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Konrad Daniel Soergel Collection Offers Intriguing Historical Look into Circulating Coinage

Often at Stack’s Bowers Galleries we do not get a lot of historical information or provenance on the coin collections that come in, allowing collectors to research or simply imagine whatever history they might like. Occasionally, however, we receive interesting information that provides insight into the history of coins and their former owners.

In our May 2024 Collectors Choice Online Auction of world coins, such a glimpse is afforded with the Konrad Daniel Soergel Collection. Konrad Soergel was a civil servant from Germany who lived between 1877 and 1940, a timeframe that spanned massive social change in Europe and in Germany itself. Formally educated until about 7th or 8th grade, Soergel began apprentice work in banking and accounting at the age of 13. By mid-career, Soergel was the director of the Municipal Savings Bank in Coburg, a position he held from 1919 until 1931. In this position, he oversaw enormous profitability for the savings bank, generating huge operational profits despite the economically glum conditions of Interwar Germany. His expansion of the bank into other areas of Germany made powerful political enemies on the Germany City Council, an association of mayors. As the 1920s progressed, the council became progressively more aligned with the Nazi Party, which was gaining traction in Germany. In April 1931 Soergel declined to give the Nazi Party a loan, a move that likely ended his career. The City of Coburg removed him from his job without pay, and he was formally fired in January 1933 when the Nazi Party gained formal control over all of Germany. While pursued in court after 1933 by his enemies, he was eventually acquitted of criminal charges and found not civilly liable. He died in 1940 at the age of 63 in Furth during World War II.

In his position as director of the bank in Coburg, Soergel had access to coins entering the bank through normal business operations and he often plucked from circulation coins of an interesting and unusual nature. Quite a few coins turn up in the collection that would have been most unusual to find in circulation in 20th century Germany. A 1614-WA Taler from Saxe-Weimar was evidently salvaged, despite being over 300 years old at the time.  A Nuremburg City View Taler from 1765 was also saved; it is almost unbelievable that such an example would circulate so long after its production. Another interesting find is a nearly Uncirculated 1733 Brunswick-Luneburg Ducat graded AU-58 by PCGS. Perhaps most intriguing is a 1914-D Quarter Eagle graded by PCGS as MS-61. How an American coin ended up in circulation in Germany a few decades later, offers many tantalizing counterfactual possibilities. These interesting pieces provide a charming backstory and deliver the chance to own coins with a unique story and past.

To view our upcoming auction schedule and future offerings, please visit StacksBowers.com where you may register and participate in this and other forthcoming sales.

We are always seeking coins, medals, and paper money for future auctions, and are currently accepting consignments for our August Global Showcase auction and fall Hong Kong auction. Additionally, we are accepting consignments for our October 2024 Collectors Choice Online (CCO) auctions. If you would like to learn more about consigning, whether a singular item or an entire collection, please contact one of our consignment directors today and we will assist you in achieving the best possible return on your material.

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