NEW YORK, NY.-
The world's oldest Nobel Prize ever offered at auction awarded in 1902 to the revered German scholar Theodor Mommsen for Advancements in Literature will be presented by Heritage Auctions
Jan. 7-8 in New York.
The Nobel Prize will cross the block at no reserve during Heritage's annual World Coin Auction held in conjunction with the New York International Numismatic Convention. The auction takes place at New York's Hyatt at Grand Central Station. Awarded a year before his death, the early rare gold medal celebrated Mommsen's contributions and research on ancient Roman civilizations, said Marc Emory, Director of Heritage Auctions' European Operations.
"Since the first Nobel Prize gold medals were awarded in 1901, this is one of the earliest, if not THE earliest Nobel Prize medals ever offered at public auction," Emory said. "Not only is it rare for Nobel Prize gold medals to appear at auction, it is particularly important when one is bestowed on one of humanity's greatest minds."
Mommsen spent his life fascinated with history especially that of ancient Rome. His research remains the foundation of today's knowledge of the ancient civilization. Considered "the greatest living master of the art of historical writing," Mommsen's greatest literature achievement was Römische Geschichte (History of Rome), a three-volume work published between 1854 and 1856, covering the history of the Roman Republic through Caesar's dictatorship.
He published more than 1,500 works, had 16 children and even left American humorist and author Mark Twain star struck when the two met in 1892.
"Mommsen also laid a critical groundwork in the sphere of Roman numismatics," Emory said, "establishing the Zeitschrift für Numismatika journal devoted to Roman coinage whose publications have been cited extensively by The Roman Imperial Coinage, the chief reference in the field. He also published publishing the fundamental Über das Römischen Münzwesens (History of the Roman Coinage), which helped form the foundations of the modern study of numismatics."
Heritage Auctions has sold several Nobel Prize gold medals in recent years, achieving more than $2.2 million for Francis H. C. Crick's Nobel Prize Medal and Nobel Diploma awarded for discoveries in human DNA. Additional medals have realized six-figures auction values, including Francis Peyton Rous's 1966 Nobel Medal for Medicine, which sold for $461,000, Georg Wittig's 1979 Nobel Prize Medal in Chemistry, which sold for $274,000 and Walther Bothe's Nobel Prize for Advancements in Physics, which sold for $129,500.