Copyright 2011-2018 John N. Lupia, III

Fig. 1 Photograph of Adolf Iklé-Steinlin circa 1922.

Adolf Iklé-Steinlin (1852-1923), was born the ninth of twelve children in Hamburg, Germany in 1852. His father was a textile merchant who sold at Hamburg muslin goods bought at St. Gall, Switzerland. At the age of four Adolf began to go to school. By the age of six he already was a student of Latin and French languages. By age fourteen he became an instructor at Hamburg.

After moving to England and learning import and export trading in a global market he was groomed to join the family business at St. Gall, Switzerland. The family eventually set up their first textile factory manufacturing embroidery there about 1854 which later on was headed by Leopold Iklé (1838-1922), the elder brother of Adolf. Leopold would come to establish one of the largest and finest textile collections in the world donating in 1900 a large portion to the St. Gallen Textile Museum.

By the 1874 Adolf Iklé entered the business at St. Gall. There he married Agnes Schmidt and they had three children. After 17 years of marriage Agnes died. He then married Anna Steinlin.

In 1899 he joined the Swiss Numismatic Society SNS (Schweizerischen Numismatischen Gesellschaft) . At the 1903 annual SNS convention Adolf exhibited a large collection of Swiss coins and medals at his Villa Rosenberg. His passion for collecting reached its peak in 1911 when he seems to have lost interest and sold his collection through Leo Hamburger at Frankfurt a. M. on May 23, 1911.

Fig. Adolf Iklé collection coin auction catalogue of Leo Hamburger, Frankfurt a. M., May 23, 1911. Photo courtesy of Kolbe & Fanning sale. This splendid item sold for a mere $60, which was a steal.

It proved to be a very important collection of Silver and Gold coins and medals and significant in Zwingli portrait medals. With the assistance of E. Hahn, curator of the Numismatic Cabinet of the Swiss National Museum an extensive illustrated description of the Adolf Iklé collection was published in Revue suisse de numismatique, Band XVI and XVII.

Fig. Posthumous coin auction sale of the Adolf Iklé collection by Leo Hamburger October 15, 1928. Photo © Heidelberg University Library.

Fig. Photograph of Leopold Iklé circa 1895.

Fig. Photograph of the Washington Building, Rosenbergstrasse 20-22, St. Gall, Switzerland.

The firm of the Iklé Frères built Washington, the name given to their business building at St. Gall constructed 1891-1892 coinciding with the unveiling of the Washington Monument at Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Bibliography :

Revue suisse de numismatique, (1923) : 544 obit of Adolf Iklé (in German)

Adolf Fäh, Leopold Iklé (1838-1922), Gedenkblätter unter Zugrundlegung seiner Memoiren (St. Gallen, n.d.)

Gisela Graff-Höfgen, Spitzen von Iklé und Jacoby, in: Hamburgische Geschichts- und Heimatblätter, vol. 9, book 11 (October 1976) : 274