In a much-anticipated event a century in the making, the extraordinary coin, medal, banknote, and book collection of Danish industrialist Lars Emil Bruun (1852-1923) is finally set to be sold in a series of auctions spanning several years. Commencing in fall 2024, Stack’s Bowers Galleries will present at public auction this prized collection of Scandinavian coinage. Since 2011, nearly 20,000 meticulously arranged items, housed within four grand custom-made cabinets (as they were at Mr. Bruun’s demise in 1923), have remained securely stored in a secret location, insured for 500,000,000 Danish kroner (approximately USD $72,550,000). The world awaits as the L. E. Bruun Collection, poised for its transformation from a Danish national treasure into an international marvel, emerges from its century-long slumber and takes its place as the most valuable collection of world coins and medals ever to cross the auction block.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries Presents

The L. E. Bruun Collection

The collection, painstakingly assembled by this prosperous Danish butter merchant beginning as a boy in the 1850s and over the decades that followed, has remained essentially intact, unlike those of his contemporaries, which have long since been dispersed. Thanks in part to a unique and highly peculiar testament of his will, the L. E. Bruun Collection has been safeguarded for a century as a reserve for the Royal Danish Coin and Medal Collection. It first found refuge within the walls of Frederiksborg Castle, formerly a royal residence, before finding its way to the Danmarks Nationalbank (Danish Central Bank) in Copenhagen.

Since 2011, nearly 20,000 meticulously arranged items, housed within four grand custom-made cabinets (as they were at Mr. Bruun’s demise in 1923), have remained securely stored in a secret location, insured for 500,000,000 Danish kroner (approximately USD 72,550,000). The world awaits as the L. E. Bruun Collection, poised for its transformation from a Danish national treasure into an international marvel, emerges from its century-long slumber and takes its place as the most valuable collection of world coins and medals ever to cross the auction block.

Deeply moved by the devastation he witnessed during World War I and fearing a new war or bombing of Copenhagen, L. E. Bruun left exacting instructions in his will for his collection: “For a period of 100 years after my death, the collection shall serve as a reserve for the Royal Coin and Medal Collection in Copenhagen in the sense that if it should be substantially destroyed by fire or lost by theft or other such event, my collection shall be offered to the State as a gift.” However, should the next century pass with the national collection intact, “it shall be sold at public auction and the proceeds shall accrue to the persons who are my direct descendants.”

On November 21, 2023, that moment arrived as the final provision of the will came into force. This released for auction nearly 20,000 coins, medals, and paper currency pieces from Denmark and related territories, Norway, Sweden, as well as medieval coins from the era when Danish kings ruled in England.

Henrik Holt Christensen, Senior Director of Consignments at Stack’s Bowers Galleries, remarked: “As a native of Denmark, I am overjoyed that Stack’s Bowers Galleries has been entrusted with this prestigious task — a dream of mine since my early days as a coin enthusiast. Upon viewing the collection firsthand, I was struck by its sheer diversity and quality, offering a comprehensive narrative of Scandinavian monetary evolution. From entry-level pieces to exceedingly rare treasures that are the finest quality in existence, Bruun’s collection encapsulates Scandinavia’s millennium-long numismatic journey.”

The assembly of the world’s greatest collection of Scandinavian coinage demanded perseverance, dedication, time, and, above all, substantial financial resources. Lars Emil Bruun, a trailblazer in the preservation, canning, and exportation of premium Danish butter, established a global enterprise that propelled him to immense wealth. His affluence enabled him to ardently pursue his hobby, participating in the numismatic community, engaging in auctions, and amassing an exquisite specialized library. Bruun’s considerable riches, derived from his butter empire and astute real estate ventures, facilitated not only the acquisition of individual coins but also entire collections.

“We at Stack’s Bowers Galleries are honored to be entrusted with Bruun’s numismatic legacy after a century-long wait,” said Brian Kendrella, President of Stack’s Bowers Galleries. “Auction houses from around the globe pursued the opportunity to present these coins. The legendary expertise of our team, our international reach, and our record of success with famous specialized cabinets of diverse numismatic items will enable us to showcase this collection in a way that will secure Bruun’s name among the most important coin collectors of all time.”

Further details regarding the auction schedule and global exhibitions featuring the L. E. Bruun Collection will be posted at www.StacksBowers.com.

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