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Richard Baldauf

Julius Richard Baldauf was born on March 7, 1848 in Chemnitz, Saxony. He studied mining science at the Freiberg Mining Academy and after graduation went abroad to gain experience as a mining engineer. After returning he worked in the Saxon and Bohemian coal mining industry. In 1891 he and his brother-in-law established their own coal mining business in northern Bohemia (the Baldauf-Rudolph brown coal works), an enterprise which lasted until 1920.

Ultimately Richard's son became involved in the family coal business, and Richard retired to Dresden in 1904. Freed from many of the business responsibilities, he turned his attention to building his mineral collection, and his wealth gave him the ability to make many purchases. He had often acquired minerals while on visits to the mining areas of Saxony, and on his travels through Europe and overseas, as well as through intensive contacts with mineral dealers and collectors. He also gave lectures and wrote articles about his mineralogical travels. In 1916 Baldauf opened his extensive mineral collection to public view, at his villa on Geinitzstrasse in Dresden.

In 1917 Baldauf was awarded an 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 his honor by Franz Müllbauer. unfortunately baldaufite was discredited (=hureaulite) by Hugo Strunz in 1954.

Fine Austrian specimens in the Baldauf collection include beryl (emerald), titanite and quartz from the Habachtal, epidote from Knappenwand in Salzburg, and calcite, galena, cerussite and wulfenite from Bleiberg. He acquired specimens from most of the important Austrian dealers of his time, including Anton Berger in Mödling, Julius Böhm in Vienna and Anton Otto in Vienna. For the systematic collection Baldauf purchased several rarities from the famous collection of Johann Isidor Weinberger (1838-1915) via Julius Böhm. Baldauf competed for the best specimens with the prominent Viennese collector Hans von Karabacek (1878-1963). He was in contact with the Austrian scientists Josef Emanuel Hibsch (1852-1940), who taught at the Universität für Bodenkultur (soil science) in Vienna.

In recognition of 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 in 1914. Baldauf is said to be the first foreigner to receive this title.

Baldauf died in Dresden on April 28, 1931. Rudolf Koechlin (1862-1939), curator of the Museum of Natural History in Vienna, who had cataloged the Baldauf Collection in 1929, estimated its market value at that time as approximately one million Reichsmark.

In 1940 the Museum for Mineralogy and Geology in Dresden acquired the entire Baldauf collection of about 10,000 mineral specimens. The collection was divided into a systematic collection (5,113 specimens), a collection of cabinet specimens (1,524), a collection of single crystals (2,651) and a collection of faceted precious and semi-precious gemstones (894). Except for a few losses resulting from the disruption caused by World War II, the collection remains essentially intact today, along with an extensive archive of letters, receipts and manuscripts.

CZEKALLA, M., and THALHEIM, K. (2007) The Richard Baldauf (1848-1931) collection and its relationship to Austria. Geo.Alp special volume 1, p. 11-12.
CZEKALLA, M. (2011)Untersuchungen an der Mineraliensammlung von Dr. Richard Baldauf (1848-1931). Dissertation zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades Doctor rerum naturalium (Dr. rer. nat.). Technische Universitat Dresden, 172 p.
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