Fritz Rudolf Künker, a prominent German auction house, has announced the passing of esteemed numismatist Peter N. Schulten (1936–2016).
In a memorial released by Künker earlier this week, Schulten’s “baroque lifestyle” was fondly remembered by his former co-workers.
“For a long period of time, he lived life on his own terms, and, even at an advanced age, acted out his thirst for adventure through extended sailing trips.”
“The Künker company owes a lot to him, not only the successful establishment of a department for ancient coins,” reads the memorial issued by Künker. “Schulten also engaged in the training of the young staff members and enlarged the company’s library carefully and consistently. As a result, Künker possess one of the world’s largest numismatic libraries.”
The son of Wolfgang Schulten (1904-96), another devoted numismatist, the younger Schulten’s interest in numismatics was kindled during his childhood. From his mother, he inherited a love for music and literature. Through his uncle, Professor Hans Schulten (1899-1965), he was exposed to a myriad of positive influences that sparked a deeper interest in archeology and, in particular, the ancient world.
Born into a family of merchants and physicians of a conservative orientation, Schulten’s grand-father had worked as a doctor in Wuppertal, and his father Wolfgang had been a senior executive in a Wuppertal-based textile company. His father’s true passion, however, was numismatics, and even after he had already retired, he formed part of the staff of the coin houses Dr. Busso Peus, of Frankfurt, and the Münz Zentrum Albrecht and Hoffmann GmbH, of Cologne. In his capacity as a numismatist, the elder Schulten earned recognition for his book on the coinage of Charles V.
After the University of Cologne accepted the younger Schulten’s Master’s thesis, entitled “Die Typologie der römischen Konsekrationsprägungen,” he was given the opportunity to take over the Frankfurt-based coin house Dr. Busso Peus with Dieter Raab.
Under their management, Dr. Busso Peus Nachfolger soon became one of the leading coin houses in Germany. That was partly owing to superbly prepared auction sale catalogues, of which the 1970 and 1971 auctions of the collection of the Hamburg lawyer Dr Werner Koch deserve special mentioning.
In the early ‘70s, the colleagues Schulten and Raab went separate ways, and Schulten became partner at the Cologne Münzzentrum Albrecht and Hoffmann GmbH. By 1978, Schulten would follow his own path once again, this time to Frankfurt am Main. In addition to auction sales, his fields of activity included a specialist bookstore and a publishing house for numismatic literature. In 1983, the company moved to Cologne and was located in the former premises of the coin house Heinrich Pilartz in the “Klingelpütz.”
Even though Schulten was held in high esteem by his customers and the auction sale catalogs were prepared with great commitment, business success fell short of expectations. At the final auction sale conducted on Oct. 16, 1990, Münzenhandlung Schulten and Co. auctioned off its own library. Both in Germany and on an international level, this well-kept object attracted wide interest.
Later that year, Schulten stopped working independently and, at the beginning of 1991, became employee of the coin house Fritz Rudolf Künker, of Osnabrück.
Apart from his activities for the Künker company, he wrote the standard work of reference on the coinage of Hohnstein, closing a gap in German numismatics. He is also the author of a publication on the Roman mint of Trier.
Accompanying his long career as a coin dealer, Schulten held honorary offices and worked on the board of the Association of German Coin Dealers, among other associations. From 1999-2007, he acted as publisher of the journal Geldgeschichtliche Nachrichten, for which he also wrote numerous contributions.
“Schulten was certainly a man with a complex character, who was not afraid of experiencing conflicts. He was absolutely straightforward and loyal, and to his customers he was a valuable advisor,” reads the Künker memorial. “We shall remember him as an eloquent and educated interlocutor and a gentleman of the old style. Who was fortunate enough to sit right next to him at one of the numerous auction dinners was impressed with his profound knowledge and his powers of persuasion, but also with his Rhenish humor.”
Peter Nikolaus Schulten died on May 9, 2016 at Bonn University Hospital following a long period of illness. He was 79 years old.