The Wildmen and the Robert C. Knepper Collection

One of the more popular collecting aspects within world coins, and especially within German coins, is the “wildman” motif often associated with the Duchy of Brunswick-Luneburg and its various subdivisions. A 1916 article in The Numismatist by Moritz Wormser relates that the wildman “…is a descendant of the Greek Satyr and the Roman Faun.” Owing to the duchy’s location among the Harz Mountains, and the mountains’ rich deposits of silver (among other metals), the idea of the wildman was meant to evoke fear among those who steal from the mines. In this sense, the wildman had a role in folklore as a local protector, and even made his way into the coats-of-arms of the various towns within the area. Extending this iconography to numismatics, the wildman figures very prominently in the coins from the duchy, with the multiple talers presenting an even more impressive canvas on which to convey this folklore. Usually encountered heavily bearded and nearly nude (save for foliage-based loin coverings and sometimes a corresponding crown), he tends to be rather muscular, though varying engraving styles offer a range of depictions that add to the collecting intrigue for both seasoned collector and novice.

Our upcoming Global Showcase Auction later this month will present the first installment of the Robert C. Knepper Collection—an advanced collection of these vast wildmen types from all around the realm of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lunerburg, as well as some other areas. Featuring high grade examples assembled over numerous decades, some particular standouts include a nearly-Choice issue from the reign of Heinrich Julius, another from the reign of Friedrich Ulrich, a “houseboy” Taler issued under August “the Younger”, a colorful near-Gem Taler from Johann Friedrich, and a wonderous multiple Taler struck during the reign of Christian Ludwig. Look for these exciting specimens, along with the rest of the Knepper Collection in Session A of our Summer Global Showcase Auction, selling on August 22, 2022!

View all items from the Knepper Collection.

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

We are always seeking coins, medals, and paper money for our future auctions, and are currently accepting submissions for our January Official Auction of the 2023 NYINC and our Hong Kong auction next spring. Additionally, we are continuously accepting submissions for our Collectors Choice Online (CCO) auctions, the next of which will be held in November, and the next for which we are accepting consignments will be held in February 2023. 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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