon and globe; flames of Hell below; across central field in three lines, SCHLAGT IHN TOT! / DAS WELTGERIGHT / FRAGT EVCH NACH DEN / GRVENDEN NICHT! ("Strike him dead! Doomsday asks you not on what grounds" –Heinrich von Kleist). Edge: A few light marks, otherwise plain. Kienast 160; Klose 8.8; Art of Devastation –; Choice Mint State. Dark brown surfaces, with some hints of rub and lighter colors upon the higher points. Compare to a similar piece, graded NGC MS-65 Brown, that realized a total of $1,920 in Heritage auction 61296, lot 22069. $1,395.

Similar to many of Goetz's World War I-era medals, this particular piece—issued in a much larger format than is generally encountered—portrays Germany against seemingly the rest of the world. Here, Goetz sees Germany's then-enemies as this fantastic beast amalgamated from the various allegories associated with them. Meanwhile, on the reverse, the stark aspect of the war, and seemingly the divine right for the Germans, is displayed by the representation of God, holding a scythe and the globe—an indication of His power to smite the enemy and His terrestrial rule. The quote from Heinrich von Kleist merely reinforces that aspect that much more, in the sentiment to "...strike him dead! Doomsday asks you not on what grounds." A haunting and extremely powerful work from the ever-ambitious Goetz.

To read the complete item description, see:
102355 | GERMANY & the ENTENTE. Pact of Malice cast bronze Medal. (

  Goetz Nikola's Daughters of Fate medal

102329 | GERMANY & MONTENEGRO. Nikola's Daughters of Fate cast bronze Medal. Dated 1916 (82mm, 143.85 g, 12h). By K. Goetz in München. NIKITAS SCHICK SALS TOECHTER, the daughters of Nikola I of Montenegro as The Fates, with each daughter's name inscribed below them on the pediment upon which they stand: Militza (wife of Grand Duke Peter Nikolaivich of Russia), holding torch, Stana (Anastasia, wife of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaivich of Russia), holding key surmounted by skull, and Elena (wife of Victor Emmanuel III of Italy), holding serpent // DER SCHWARZEN BERGE (the Black Mountains [= Montenegro]), three hissing serpents entwined about bloody sword pointed left; NIEDER – LAGE (defeat) across field above blade. Edge: K•GoeTz. Kienast 189. Choice Mint State. Lighter brown surfaces, with great textured relief and highlights. A scarcer larger-format issue from the period of World War I. Ex PS Collection of Medals of the Great War; ex Westfälische Auktionsgesellschaft 76 (7 September 2016), lot 868. $595.

Here, Goetz alludes to the downfall of Montenegro as being the result of the king's daughters marrying into enemy families—namely, into Italy (who had an alliance with Austria-Hungary and Germany, but instead later chose neutrality) and into Russia (who was on the side of the Entente Powers). They are presented in the form of the Three Moirai, or Fates, on the obverse, turning instead into hissing serpents atop a blood-soaked sword on the reverse.

To read the complete item description, see:
102329 | GERMANY & MONTENEGRO. Nikola's Daughters of Fate cast bronze Medal. (

  Goetz Bread Treaty with Ukraine

102547 | GERMANY & UKRAINE. "Bread" Treaty with Ukraine cast bronze Medal. Dated 1918. "Friede mit der Ukraine"—on the signing of the peace treaty between the Central Powers and Ukraine (58mm, 65.25 g, 12h). By K. Goetz in München. FRIEDE MIT DER UKRAINE, tree bearing fruits; to right, sword stuck in ground, with a garland wrapped around it and that connects it to the tree; personification of the sun in background to left; BROT (bread) across field // 9 FEBRVAR 1918, German eagle standing facing, head lowered right; to right, dove standing left, with olive branch in beak and wings spread; both stand upon a bushel of wheat; grain ear curling to right. Edge: Plain. Kienast 205. Choice Mint State. Rich red-brown surfaces. $495.

The toppling of the czarist government in Russia at the hands of the Bolsheviks provided an opportunity for those in Ukraine seeking independence. While Russia's Entente allies, France and the United Kingdom, did not want to recognize any such Ukrainian independence, the Central Powers welcomed such an invitation, as it provided a buffer between them and Russia. With a pact signed, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the combined forces of Austria-Hungary and Germany intervened and drove out the Russian Red Army. Following World War I however, this Ukrainian victory was short-lived, as signatories of the treaty on the side of the Central Powers began to fade: Austria-Hungary dissolved following the war, Turkey opted for a pact with the pro-Soviet Ukrainian SSR, and Germany signed on to a deal with Soviet Russia. As such, most of what is modern-day Ukraine, including the Crimean region, would fall back under Soviet command until the dissolution of the Soviet Union's vast empire in 1991. Since that point, Ukraine's very existence his been at the crosshairs of Soviet diehards, including its current de facto "chairman."

In this medal, Goetz recognizes Ukraine's role as the "breadbasket" of Europe, even naming this the "bread" (brod) treaty on the obverse. At the time, he understood the benefit of an alliance between Germany and Ukraine on account of the grain resources which the latter could provide. In real time, we are all observing what a disruption to Europe's breadbasket can bring, among other aspects.

To read the complete item description, see:
102547 | GERMANY & UKRAINE. "Bread" Treaty with Ukraine cast bronze Medal. (

  Goetz Conditions of Armistice medal

102498 | GERMANY & the ENTENTE. Conditions of Armistice cast bronze Medal. Dated 1918. "Waffenstillstandsbedingungen"—on the signing of the armistice effective 11am on 11 November 1918 (58mm, 60.49 g, 12h). By K. Goetz in München. WAFFENSTILL-STANDSBEDINGUNG / 11 NOVEMBER 1918, Uncle Sam (United States) binds together the feet of the Deutscher Michel (Germany) while John Bull (Great Britain) holds him back, and Marshal Foch (of France) strangles him with his rifle; in two lines in exergue, FOCH HAT DAS / WORT (Foch has the word) // EIN 70 MILLIONEN VOLK / LEIDET / ABER STIRB NICHT (a nation of 70 millions suffers, but does not die), numerous hands raised in clenched fists. Edge: Plain. Kienast 215. Choice Mint State. Tan-brown surfaces, with a delightful matte nature. Ex Dr. van Osch "Pax in Nummis" Collection. $465.

Here, Goetz alludes to the conditions of surrender which he viewed as rather harsh for his fellow compatriots. The United States and the United Kingdom (through allegories of Uncle Sam and John Bull) are depicted as typing up and restraining Michel (an allegory indicative of the German populace), all while Ferdinand Foch, the marshal of France, attempts to strangle him with his rifle. The sentiment of rising up, as presented on the reverse, would get further stoked throughout the ensuing decade and the occupation of the Rhineland—aspects that played into the hands of those seeking to start another global conflict just two decades later.

To read the complete item description, see:
102498 | GERMANY & the ENTENTE. Conditions of Armistice cast bronze Medal. (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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