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Karl Goetz Dies are being sold on Heritage


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I know there are many fans of his work here (myself included), one in particular I remember who posts here who seemed to have more medals of his than anyone else...so this might be interesting.

 

 

http://www.ha.com/c/search-results.zx?Ne=1154&N=793+794+791+792+2088+4294948480&No=0

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There are 1200 to be sold across three auctions. It would seem to me that it should depress the market for them since I would be surprised if there were that many collectors of the material. Restrikes could become a problem in the future.

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There are 1200 to be sold across three auctions. It would seem to me that it should depress the market for them since I would be surprised if there were that many collectors of the material. Restrikes could become a problem in the future.

 

Are the dies intact or cancelled?

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Where they privately struck originally? Did an heir decide to sell the dies now?

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The dies and hubs were mostly produced at the Munich Mint, although some medals were struck at the Berlin and Vienna mints as well. A few of the early medals were made at a private mint. My guess is that the dies and hubs in the sale came from the Munich mint, "liberated" at the end of the war. But, I don't really know.

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A quote from the latest issue of the Esylum:

 

Dale Krueger writes:

 

 

I'd like to get some reader response and discussion over the latest Heritage auction coming up April 18-23. Specifically, the mysterious appearance of 500 or so hubs and dies of hundreds of Goetz medals.

 

When I saw these items being offered in the upcoming auction, with no explanation or information attached, I was at once intrigued, puzzled, and horrified. All attempts to get additional information from dealers both here and abroad (by me and some cohorts) were met with either no response, no information to share, apparent total lack of understanding of the issue raised, and/or seemingly total apathy.

 

A careful reading of the second paragraph from the bottom of page 2 of THE MEDALS OF KARL GOETZ by Kienast, is very clear.

 

"Unfortunately, hundreds of metal molds and steels dies, which had been stored in the Hauptmunzamt in Munich, were rendered unserviceable by the bombings of World War II, thus rendering duplications of many medals impossible."

 

Perhaps this industry/hobby would be better served if more questions were asked, more information was shared with collectors, and certain issues were brought "into the light". One German connection quoted a major Auction official saying "20% of all coins and medals on the market are not original, but this is not so important, if nobody knows!" My connection added, "I cannot work this way, but what´s one to do ?"

 

I did see someone START to address the "Chinese Problem " in the last issue of The E-Sylum. I am not an expert....but some of you who are should be asking questions, and demanding answers....even if it doesn't yet affect your collecting niche.

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I'm certainly not an expert on these medals or medals in general but it seems to me that the private ownership of such a large number of workable dies will set that part of numismatics on its ear. Perhaps the ANA or some such org should purchase these and put them in their museum thereby securing the future of so many fine collectibles.

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That's interesting Bill especially the numbers of alleged fakes and mention of the Chinese problem. A member of our ancient coin club shared a story about the Chinese counterfeiters from 2008 and the technology is only getting better. I imagine the day of perfect replication keeps getting closer asking us what is it what we collect if a perfect molecule for molecule copy isn't it.

 

A quote from the latest issue of the Esylum:

 

Dale Krueger writes:

 

 

I'd like to get some reader response and discussion over the latest Heritage auction coming up April 18-23. Specifically, the mysterious appearance of 500 or so hubs and dies of hundreds of Goetz medals.

 

When I saw these items being offered in the upcoming auction, with no explanation or information attached, I was at once intrigued, puzzled, and horrified. All attempts to get additional information from dealers both here and abroad (by me and some cohorts) were met with either no response, no information to share, apparent total lack of understanding of the issue raised, and/or seemingly total apathy.

 

A careful reading of the second paragraph from the bottom of page 2 of THE MEDALS OF KARL GOETZ by Kienast, is very clear.

 

"Unfortunately, hundreds of metal molds and steels dies, which had been stored in the Hauptmunzamt in Munich, were rendered unserviceable by the bombings of World War II, thus rendering duplications of many medals impossible."

 

Perhaps this industry/hobby would be better served if more questions were asked, more information was shared with collectors, and certain issues were brought "into the light". One German connection quoted a major Auction official saying "20% of all coins and medals on the market are not original, but this is not so important, if nobody knows!" My connection added, "I cannot work this way, but what´s one to do ?"

 

I did see someone START to address the "Chinese Problem " in the last issue of The E-Sylum. I am not an expert....but some of you who are should be asking questions, and demanding answers....even if it doesn't yet affect your collecting niche.

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I contacted Heritage and have been assured that Heritage has legitimate title to sell these dies and that the provenance is kept secret because the seller wishes to remain anonymous.

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A quote from the latest issue of the Esylum:

 

Perhaps this industry/hobby would be better served if more questions were asked, more information was shared with collectors, and certain issues were brought "into the light". One German connection quoted a major Auction official saying "20% of all coins and medals on the market are not original, but this is not so important, if nobody knows!" My connection added, "I cannot work this way, but what´s one to do ?"

 

 

Not the best source to go on of course and 75% of all unverified statistics are made up BUT any collector knows that some scenario like this is probably the case and does his best to avoid this. That is why I will always comb the fake reports...reports that good people keep to help buyers, even dealers who find them in their lots. There are many people out there attempting to weed out fakes...in fact I have weeded a few out myself here on this forum then saw the same guy on Forum ancient Coins and weeded him out there as well. The more you collect, the more image pass your eyes...the more fakes you recognize and remember. This is simply the case with all collectables.

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I have no objection to collecting dies and hubs and have a few in my own collection. I believe they are legitimate collectibles. I have no doubt that the ownership or title to these pieces is legitimate. But, given that the items were in the Bavarian Mint, I assume the property or intellectual property of Karl Goetz and his heirs, and were reported to have been destroyed, it is a legitimate question to ask if they were legally "liberated" from the mint. Did the Goetz family lose ownership rights through their agreement or did time separate them from their rights? I don't know the answer to these questions and they may well have sold or surrendered their rights. At some point, the material becomes too old and the history lost. In this instance, the provenience of the pieces is of historical interest, even if we do not know the identity of the current owner. Where they go when sold is also problematic given there are so many of them. Will their existance cast doubt on future appearances of rare medals? Unidentified restrikes from original dies are problems in other collecting areas, either depressing the value of originals or bilking the unsuspecting purchaser who does not know better (think Unlisted metal variety, rare!). I think in this instance it is the magnitude (1200 dies and hubs) that raises concerns and suggests something more systematic than a simple case of someone picking up a die or two as war booty. It took some planning and effort to remove a ton or so of metal from the mint.

 

On the plus side, they are being sold in a documented fashion in a well known auction house. The world will know they exist and will be on guard if rare medals start appearing with unexpected frequency. Maybe someone will issue restrikes, appropriately marked and identified, and re-invigorate an art medal market for originals. Only time will tell.

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I had a nice conversation last night with the Goetzdude who is writing is own thoughts on the dies. It will be interesting to see what he has to say. But, that conversation covered a number of topics and sent me back to my Kienast to reread the work after a number of years.

 

Why make hubs to make dies for medals that will likely never require more than one die? You can go from the model to the die in one operation, no hub required. In fact the hub is an extra step and expense. Kienast covers that question. Goetz went from his model to a hub when he thought the medal might have a greater demand than he could fill with cast medals (a time consuming process in itself). His first step was making the hub so he could hand finish the detail as he wanted it. A die was then made and some elements were added directly to the die. So it seems he could work on the die, but prefered the positive image that the hub provided.

 

The fact that Goetz hand finished each hub and die makes originals really interesting pieces. And that fact led me to a really big problem. If you go to the sale catalog, look at lot 27035, a reverse hub for a 36mm medal. It is rusted and the outer rim is broken off in several locations. This is obviously an old hub that saw the ravages of time? Since Goetz finished the hubs personally and then hand finished the die made from the hub, this has to be the original hub after use given its condition. Right? Well, if that is the case, then how does on explain lot 27042, a 36mm splash die made from the broken hub. A second 36mm die made for use with a collar is offered as lot 27041. A splash die is used for striking medals without a collar, something usually done for larger medals that have to be struck mutiple times to bring up the detail and with too much force to use with a collar (the force needed for high relief, large medals would break a collar). Medals struck with splash dies are usually finished by turning them on a lathe. Regardless of whether Goetz relied on a splash die or a collar die, he would never have made a die from a broken hub. If he finished the hubs and dies by hand to ensure the quality desired, why would he fool with a broken hub?

 

There is more to the story of these hubs and dies than meets the eye. I am looking forward to Scott's comments when they are ready.

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Hi Bill, and to everyone else too!!

 

Sorry for the delay in a response but I've been hammered trying to get Medal Forum up over the past two weeks.

 

Since my forum is now up and there is a little activity regarding this auction I thought I'd just pass off the link to the appropriate page so that you can read the current discussion. You can access the thread here:

http://secessionistmedals.com/index.php?topic=2.0

 

'Secessionist Medals are better known as Munich Schooler and Dance of Death type medals. The site will discuss far more than that but it was created as an 'exonumia-centric' site as opposed to a 'numismatic' site. Feel free to join.

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There's an official Heritage explanation on the esylum today

 

"The dies and hubs were purchased recently from the Goetz family by an anonymous consignor who wished for Heritage Auctions to present them over the course of the next year. Most of the dies and hubs have been used. For those of your readers unfamiliar with the die production process, hubs are the “positive” image produced for use as a master to impress the “negative” image into a die to ensure uniformity as dies wear out and need to be replaced. We have noted in our descriptions those dies with large cracks or excessive corrosion but strongly encourage potential bidders to carefully examine our high-resolution photographs prior to bidding as these lots are being offered “as-is” due to their weight and the large numbers of them that we are trying to sell. We are selling the dies in order as they are presented in Kienast and so will be presenting the history of Germany in the form of dies either commemorating or criticizing current events from the turn of the 20th century through World War II.:

 

So it seems to me that it'll be quite probable we could see new veriosn of popular types being struck in the future. Even if the HPA applies to medals in the US it doesn't seem clear that items struck with original dies are imitations. They are restrikes by the legitimate owner so I don't know that there'd be any legal prohibition from creating new medals.

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It's doubtful anyone would use these to strike new medals as the rust corrosion on them is from minor to extensive. Even reworked they would provide diagnostics for easy identification. Additionally, I and another strong collector have had a pulse on 'restrikes' already in the market, and not surprisingly their strong appearance in the last two years from Germany. If anyone, including the Chinese, wanted to make any of these medals they could easily take a nice original cast example and reduce it down to working 36mm hubs and dies. I'm not too concerned about this as much as some. My concern lies in the gaping provenance holes that have existed since Karl's 1950 death.

 

 

PS; Heritage is wrong about these 'recently ' bought from the family. My Goetz family contact (which is one more than Heritage or the consignor have) wasn't even aware that these had come up for auction. That leaves me wondering where they really did come from.

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I see that 47 hubs are still for sale post auction and that 180 sold from $200 to $1000 averaging right around $300. As a collector I could see getting one pair but with this kind of volume who are the buyers? Are there that many collectors of this stuff? I do find it interesting to see hubs, I wonder if the French art deco engravers worked the same way. It would make sense for certain of the common types where just a little detail changes from medal to medal.

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I bought one die off this auction for $325. I normally collect British coins so this was way, way off the beaten track for me. I bought it because I thought it might prove to be a landmark auction giving collectors an opportunity to obtain important and rare items. Having now had the chance to read round the whole provenance debate I'm starting to feel uneasy. $325 is not a vast sum but it's not pin money either. I'm now in the position of not being really sure of what it is that I've bought. Once I've received it from Heritage I'll have a closer look at it and maybe take it to a few dealers to look at. What I do with it after that remains to be seen.

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Well we know you won't be sending it back to Heritage, "Sold AS IS, NO RETURNS" Should have been a huge red flag. Unless the dealer is well versed in Goetz they won't be able to tell you much except that it's either a die or hub...the question more import is WHO made the die/hub...I see lots of question marks among the lots. Good Luck..

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I didn't hear a lot about this at Central States. The speculation is that the family (Karl or his heirs) have decided to get rid of the material since it has probably sat around in storage for sixty years. Apparently these were never part of the German State of a public mint but always privately owned by Goetz.

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