The Munich Ibeji Collection

Dr. Walter Grasser - a mediator and link between serious science and the pleasure of private collectors

Auction in Wurzburg:
Saturday, 6th November 2021 – 2 pm (CET)

Preview in Wurzburg:
2nd until 5th November 2021 from 10 am to 5 pm
and by appointment

Catalogue order

Please note current changes to the corona regulations.

On his 80th birthday in 2019, „MünzenWoche“ rightly paid tribute to him as a „mediator between museums, dealers and collectors, as a link between „serious“ science and the „pleasure of private collectors“ (Matthias Barth, 22 August 2019). Walter Grasser, a lawyer and historian with a doctorate, had understood how to convey scientific knowledge in a popular way and to awaken the attention of a wide range of readers and listeners for antiquarian and, in particular, numismatic topics.

Promising titles such as „Antiquitäten als Kapitalanlage“ (1975), „Antiquitäten als Hobby“ (1976) should be found in every older collector‘s library.

First contacts with Dr. Karl-Ferdinand Schädler fall into this period; he introduced him to the art of Africa and the collecting of African works. The history of numismatics, however, remained his main concern. With contributions such as „African sculptures on banknotes. Not only means of payment, but also interesting collectors‘ items“, (Kunst&Kontext No. 3, 2012:45) he managed in a mischievously competent way to make people want to take a closer look at sometimes dry topics. Numerous publications and more than 300 essays and articles in daily newspapers such as the „Süddeutsche Zeitung“ and the „Münchner Stadtanzeiger“ bear his authorship. The last large, elaborately edited publication appeared in 2015: „Kostbare Manschettenknöpfe. Von Pablo Picasso bis James Bond“, initiated by him as co-author and written in collaboration with the jeweller Franz Hemmerle and art historian Dr Alexander Eugen Herzog von Württemberg; in 2016, the English edition was published under the title „Precious Cufflinks: From Pablo Picasso to James Bond - Accessories and Jewellery for Gentlemen Over the Course of Time“.

Walter Grasser was very well connected in society through his professional and cultural commitment: For thirty years, from 1969 to 1999, he taught numismatics at the Faculty of Philosophy of the LMU Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, specialising in southern German and Bavarian monetary and coin history, and was an expert on European coins of the Middle Ages and modern times. From 1975, he was a city director in the Munich Directorate, where he headed the legal department until 1992 and was jointly responsible for Munich‘s urban development as a legally competent city director in the building department until 1998. He then opened his own law firm.

Among Walter Grasser‘s close circle of friends was Hans-Eckard Steuernagel, architect and art collector from Munich:

„Walter Grasser was a strong personality, a man with great intellectual curiosity about society and its culture, so many different interests, always „bustling“, intellectually lively, and all despite or because of his physical impairment in old age.
It was a personal good fortune to have met this man, who was also so important professionally. As city director during the „great times“ of Munich under Lord Mayor Dr. Hans-Jochen Vogel, he helped to determine and shape the city‘s development!
We got to know each other through our love of African art. We will always remember our many „coffee hours“ at my place by the „blue fireplace“, with lively discussions about culture, travel, a lot of politics, and of course the much-needed „gossip“ of our African collector scene.
In Walter Grasser, our „Münchner Sammlerstammtisch Afrika“ also loses a good friend and an impulsive, lively and curious person.“ [Hans-Eckard Steuernagel, Munich, July 2021]

Walter Grasser passed away a few days after his 80th birthday. His art collection gives a deep insight into the many-sided interest of collectors; the West African works are able to depict a small selection.

Dr. Walter Grasser, 2012 [Photo: I. Barlovic]
Nigeria, Yoruba, Kwara State, Ilorin area / Yoruba, Egbe, Walter Grasser

Nigeria, Yoruba, Kwara State, Ilorin area / Egbe

Mallam Abba Kallah, Hausa trader, Nigeria
Balint B. Denes, Arizona, USA (coll. in the 1960s)
Zemanek-Münster, 19 September 2009, Lot 286
Walter Grasser, Munich, Germany

Nigeria, Yoruba, Oyo, Igbuke style, Walter Grasser

Nigeria, Yoruba, Oyo, Igbuke style

Zemanek-Münster, Würzburg, 13 March 2010, Lot 225
Walter Grasser, Munich, Germany

Nigeria, Yoruba, Oyo, Shaki, Walter Grasser

Nigeria, Yoruba, Oyo, Shaki

Maria Ehrensperger, Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany
Rolf & Christina Miehler, Munich, Germany
Neumeister, Munich, 10 June 2010, Lot 176
Walter Grasser, Munich, Germany

Ibeji, Nigeria, Yoruba, Igbomina, Collection Walter Grasser

Nigeria, Yoruba, Igbomina

M. Diane, M. Berete Tribal Arts, Bamako-Caura, Mali (2005)
Walter Grasser, Munich, Germany

Ibeji, Nigeria, Yoruba, Igbomina, Esie, Collection Walter Grasser

Nigeria, Yoruba, Igbomina, Esie village

Gert Stoll, Berchtesgaden, Germany
Ernst-Olof Siré, Forchheim, Germany
Walter Grasser, Munich, Germany

Ibeji, Nigeria, Yoruba, Igbomina, Collection Walter Grasser

Nigeria, Yoruba, Igbomina

Walter Grasser, Munich, Germany