Mareen Czekalla & Klaus Thalheim
Die Sammlung Richard Baldauf (1848–1931) und ihr Bezug zu Österreich
The Richard Baldauf (1848-1931) Collection and its relationship to Austria

Geo.Alp Sonderband 1/Special volume 1, 2007, p. 11–22

Seit 1940 besitzt das Museum für Mineralogie und Geologie in Dresden eine der wertvollsten und schönsten mineralogischen Privatsammlungen vom Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts in Europa. Es ist die Sammlung des "Mineralogischen Museums Baldauf" welche aus ungefähr 10.000 Sammlungsstücken bei der Übernahme bestanden hat. Alle bis 1929 bekannten Mineralien waren in dieser Sammlung enthalten. Das Museum wurde in eine systematische Sammlung (5113 Stücke), eine Sammlung großer Exemplare (1524), eine Sammlung der Kristalle (2651) und eine Sammlung geschnittener, kostbaren Edelsteine und Halbedelsteine (894) geteilt. Außer geringer Verluste durch die Wirren nach 1945 ist die Sammlung vollständig erhalten. Zusätzlich enthält die Sammlung einen umfangreichen Archivbestand mit Briefen, Quittungen und Manuskripten.

Since 1940 the Museum for Mineralogy and Geology in Dresden is in the possession of one of the most valuable and most beautiful mineralogical private collections from the beginning of the 20th century in Europe. It is the collection of the "Mineralogical Museum Baldauf" which contained about 10 000 mineral specimens when it was taken over. All kinds of minerals known until 1929 were included in this collection. The Museum was divided into a systematic collection (5113), a collection of big specimens (1524), a collection of crystals (2651) and a collection of cut precious stones and semi-precious stones (894). Except of few losses by the commotion of the time after 1945 the collection is completely preserved. Additionally the collection contains an extensive archive holding with letters, receipts and manuscripts.
Richard Julius Baldauf was born on March 7, 1848 in Chemnitz. He studied mining science at the Mining Academy Freiberg and subsequent to his studies he went abroad as a mining engineer and later on he worked in Saxon hard coal and Bohemian brown coal mining industry. In 1891 together with his brother-in-law he established his own mining business, which existed until 1920, in the brown coal area of Northern Bohemia.
After having taken residence in Dresden in 1904 and after his son got involved in the businesses of the Baldauf-Rudolph brown coal works, Richard Baldauf turned intensively to his collective activity. He was in the fortunate position to be able to spend a lot of money on his hobby because of his wealthy situation. He acquired the minerals on excursions into the mining areas of his home Saxony, during his travels through Europe and overseas as well as through intensive contacts to mineral dealers and collectors. Richard Baldauf gave lectures on his mineralogical travels and wrote publications about them. He collected with scientific methods of which evidence can be found in his extensive correspondence with scientists, curators of museums and mineral dealers. In 1916 Richard Baldauf declared the collection in his villa at Geinitzstrasse in Dresden to be open to the public as "Mineralogical Museum". This private mineralogical museum gained international reputation beyond the borders of Dresden and Germany.
In his Saxon home Richard Baldauf appeared as supporter of scientific institutions and public collections. The contributions of Richard Baldauf to social and scientific institutions as well as his generous support for scientific institutions got public acknowledgement and honor several times. In 1917 he was awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Technical Sciences by the Technical College at Dresden. In 1925 a new phosphate mineral from the pegmatite in Hagendorf in Bavaria was named baldaufite in Baldauf's honor by Franz Müllbauer. There is no acknowledged mineral baldaufite anymore since Hugo Strunz discovered the identity with the already since 1825 known mineral hureaulite in 1954.
On April 28, 1931 Richard Baldauf died in Dresden after having led a fulfilled life.
307 mineral specimens of the Baldauf collection come from the territory of today’s Austria. Among them are about 70 big specimens. Numerous specimens come from famous sites of discovery in Austria: wagnerite and lazulite from Höllgraben near Werfen, beryl (emerald), titanite (sphene) and quartz (rock crystal) from Habach Valley as well as epidote from Knappenwand in Salzburg, anhydrite from Bad Aussee, ankerite and aragonite (flos ferri) made of iron ore as well as rutile from Modriach in Styria, tetrahedrite (schwazite) from Schwaz as well as quartz (amethyst) from Mörchnerkar (Schwarzensteingrund) in Tyrol and calcite, galena, cerussite as well as wulfenite from Bleiberg, and even vanadinite from Hochobir in Carinthia.
Baldauf acquired a lot of mineral specimens by intensive contacts to mineral dealers in Austria, e. g. to Anton Berger in Mödling, to the mineral Comptoir Julius Böhm in Vienna as well as to the mineralogical Comptoir Anton Otto in Vienna. For the systematic collection Baldauf purchased several rarities from the famous collection of Johann Isidor Weinberger (1838-1915) via the mineral business Böhm. Baldauf competed with the important collector of minerals, Hans v. Karabacek (1878-1963) from Vienna, for the acquisition of very special mineral specimen.
He was in contact with the Austrian scientists Josef Emanuel Hibsch (1852-1940), who taught at the Universität für Bodenkultur (soil science) in Vienna, and above all with Rudolf Koechlin (1862-1939), curator of the Museum of Natural History in Vienna. It was Koechlin who catalogued the Baldauf Collection in 1929 in detail and estimated its value according to the market of that time to approximately one million Reichsmark.
Baldauf’s archive holdings with 293 receipts and 409 letters as well contains the correspondence with the scientists, mineral dealers and collectors from Austria.
Between 1924 and 1928 Baldauf traveled to numerous European countries for the purpose of studying the big mineralogical museums and collections. He had the idea of publishing a guidebook on these most important museums in Europe. Unfortunately Baldauf could not finish this project, which is preserved in manuscript fragments. In 1926 he visited the Museum of Natural History in Vienna, the University and the Austrian Geological Survey as well as museums in Graz, Leoben and Klagenfurt. There are no manuscripts preserved from these visits.
Due to his economic and social contributions in the brown coal area of Northern Bohemia Richard Baldauf received the title of a royal-imperial Oberbergrat from the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. (1830-1916) in 1914. Baldauf is said to be the first foreigner to receive this title.
In 1932 the then director of the Museum of Mineralogy and Geology at Dresden, Eberhard Rimann, wrote in the necrology about the deserving entrepreneur and collector of minerals:
"The name Richard Baldauf will receive honorable mention in mineralogy and in mining for all times: in mineralogy as the name of one of the few men in Germany who supported this science in full measure and who has created a unique mineralogical museum in the systematic work of many years, in mining as the name of a prominent person of outstanding importance, who pointed the way to the future."
Since its takeover the Baldauf collection is one of the most valuable holdings of the Museum of Mineralogy and Geology at Dresden. It is an important source for exhibition and research purposes. Special specimens from the Baldauf collection have been presented in Austria before. In 1983 the Baldauf collection was presented at the Great Vienna Mineral Exhibition. In 1990 three exceptionally beautiful epidote specimens enriched the anniversary exhibition of the symposium "125 Years Knappenwand" within the scope of the conference MinPet 90 in Neukirchen at the Großvenediger.

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