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Niels Bohr’s Gold Medals at Bruun Rasmussen

This is the first Atoms for Peace gold medal awarded by the Ford Foundation in 1957 to Niels Bohr, for his work in atomic structure. The Atoms for Peace awards was given out only ten times, from 1957 to 1969.

This is the first Atoms for Peace gold medal awarded by the Ford Foundation in 1957 to Niels Bohr, for his work in atomic structure. The Atoms for Peace awards was given out only ten times, from 1957 to 1969.

At the diverse Danish auction firm, Bruun Rasmussen, an autumn Live Auction kicks off at 10 am on Tuesday Nov. 2 at Baltikavej 10 in Copenhagen’s Nordhavn. They will be presenting almost 500 lots featuring rare coins, medals, decorations and bank notes.

Amongst the scarce early Danish coinage in the sale, Bruun Rasmussen will offer a pair of rare gold medals awarded to the world-famous Danish physicist Niels Bohr for his pioneering discoveries in nuclear physics. You may have seen Bohr honored on Danish 2013 commemorative 500 Kroner, for his Atomic theory, but you have likely never seen anything as stunning as the gold medals he received in his lifetime.

The recipient’s full name can be seen on the edge of the first Atoms for Peace gold medal ever awarded.

The recipient’s full name can be seen on the edge of the first Atoms for Peace gold medal ever awarded.

Housed in a double hinged plush case this unique item represents a special intersection of 20th century science and numismatics.

Housed in a double hinged plush case this unique item represents a special intersection of 20th century science and numismatics.

One is a unique 18 ct. gold medal, which Bohr was awarded by the Ford Foundation in 1957 for his outstanding work in peaceful nuclear research for the benefit of mankind. He was the first recipient of the Atoms for Peace Gold Medal, which was awarded ten times from 1957–1969. This piece of nuclear physics history is estimated to sell for between $28,000 and $35,000.

The other medal would be considered a decoration. It is an extremely rare Medal of Merit in gold suspended from a red and white ribbon. The Danish Medal of Merit in gold was awarded just four times during the 35 year reign of Christian X, Bohr being one of the recipients. The estimate for this piece is quite a bit lower, at just under $8,000.

The Danish Medal of Merit was only awarded four times under Christian X. This example went to Niels Bohr for his work in quantum mechanics.

The Danish Medal of Merit was only awarded four times under Christian X. This example went to Niels Bohr for his work in quantum mechanics.

Regarding the Niels Bohr gold medals, Bruun Rasmassen’s Chief Numismatist, Michael Fornitz offered his perspective. “With his pivotal contribution to the understanding of the structure of the atom and quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr is one of the greatest names in Danish history. It is therefore not only a pleasure, but an honour – in the best sense of the word – for us at the Coin Auction here at Bruun Rasmussen to be able to offer these unique gold medals awarded to Bohr. Only very rarely do we get the opportunity to offer a piece of Danish world history such as these medals are.”

One of the nicest examples you will see of the 1572 Speciedaler of Denmark, Dav. 8229. Known as the Elfsborgs Løsen, this coin displays the first use of the three Swedish crowns in the Danish national coat of arms.

One of the nicest examples you will see of the 1572 Speciedaler of Denmark, Dav. 8229. Known as the Elfsborgs Løsen, this coin displays the first use of the three Swedish crowns in the Danish national coat of arms.

The coins in this auction encompass a nice variety including 223 lots from Denmark which run the gamut from Viking issues well into 20th century coinage with side tracks into tokens and colonial issues. The quality is quite high and the selection offers much more than you might expect to fins in just over 200 lots.

Outside of Denmark, there are also coins from Norway and Sweden, as well as 60 lots of Ancient coinage, 68 lots of Banknotes, 32 lots of general world coins as well as a handful of historical medals, orders and decorations and even some numismatic literature.

This 1998 1 Fed gold token is one of the tougher Freetown of Christiania pieces to acquire. It’s valued at about $4,000.

This 1998 1 Fed gold token is one of the tougher Freetown of Christiania pieces to acquire. It’s valued at about $4,000.

In what has become a perfect placement, you will also find a large selection of nearly 40 lots from Fristaden Christiania, the Freetown of Christiania, established by squatters on unoccupied military land in 1971. Bruun Rasmussen has become a great place to find the early token issues from Christiania, as well as some of the scarcest types.

This little creative commune, known as a drug friendly place and popular tourist stop for those inclined, has almost 1,000 residents these days and is close enough to Copenhagen for day trips. Its token issues are interesting records of the enclaves’ development over the years.

The early tokens are crude and singular. However, these days the Christiania tokens are struck in copper, silver and gold most years and there are also the occasional silver strikes with color enameling. You will find them listed in the old Unusual World Coins book, which was last published ten years ago in its 2011 6th edition. If you can locate a copy, please disregard the 2011 values listed for Christiania tokens, as they have risen to new heights in the interim. To update them yourself, follow the frequent offerings at Bruun Rasmussen.

For this and future Bruun Rasmussen auctions visit the firm at www.bruun-rasmussen.dk