An Extraordinary coin collection, steeped in rarity and historical significance, is poised for a momentous auction
05
Jun 2024


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An Extraordinary coin collection, steeped in rarity and historical significance, is poised for a momentous auction, with potential bids reaching a staggering $72 million.


Resembling the tale of Sleeping Beauty, a Danish coin collection, bound by a century-long promise to stay off the market, is set to break its enchantment and go under the hammer later this year. Senior researcher Helle Horsnaes, a coin expert at the Danish National Museum, said, "The pure fact that this collection has been closed for a hundred years makes it a legend. It's like a fairytale."


This remarkable 20,000-piece collection was meticulously curated by Lars Emil Bruun, a Danish trader who, in 1883, established a thriving butter business. Bruun, having witnessed the horrors of WW1, intended the collection to serve as a national reserve for Denmark, should another war loom. His will stipulated that the collection remain safeguarded for a century, until 2023, before it could be sold.


The American auction house, Stack’s Bowers, will host the auction later in the year and has billed it as the "most valuable collection of world coins to ever come to market." Until now, the collection has remained stored in a secret location, insured for 500,000,000 Danish kroner (approximately $72,550,000).


Born in 1852, Bruun caught the collecting bug as a boy. He became extremely wealthy due to his wholesale butter business, which allowed him to pursue his hobby of numismatics. His pastime resulted in a large collection that included 20,000 coins, medals, tokens, and banknotes from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.


Following the devastation of World War I and fearing another war, Bruun left strict instructions in his will for the collection." For 100 years after my death, the collection shall serve as a reserve for the Royal Coin and Medal Collection. 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."


Denmark's National Museum had the right of first refusal on the part of the collection and purchased seven rare coins from Bruun's vast hoard before they went to auction. The seven coins—six gold, one silver—were all minted between the 15th and 17th centuries by Danish or Norwegian monarchs. The museum paid over $1.1 million for these coins, which are the only existing examples of this kind. The remaining coins will be auctioned in New York, and experts say some items will go for over $1,000,000 each.


As we say, Collectors Welcome.