Acquisition Logs of the Münzkabinett

To this day, the acquisition logs of the Münzkabinett of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin provide the most comprehensive source of documentation on the collection and reflect the eventful history behind its establishment and evolution. They record the accession to the collection of each of the objects mentioned here. In the Münzkabinett’s handwritten volumes, the category of object or shorthand designation is usually combined with a mention of how the accession occurred (acquisition, donation, etc.), the source (dealer, previous private owner), the purchase price or estimated value, and sometimes also the accession date. Later losses of objects that had previously been listed in the logs are only partially documented, either by labelling the original accession entry, or (more often) in a list collated at the end of the volume.

The following information is so far only available in German. A translation into English is in progress.

Acquisitions Journal 1836-1850 (PDF, 93 MB)
Nachweiszeitraum der Zugänge 1886-1850 (Lfd.-Nr. + Sammelerfassung v. Konv. 1836/1-7 – 1850/525-1)

Acquisitions Journal 1851-1860 (PDF, 97 MB)
Nachweiszeitraum der Zugänge 1851-1860 (Lfd.-Nr. + Sammelerfassung v. Konv. 1851/1-1 – 1860/474-46)

Acquisitions Journal 1861-1868 (PDF, 44 MB)
Nachweiszeitraum der Zugänge 1861-1868 (Lfd.-Nr. + Sammelerfassung v. Konv. 1861/1-7 – 1868/335-1)

Akzessions Katalog 1839-1876 (PDF, 304 MB)
Nachweiszeitraum der Zugänge 1839-1876 (Lfd.-Nr. 1839/1 – 1876/409)

Akzessions Katalog 1876-1904 (PDF, 476 MB)
Nachweiszeitraum der Zugänge 1876-1904 (Lfd.-Nr. 1876/410 – 1904/1097)

Akzessions Katalog 1905-1926 (PDF, 378 MB)
Nachweiszeitraum der Zugänge 1905-1926 (Lfd.-Nr. 1905/1 – 1926/800)

Akzessions Katalog 1926-1943 (PDF, 186 MB)
Nachweiszeitraum der Zugänge 1926-1943 (Lfd.-Nr. 1926/801 – 1943/114)

 

Regularly maintained acquisition logs for the Münzkabinett have been preserved right back to the 1830s. The accessions they document reflect the administrative division of the Münkabinett that was in place until 30 July 1868, with the institution broken up into medieval, modern era, and medallion departments on the one hand, and the department of antiquities on the other. It was not until after the summer of 1868 that a unified acquisition log was established. In 1871, the numbering system for acquisitions was changed from the one that had been used since 1839 (by the antiquities department) based on consecutive acquisition numbers to one that started over with each new administrative year (beginning 1 April), made up of the year followed ascending numbers beginning with the number 1 (e.g. Acc. 1871/1 instead of the earlier Acc. 1870/28965).

The acquisition logs of the Münzkabinett have been preserved in their entirety since the introduction of these accession journals in the 1830s, right up to the present day. The volume for the years from 1926 up to and including the era of the Nazi dictatorship and the Second World War has likewise been preserved and can be consulted here. However, after a certain point in 1943 (after Acc. 1943/114) no further entries were made with respect to the Münzkabinett. The next acquisition entries were made in 1949 under the combined listing 1946/49.

The acquisition sources for the years 1933 to 1943 (1945) are currently being investigated as part of a project supported by the Federal Minister for Culture and the Media (BKM), and digital outcomes based on this work are being released via the Münzkabinett Authority File Portal.

The case of the acquisitions “by the government in Schneidemühl, transferred from Jewish possession” from 1942, which was made public in the 1990s, can be read about in K. Dahmen, “Vom Weimar zur Diktatur: Das Direktorat Kurt Reglings (1921 bis 1935)” and “Arthur Suhles kommissarische Leitung (bis 1945)” in: B. Weisser (ed.), Das Kabinett 17 (2020) 111–112 and appendix 117–120, and on ikmk.smb.museum.

In May 1945, the collection, archive and library of the Münzkabinett were placed under Soviet administration, and taken to the Soviet Union in 1946. In 1958, the archive and collection were handed over to the East German government, but not the library. The disruption of the order of the collection (the separation of coins from documentary material recording the acquisition information, the so-called Kartelle) caused by this relocation has never been able to be fully rectified, despite over 30 years of inventory work. For this reason, even today, there are entries in the museum database that have the “Acc.” code without the accompanying numbers. 

  • given the sometimes substantial numbers of pieces acquired in a single purchase, many objects are sometimes catalogued under a single, shared accession number. On this, see the entry dated 4.12.1862 in the acquisition log for coins from antiquity: “the Director-General has decided that only the more important pieces are to have catalogue cards with accession numbers. Furthermore, not every coin is to receive an acquisition number, but every acquisition, as in the collection of modern coins.” From 1859 onwards, the entries were made in German, before which they were either partially or entirely recorded in Latin.
  • the acquisition numbers that can be found in the acquisition logs DO NOT constitute inventory numbers, since the latter per definition must be unique and assigned to an individual object (only in recent decades has care been taken to assure that the numbers assigned to acquisition entries are unique). Today, the eight-figure object number with the format 18200001 in documentation included on ikmk.smb.museum assumes the function of an inventory number (however the acquisition number [Acc.] remains the key when looking into issues of provenance).
  • it is not possible for outsiders to identify a particular object in the collection of the Münzkabinett solely using the digitised acquisition logs. This information needs to be cross-referenced with the rest of the collection, the relevant coin tickets (Kartelle), other archive material and the knowledge of curators about the history of the collection.