A Prussian ducat from 1803 is considered one of the greatest rarities among 19th century German coins.
There are only two known examples, one of
which is in a Berlin museum, so it was no surprise that there was
considerable pre-sale buzz when coin specialist Künker in Osnabrück offered the other one in
his June 18-22 sale with an estimate of €75,000.
It came from the remarkable collection of
Carl Vogel (1923-2006), a Hamburg academic and one-time president
of the University of Fine Arts, that contained almost every German
coin issued between 1806 and 1871.
The ducat was coined under King Frederick
William III (1770-1840) and is adorned with the arms of the
Prussian royal family. The inscription on the reverse gives an
exact description of the origin of the gold used - "Reines Gold aus
der Fürstenzeche" (Pure gold from the princely mine).
It came from the appropriately named
Bavarian town of Goldkronach. Although gold and silver had been
mined there since the 14th century, many of the mines had fallen
There was a short-lived revival after the
town came under Prussian jurisdiction in 1792, but the quantities
found remained very small, and in the 1920s gold-mining was finally
The bidding started at €80,000 and advanced
rapidly and after a very short time a telephone bidder saw off the
international competition with his offer of €160,000
The buyer's premium was 15%