Rare coins acquired by National Museum of Denmark


18 June 2024
The National Museum of Denmark has used a right of first refusal to acquire 7 extremely rare coins from the coin collection of Lars Emil Bruun before it is sold at auction.

The newly acquired coins

In total, 7 coins have been acquired by the National Museum of Denmark, 6 gold coins and 1 silver coin, all minted by the Danish-Norwegian monarchy of the 15th-17th centuries. Two of these coins were minted in Christiana, which is now Oslo, Norway. Of the gold coins, 2 were minted in Haderslev for Christian IV by his mother, Sophie of Mecklenburg, both of these have mounting traces so they could be worn as jewellery or medallions. 

Helle Horsnæs, who is responsible for the Den Kgl. Coin and medal collection and the National Museum said: ‘All 7 coins are unique in their own way and very well maintained. We have carefully selected them so that they best complement the coin collection we have at the National Museum. The coins come from older collection, but we can only trace their precise purchase and sale history back to the 1800s.’ 

Above: The coins have been acquired by the National Museum of Denmark after they were given the right of first refusal before the coins are auctioned off

Bruun’s coin collection consists of several collections and the National Museum had the right of first refusal for coins from these collections. All 7 coins purchased by the National Museum came from the Danish Count Preben Bille-Brahe collection, which at the time was described as ‘the most significant collection of Danish and Norwegian coins’ and was purchased by Bruun in 1922, a year before he died.

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The 7 coins purchased by the National Museum are a triple ducat, minted in Copenhagan in 162 for Frederick III, Half Portuguese, minted in Haderslev in 1591 for Christian IV by his mother Sophie of Mecklenburg, Quarter Portugese, also minted in Haderslev in 1592 for Christian IV by his mother, triple speciedaler, minted in Christiana (Norway) in 1668 for Frederick II, ducat minted in Copenhagen around 1690 for Christian V, double ducat, minted in Copenhagen during the period 1670-99 for Christian V and triple ducat, minted in Christiana (Norway) in 1671 for Christian V. There are currently no plans to exhibit the new coins. 

Background on Bruun’s collection 

For 100 years, Bruun’s coin collection has served as a reserve for the Royal Coin and Medal Collection at the National Museum, should it be lost in a fire of theft. As this has not happened, the collection is now being put up for auction as per the terms in Bruun’s will. 

The purchase of these coins by the National Museum has been achieved with support from the Royal Society Friends of the Coin and Medal Collection. The association was founded in 1945 and its purpose is to step in when Bruun’s collection was released for sale at auction. The coins’ total price of DKK7.7 million has been donated by the Society to the National Museum.