Gradual Restitution - May 13, 2016

German Original:

Since 2012, parts of the poster collection of Hans Sachs have been auctioned – Now, there’s an auction in London.

The 2014 balance of 12.200 restitutions by The Coordination Center for Lost Cultural Assets in Magdeburg seemed remarkable. But the number’s background was soon revealed by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung ( FAZ): The poster collection of Jewish dentist Hans Sachs was not listed as one but as 4344 restitutions.

Anyway, Sachs was born in Breslau and fled to the U.S. via London in 1938. His collection of 12.500 posters, the largest poster collection worldwide, was seized by the Nazis and was believe to be lost without a trace after the war. Sachs demanded reparation in 1961 and received 225.000 German Mark (DM) as compensation. Five years later however, 8000 posters from the collection were found in a basement in East Berlin and were handed over to the German History Museum.

The legendary poster enthusiast passed away in 1974. Approximately 30 years later, his son discovered the 4344 pieces stored in the German History Museum and intended to reclaim them, but in 2007, the Limbach Commission decided against the restitution due to the compensation Sachs had received earlier. It was considered insignificant that Peter Sachs intended to return the compensation received. Consequently, he took matters to court and won his case before the Federal Court of Justice in 2012. The posters from the German History Museum were restituted but the rest remains missing.

In January 2013, a first selection of about 1300 items was auctioned at the auction house Guernsey’s in New York City for 2.5 Million Dollars. The German History Museum purchased 31 of them (approx. 50.000 Euro). It is not known how much the auction of a second selection in fall of the same year yielded. Neither is it known why a scheduled third auction was cancelled. The Standard’s requests for comment remained unanswered.

Peter Sachs might have been unsatisfied with the results, especially since the experts from Guerney’s initially estimated the revenue to be about 10 Million Dollars. However, a group of 100 posters is now put up for auction at Christie’s South Kensington (8.6.). Seven of those were only recently reclaimed from the German History Museum. The estimated value is believed to be approximately 180.000 pounds (260.000 Dollars).

The selection of 100 posters also includes rare lithographies connected to Austria: posters for exhibitions on secession by Koloman Moser (5000-7000 Pounds), by Alfred Roller (7000-9000 Pounds) or by Egon Schiele (2000-3000 Pounds).