The Spöttl Collection




Vienna Museum, Numismatic Collections, Cultural History, Ignaz Spöttl


The second half of the 19th century was a time of great visible change for Vienna. The city walls were torn down, new representative buildings were built, and the population grew rapidly. People became aware of the transformation and the desire to hold on to the old arose. The city thus started collecting objects in order to preserve its history. This collection included objects of ordinary citizens, as opposed to the aristocracy whose history was preserved in the imperial collection. As part of this activity, in 1862 the city council decided to establish a numismatic collection. With a small annual budget and public donations, several hundred coins and medals were collected in the years preceding the opening of the “Historic Museum of the city of Vienna” in 1887.
In the following years the collection grew mainly through private donations, but none of these was greater or more important than the legacy of Ignaz Spöttl (1834–1892). He provided his hometown with over 5100 numismatic objects. It focusses on the Austrian Empire, but some more exotic pieces were also included. Medals make up about 1/5 of the collection. Although Spöttl was an artist, his main interests lay in all things historical. He conducted some archaeological excavations in the vicinity of Vienna, was a member of anthropological and numismatic clubs, and wrote several scientific articles. Holding no academic title, he was never fully acknowledged by scholars during his lifetime. The passion for collecting was inherited in the Spöttl family. Ignaz’ mother and grandmother also collected antiquities. He also collected archaeological and anthropological artefacts, which he left to other Viennese museums. Some of the items in the collection were lost during World War II but it is possible to reconstruct the missing objects through the inventory books. Today, the collection is the historical core of the numismatic collection of the Vienna Museum and contains some of its most valuable items.




How to Cite

Boros, M. V. (2024). The Spöttl Collection. Bulgarian Numismatic Journal, 2(1), 39–46.