The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 27, Number 11, March 17, 2024, Article 2


Online Auction 16 from Münzen Gut-Lynt offers the first part of the numismatic library of dealer Bernt Ahlström. Here's the press release, which opens with a remembrance by Arne Kirsch. -Editor

The Bernt Ahlström Numismatic Library, pt. 1

Gut-Lynt E-Sylum ad 2024-03-17 Auction 16 The Online Auction House Münzen Gut-Lynt is pleased to offer on the opening day of the Gut-Lynt auction weekend from April 6 to 7, 2024 (encompassing Gut-Lynt 15, Coins and Medals, and Gut-Lynt 16, Numismatic Literature) the first part of the numismatic library of an equally illustrious and interesting numismatic "global player" as well as comprehensive connoisseur.

About Bernt Ahlström, 1936–2019 (Author: Arne Kirsch, numismatist of the SINCONA Group, Honorary President of the IAPN)

You will hardly find a dealer in the numismatic world who is completely unfamiliar with the name Bernt Ahlström. When I picked up my first coins as well as books on coins and medals in Schleswig-Holstein in 1978, he was already a regular guest in the far north of Germany, bringing both consignments and stories with him.

At one of our last meetings in Zurich in 2019, Bernt Ahlström reviewed his 60-year career in a few highlights – unfortunately, far too little of it has been preserved; he wrote nothing down. What remains is the memory of an outstanding numismatist, a dealer who could be found in several markets and at all the important auctions, coin fairs and exhibitions. He was one of the first internationally operating coin dealers: an extraordinary personality; a numismatic "global player" as dealer and auctioneer; a businessman with a feel for gaps in the market and the courage to take risks – and at his best "a giant in the world of coins", as one obituary put it.

Bernt-Ahlstroem_1979_1980-SW Bernt Rickard John Ahlström was born in Stockholm on March 2, 1936. In 1954 – at the age of just 18 – he opened the "B. Ahlström Mynthandel" in his native Stockholm, capital of Sweden, at his father's suggestion (who, by the way, was a passionate and well-known philatelist). And just a short time later we already find him at the legendary auction of the Farouk collection – held by Sotheby's in Cairo in February and March 1954 – as one of the buyers of the Swedish part of this enormous coin collection. In 1964 he left Stockholm (where his brother Bjarne continued to run the business there with great success up until 2004) to establish the "Galerie des Monnaies" group of companies in Lausanne/Switzerland (1964), later Geneva/Switzerland (1965) and Düsseldorf/Germany (1969, with Anders Ringberg).

In 1976, he took the huge step "across the pond" with the opening of the "Galerie des Monnaies of Geneva Ltd." in New York/USA. A former branch of Chase Manhattan Bank provided the appropriate setting. He managed to achieve world record prices at auctions and sales in collaboration with renowned auction houses such as Hans Schulman Auctions, Sotheby's, Credit Suisse and Spink & Son. New York surely was a decisive milestone for him and his career, and these years marked the peak of his numismatic success. But for the entrepreneur Ahlström, there was no standing still when it came to ever expanding his "empire." Together with his second brother John Ahlström, he founded a wine store, the "Galerie des Vins", in Paris in the mid-1970s. A little later, he decided to buy a private bank in Paris, the "Crédit de la Bourse" (1976). Finally, in 1980, the prestigious Place Vendôme became the location of another branch of the "Galerie des Monnaies" sharing the premises with the renowned Italian jewelry house "Buccellati." A company brochure from around this time proudly states: "Rare coins and classical antiques will now share this superb location with examples of the world's finest handcrafted jewellery". Ahlström's group of companies now advertised the impressive locations of Geneva, Düsseldorf, New York and Paris. The ambitions of the group of companies and the breadth of the business areas were generously conceived; probably too generously – in Paris he ultimately failed.

In the course of the 1980s, Ahlström gradually closed his European businesses, returned to the USA and founded the auction house "El Dorado" with Alcedo Almanzar in San Antonio/Texas.

Also in the 1980s, he discovered a new field of business, which he conquered with his own blend of passion, persuasiveness, tenacity, networking and entrepreneurial instinct, and in which he eventually became recognized as one of the world's leading dealers and connoisseurs. We talk about memorabilia and collectibles related to the modern Olympic Games. True to his universal genius, he not only focused on medals and badges, but also became a collector of all artifacts relating to the Olympic Games. When visiting his home, it was quite possible to suddenly find yourself standing in front of an original two-man bobsleigh sled, a torch or official uniforms of game organizers, not to mention numerous pennants, flags and souvenirs. Me personally, I got the impression that only the museum in Lausanne had a larger selection of Olympic memorabilia. Bernt Ahlström passed away in December 2019 after suffering from cancer. Until his last week, he was still traveling and taking part in auctions.

Arne Kirsch, March 2024


  GL16-L1030-Dattari GL16-L1669-Domanig
Lots 1030 and 1669

Lot 1030: DATTARI, G. Monete imperiali greche. Numi Augg. Alexandini. Catalogo Collezione G. Dattari compilato dal proprietario. Cairo 1901. XII, 471 pp., 37 plates. 2 volumes, bound in one, half leather. Starting price: 300 EUR

Lot 1669: DOMANIG, K. Porträtmedaillen des Erzhauses Österreich von Kaiser Friedrich III. bis Kaiser Franz II. aus der Medaillensammlung des allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses. Vienna 1896. VII, 40 pp., 50 plates. Half-linen. Starting price: 100 EUR

  GL16-L1918-van-den-Bergh GL16-L1591-Medailles
Lots 1918 and 1591

Lot 1918: VAN DEN BERGH, L. Catalogue descriptif des Monnaies, Méreaux, Jetons & Médailles frappés a Malines ou ayant trait a son histoire. 2 vol., Malines 1899. 86 pp., 50 plates.; frontispiece, 143 pp., 26, 91 plates. Bound in one volume, , half leather. Starting price: 150 EUR

Lot 1591: ACADÉMIE ROYALE DES MÉDAILLES ET DES INSCRIPTIONS (Editor). Medailles sur les principaux evenements du regne de Louis le Grand, avec des explications historiques. Paris 1702. 292 pp. Leather binding. Starting price: 150 EUR

Lot 1926

Lot 1926: VAN LOON, G. Histoire Métallique des XVII Provinces des Pays-Bas, depuis l'abdication de Charles-quint, jusqu'a la paix de Bade en 1716. Vol 2. Den Haag 1732. 541 pp. with illustrations. Half leather. Starting price: 250 EUR

As usual, you can find the online catalog for Gut-Lynt Auction 16 on our auction platform – please register in time.


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Wayne Homren, Editor

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