On February 1st 1871, Adolph Hess published the first booklet of the «Autographierte Numismatische Correspondenz», which was also his first fixed price list. His first auction contained more than 4000 lot numbers already.
Adolph Hess possessed the rare talent of combining knowledge, passion and commercial skills. He catalogued and successfully auctioned many large and important collections that were entrusted to him. Even today, some of these old auction catalogues still are important reference works:
These 19th century sales were the foundations of the 20th and 21st Century success of the Adolph Hess company.
Erich Cahn once said: «With an average of 2 annual sales, Adolph Hess for decades became the leading company in German coin trade as far as quality and quantity were concerned.»
In 1894, Adolph Hess sold his company to Louis Hamburger and his son-in-law James Belmonte, who continued the story of success as Adolph Hess Nachfolger. Many important and well-known collections were auctioned over the years:
In 1927, Dr Busso Peus joined the company as an expert for medieval and modern coins from Germany.
Two years later, Hermann Rosenberg, son of the numismatist Sally Rosenberg, joined Adolph Hess Nachfolger. The atmosphere within the company remained intact, but the political climate within Germany was changing and quickly became alarming.
In 1931, Dr Feith, foreseeing the Nazi terror and drawing the consequences, founded a company in Switzerland, appointing Hermann Rosenberg as director of the Adolph Hess AG Luzern. The business segments were split, with Luzern focussing on ancient and European coinage.
The company in Frankfurt, led by Dr Busso Peus and whose name it had to take over in 1940 due to the "Aryanization" laws, concentrated on German coins. This is when the history of the Adolph Hess company ended on German soil.
Hermann Rosenberg led the company during the 2nd World War, and started a new successful era in 1954 when the numismatic section of Bank Leu, led by Leo Mildenberg, and the Adolph Hess AG launched a long-time cooperation with many important sales:
These sales set new numismatic standards and made Leu and Adolph Hess world market leaders in classical numismatics. Unfortunately, the tragic death of Hermann Rosenberg in 1970 could not adequatly be substituted.
1989 – 2005
It was only in 1989, when H. J. Schramm acquired the Adolph Hess AG, that regular floor auctions were restarted with five important sales.
In 1995, Jean Paul Divo joined the company and regular sales were continued by the newly-founded Hess-Divo AG. This new constellation became very successful in offering important collections for sale such as:
2005 to present
In 2005 Ulf Maria Künker from Osnabrück took over management, re-adding the traditon-rich segment of ancient coins to the company. Among the recent sales, most notably are: