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Karl Tausch

German Mine Director (Bergdirektor) Karl Tausch was born in 1893 and grew up in the town of Marburg-an-der-Dräu (Maribor) in Yugoslavia. He began collecting fine mineral specimens in his youth, and was given a small collection assembled by his father, as well as a collection from the Münzberg family. This early family collection, before the first World War, included a superb sulfur specimen with crystals to 6 cm (which his father had brought back from Girgenti, Sicily), natrolite from Aussig, Bohemia and amethyst from Schemnitz. Around 1910 a professor at the Marburg Middle School, Dr. Leo Walter, further stimulated Tausch's interest in mineralogy and mineral collecting. Unfortunately Tausch's family home was seized during the war, and when he finally returned to it years later he found only the smashed remnants of his collection in the attic.

Karl Tausch earned a degree in mining engineering (Dipl. Ing.), from the Montanist University in Leoben, and worked first in a coal mine in Grünbach in Lower Austria. Though he would have preferred to collect minerals, the coal mines afforded him the opportunity to collect fossil plants. In 1947 he took a position at the iron mines in Hüttenberg, where he was once again able to pursue his love of minerals. The many different species from the mine formed the basis of his new collection and also provided him with trading material for broadening his collection.

After World War II ended and more orebodies were discovered at Hüttenberg, Tausch brought in two other mineralogists, Professor E. Clar and Dr. Heinz Meixner, who became his mentor in mineralogy and collecting. Together they established a research center for the Austrian-Alpine coal and iron industry. Tausch was also a co-founder and director of the Mineralogy Group of the Scientific Society of Carinthia. He made numerous collecting trips throughout Carinthia and Steiermark, and also to Italy, Sardinia, Germany and Switzerland, and developed trading contacts in Norway, Spain, the U.S, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. He also acquired many specimens from mineral dealer Anton Berger in Mödling, Germany, including fine examples from the collections of Hans Karabacek, Adolf Lechner, Saxlehner, Seeland, Pohl, Himmelbauer and many others.

Among Tausch's favorite specimens were an 8-cm phosgenite crystal (received from the Director of the mine at Monteponi, Sardinia), and a gold from Breckenridge, Colorado acquired from Harvard Professor Clifford Frondel. He had strontianite, dolomite, magnesite and celestine from Oberdorf, a large pseudomorphs of colemanite after inyoite, Alpine cleft minerals from Tauern, and Japan-law quartz crystals from the Pebellalpe. His collection was meticulously cataloged and arranged according to the systems of Strunz and Dana. He retained old labels from previous specimen owners to preserve the history of individual specimens.

Following Tausch's death in the 1970s, Christian Weise purchased his 7,000-specimen mineral collection from his widow and resold all but about ten of the best specimens through his dealership in Munich, Kristalldruse; the Kristalldruse stamp was applied to some of the labels before resale.

WEISE, C. (2008) Personal communication.
MATZ, K.B. (1953) Die Mineralsammlung Bergdirektor Dipl. Ing. Karl Tausch. Der Karinthin, August, p. 274-277.
TAUSCH, K. (1958) Meine Mineralsammlung. Der Karinthin, p. 290-292.
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