Annemarie und Gerd Köhlmoos: Responsible Businesspeople – Passionate Collectors

07. February 2022

Many successful business owners manage to find the time and energy to pursue completely different interests alongside the demands of their own company. This gives them a chance to recover from the various complex tasks that a family business has to deal with on a daily basis. Family business owners don’t think in the short-term – instead, they aim to set up their company, their life’s work, as solidly as possible so that future generations can benefit from the success and ideas of its founders.

The company Juwel Aquarium, based in the town of Rotenburg an der Wümme, was founded as early as 1966 and, thanks to innovative strategies, it has steadily developed into what is now the leading aquarium brand in Europe, regarded internationally as a model company. In 2021, the Juwel Aquarium brand received the ‘Marke des Jahrhunderts’ (‘Brand of the Century’) award from the Langenscheidt publishing company.

Anyone who runs a family business knows that, in order to keep growing your company, you need to keep finding fresh sources of capital. Ideally, the business's profits will rise in correlation with its growth and with the amount of capital that the founders have to finance out of their own pocket'

From 1993 onwards, collector Gerd Köhlmoos was advised by the numismatist Dr. Bernhard Schulte (1949-2007), who died far too young. Dr. Schulte, together with Dr. Hans Voegtli, managed Münzen und Medaillen AG in Basel, a global company founded by Frankfurt-born coin dealer Herbert A. Cahn (1915-2002) and his brother Erich B. Cahn (1913-1993) following their emigration to Basel. Bernhard Schulte, much like his friend and colleague Fritz Rudolf Künker, was educated by numismatist Peter Berghaus (1919-2012), who worked for many successful decades as an honorary professor of numismatics in Münster.

At Münzen und Medaillen AG, the client Mr Köhlmoos was a closely guarded secret. It wasn’t until the catalogue for Münzen und Medaillen AG’s Auction 91 was published that the expert community realised just how much energy and passion Gerd Köhlmoos had put into compiling one of the most important collections of talers in a relatively short space of time. In his foreword, Bernhard Schulte paid tribute to the structure and design of this taler collection. The 1,031 pieces of extremely high quality were auctioned on 6 and 7 March 2001 in Basel with great success. The decision to sell was prompted by Mr and Mrs Köhlmoos’ idea to invest the proceeds from their collection in their company, namely to boost automation in their production processes. This turned out to be exactly the right move: the success story of Juwel GmbH & Co. KG continued unabated.

Shortly before his death, Bernhard Schulte advised his friend Gerd Köhlmoos to stick with Künker to build up his future collection. And so over the last 20 years, starting in 2006, with the help of the numismatists at Künker, a very different design was laid out for the new collection. The plan was to develop a cross section of all eras of monetary history. Everyone agreed that only particularly well-preserved specimens would be included in the collection. In most cases, the pieces were meticulously inspected by Oliver Köpp before each auction. This has resulted in a whole new, highly exciting collection, which will now be sold over the course of several auctions.

Once again, the family business was at the heart of this decision. Mr and Mrs Köhlmoos decided that it would be more sensible for the family to invest the proceeds from their second collection in new production facilities, allowing them to be independent from suppliers, particularly those based overseas. This would ensure an even more stable future for the family business. Mr and Mrs Köhlmoos believe that a thriving company is essential for future generations.

The decision to send their collection, built up with so much passion, back into the numismatic cycle was therefore not a difficult one.

Osnabrück, in January 2022

Fritz Rudolf Künker