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Moritz Lechner

Mauritius (“Moritz”) Joachim Lechner was born in Steyr, Upper Austria, on May 7, 1850, the son of Genovefa Donberger, the daughter of a textile worker, and Mathias Lechner, a file-maker. Moritz later lived at Schaumburgergasse 6 in Vienna and worked in the coal trade. He was an officer (Prokurist, like a CEO) of the company of Carl Königer und Sohn.

Moritz Lechner was able to build a high-quality collection of over 8,000 specimens in the latter half of the 1800s. It had absorbed the important collections of Johann Anton Sigismund von Beroldingen (1738-1816), Dom Pedro de Alcantara (1825-1891), Friedrich August Frenzel (1824-1902), Gustav Adolf Koch (1846-1921), Johann Lhotzky, Alois Lill von Lilienbach (died 1871), Josef Pohl (1825-1900), Franz Edler von Rosthorn (1796-1877), and Ferdinand Seeland (1822-1901), among many others. The collection consisted virtually exclusively of specimens in the 4 x 6 to 8 x 10-cm range, mostly from European localities. The collection was arranged in six wooden cabinets, each with 2 x 14 drawers. Lechner had 4 children: Alice, Adolf, Max and Alfred. After his early and unexpected death on February 15, 1903 Adolf Lechner inherited his collection.

Adolf (born 1882), the eldest son, being a Dr. of Jurisprudence, was president of the Financial Procurator in Vienna. Adolf was not a collector, but like his father, he had a strong interest in minerals and was an important and long-standing member of the Vienna Mineralogical Society, which numbered about 150 members in 1910. He lived also at Schaumburgergasse 6 in Vienna.

The Lechner collection was placed on sale after Moritz's death, but failed to find a buyer for over 40 years. At last, about a month before his death, Adolf Lechner arranged the sale of the bulk of the collection (by then about 7,000 specimens) to Anton Berger, a prominent mineral dealer in Mödling (near Vienna). Apparently over 1,000 specimens had been sold individually or in lots by Lechner and/or Berger before that time, some of which had gone to American mineral dealer Willard Perkin in California. Following Adolf's death on March 6, 1952, Berger had to renegotiate the sale with Lechner's heirs, but ultimate closed the deal. He sold roughly half of the specimens from the collection to the American market, primarily via the Schortmann brothers (Raymond and Alvin) on the East Coast, but also via Perkin on the West Coast. A number of beautiful and interesting pieces came into the collection of Harvard University and also the Smithsonian Institution. In England Berger sold Lechner specimens through W. F. Davidson, and he surely sold other specimens himself to mainland European buyers including 80 pieces that went to the Natural History Museum in Vienna.

SMITH, B. (1991) The mineral collection of Moritz and Adolf Lechner Vienna. Mineralogical Record, 22, 433-438.
LOEHR, A. R. v. (Red.) (In cooperation with BECKE, F., KOECHLIN, R. and ROTKY, O. (1911): Mineralogisches Taschenbuch der Wiener Mineralogischen Gesellschaft. Wien, 192 p.
HUBER, P., and HUBER, S. (2015) Personal communication.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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Number of labels found: 7 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 7

The Mineralogical Record - Moritz Lechner Moritz Lechner
The Mineralogical Record - Moritz Lechner 41 x 67 mm,
An original Moritz Lechner hand-written label
The Mineralogical Record - Moritz Lechner 51 x 67 mm,
A label accompanying a Lechner specimen
The Mineralogical Record - Moritz Lechner 69 x 72 mm,
A label accompanying a Lechner specimen.
The Mineralogical Record - Moritz Lechner A set of three Lechner labels for one specimen;
Printed label (black): 65 x 35 mm,
Printed label (blue): 49 x 67 mm,
Handwritten label: 51 x 78 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Moritz Lechner 55 x 80 mm,
An Anton Berger label for a Lechner specimen.
The Mineralogical Record - Moritz Lechner 40 x 72 mm,
An Anton Berger label for a Lechner specimen.
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