This was certainly apparent at the sale of historical memorabilia, not just of German origin, in the extensive sale at the Berliner Auktionshaus für Geschichte (18% buyer’s premium) from June 9-13.
Among the distinctive lots on offer was large metal plate painted with the state symbol of the GDR, measuring 2ft 8in (82cm) in diameter and weighing a substantial 73lb (33kg). The symbol was the version adopted in 1955 and in use until reunification with West Germany in 1990.
The colours black, red and gold were central to the national symbols of both states. The hammer was the representation of the factory workers, the backbone of the state, the compass designated the academics and intelligentsia, while the wreath of rye on the outside ring symbolised the farmers.
Earlier versions of the symbol omitted the compass, in accordance with the GDR’s definition of itself as a state of workers and farmers.
The auction catalogue could offer no information to the provenance, but an example of this size was probably used to designate an embassy or consulate.
The auction house had priced it at €300; after a short exchange of bids, it was knocked down for €1300 (£1160) to a private buyer from Potsdam.