Brochure on the fate of the Hamburger and Schlessinger families

The Origins of the German Coin Trade: Pamphlet on the Fate of the Hamburger and Schlessinger Families

On the occasion of the sale of the Salton collection, the auction house Künker and Stack’s Bowers Galleries has entrusted historian Ursula Kampmann with the task of investigating the history of the Hamburger-Schlessinger coinage dynasty. . His findings revolutionize what we know about the German coin trade.

On March 22, 2022, the second part of the Lottie and Mark Salton collection will be auctioned by the Künker auction house in Osnabrück. It contains spectacular coins that are all the more spectacular because there is one fact: before emigrating to the United States of America in 1946, Mark Salton bore the name of Max Schlessinger. He was the son of Felix Schlessinger, who ran one of the most famous German coin shops in Berlin in the late 1920s.

Historical sources

Three documents previously unknown to most specialists were discovered during the investigation of the history of the Hamburger and Schlessinger families. These documents shed new light on the fate of this dynasty of money-dealers. In addition, a fourth document was found that had not been carefully evaluated before:

Four members of the family left their memories to posterity:

  • Adolph Hamburger (1841-1919), brother of company founder Leo Hamburger the Elder (1836-1902)

  • Röschen Schlessinger (1844-1932), sister of Leo Hamburger the Younger, partner of the coin dealer L. & L. Hamburger (1846-1929) and mother of Felix Schlessinger (1879-1944)

  • Sophie Diamant (1880-1972), sister of Félix Schlessinger

  • Mark Salton resp. Max Schlessinger (1914-2005)

Through these memoirs, the history of the Hamburger-Schlessinger dynasty can be traced back to a court officer named Loeb Hamburger (1761-1835) who lived in the Hanau ghetto. Through the eyes of family members, we experience the emancipation of the Jews under Napoleon, the upheavals of the 1848 revolution, the industrialization and economic boom of the mid-19th century, the First World War, hyperinflation from 1923, the Nazi war rising to power, the persecution and expulsion of the Jews until we came to the new beginning in the United States.

The results

Through the analysis of these sources, she was able to obtain new information about the German coinage trade before the First World War:

  • For example, the Munich Oberndörffer bank played a very important role in the process of establishing the Frankfurt coin trade.

  • The trade in Jewish coins in Germany was closely linked due to family ties. Adolph E. Hess probably also contributed to the success of his Frankfurt mint by means of a marital connection to a member of the Hamburger family.

  • Felix Schlessinger was brought into the L. & L. Hamburger coin shop as an heir by his uncle Leo Hamburger the Younger because the business owner’s only son had committed suicide.

  • The infamous Frankfurt Consortium had not been founded for profit, its aim was to prevent the financial ruin of the coin dealers involved in it.

  • Felix Schlessinger founded a new coin shop in Berlin because the L. & L. Hamburger company was virtually bankrupt after the period of hyperinflation.

  • The actor Heinz Rühmann collected the highest quality Greek coins and was represented at auction by the Munich art dealer Otto Bernheimer.

In addition to this fundamental information, memoirs provide us with realistic scenes of coin trading that illuminate our picture of past auctions.

The famous historian and numismatist Dr. Ursula Kampmann, who has studied the history of the coin trade for many years, has written an extensive text on the history of the Hamburger-Schlessinger coin dealer dynasty. It is part of a brochure published by Künker in German and English. The brochure was sent with Künker’s spring auction catalogs. It can also be read online (https://www.kuenker.de/data/kataloge/Kuenker_Broschuere_Salton-Collection_en.pdf) or ordered from Künker at the nominal price of 10 euros.

By means of this QR code, you can download the brochure dedicated to the fate of the Hamburger, Schlessinger and Aronstein families.

Salton Collection Sale Dates

Part 1

Ancient Greek coins / Poland / Russia

January 16, 2022, New York, as part of the New York International Numismatic Convention

Stack Bowers Galleries

Part 2

European gold coins

March 22, 2022, Osnabrück

Künker

Part 3

England

August 2022, Chicago, as part of the ANA World’s Fair of Money

Stack Bowers Galleries

Part 4

Ancient Roman coins / Byzantium

September 2022, Osnabrück

Künker

Part 5

Ancient Greek coins / England

January 2023, New York, as part of the New York International Numismatic Convention

Stack Bowers Galleries

Part 6

European silver coins

January 2023, Berlin, as part of the World Money Fair

Künker

James R. Rhodes