ROMAN/Gordian III CE 238-244---A footnote to the Holocaust

AR Antoninianus, 4.1 g, 23 x 20 mm, 12h, Roma mint, CE 239

RSC 194

O: rad, cuir., bust r IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG
R: Virtus stg l holding shield and spear, PM TRP II COS PP

This coin was part of a lot from Triskeles Auctions 322 lot 518 that closed 12/13/2016. The entire lot including this coin was identified as former stock of Robert Ball Nachfolger a Berlin, Germany coin dealer who was active from 1887 until his death in 1904 according to the write up accompanying the lot description.

In 1904, the Ball enterprise continued under Hugo Grünthal who ran the firm under the Ball name until he was forced to close the business in 1934 when anti-Jewish laws began to impact business enterprises who were no longer able to advertise or have other access to markets. This compelling information was not included in the auction write up for some reason. It was noted that the remaining inventory was sold in two sales by Grabow of Rostock in 1939 and 1940. It is surmised that the coins in this lot probably came from the stock sold at that time. 

    Original Envelope that accompanied the coin. Envelope is 35 x 35 mm.

What is not mentioned is that Hugo Grünthal (1869-1943) died in Berlin in 1943. It is not known if this was due to natural causes or not, though considering the conditions that Jews were compelled to live under, all deaths were unnecessarily premature.  A medal depicting Grünthal  (and his relationship to the Ball company is noted on the reverse) was issued in 1929 and is depicted below:

Grünthal's son Henry (1905-2001) left Germany in 1938 and came to the USA and went on to work in Numismatics and was a long time curator at the ANS in NYC.  

This just goes to prove that preserving the provenance of even the most pedestrian coin provides invaluable information not only about the coin but the people who owned it and the times in which they lived.