Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A prominent early dealer

August Krantz began his fossil shop in Freiburg, Germany in 1833. Through personal relationships with important scientists and collectors of the day, August Krantz amassed a sizable and diverse collection of fossils. 

Friedrich Krantz (pictured - photo from the Krantz website) was well-known to fossil collectors and museums alike throughout the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. He took over as head of the Krantz fossil and mineral firm in 1891. He sold specimens to many institutions including the Yale Peabody Museum, Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, and the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian).

Dr. Krantz developed numerous special collections of fossils that were used around the world as teaching aids. Dr. Krantz and his employees traveled the world scouting out interesting localities and collecting fossils to replenish the firm's stores.
Many of the specimens in the Peabody's collection where obtained by Charles Schuchert (an early curator who I will discuss in detail in another post). The "Krantz" specimens are all marked with a small green sticker bearing a handwritten number. This number corresponds to a catalog that was included in the shipment.

The Krantz mineral and fossil firm is still in business and can be found here. Today the firm carries a wide array of fossil material and fossil casts, and it is still used by personal collectors and large institutions.


  1. Such elegant writing back then. In our collections, it's those old tags *stay on* while the numbering from the 60's and 70's (sometimes in a beautiful shade of florescent orange) flakes off!

  2. Do you have any issues with mildew stains on tags from the 1800s? The collection I work with was in a flood about 80 years ago and a lot of the specimen labels were damaged. I was wondering if there are any preservation or restoration methods that could help them.

    I count at least 10 specimens in the collection that came from A. Krantz of Berlin. Will check if any have a green label. Thanks for the info about this dealer.

  3. A. Krantz used a slightly lighter shade of green than his nephew. We don't have much of a problem with mildew stains on old tags, but whenever we do have a problem we use something called "groomstick" to clean them. It's like a kneadable eraser, and if you gently roll it over the label, it picks up some of the mildew and dust without harming the righting underneath.

    Besides that, the only other thing that might be helpful is a blacklight. Sometimes when the ink has faded away over the years you can see traces of it under blacklight that you can't see under normal white light.

    And to Angie - what was it about the 60's and 70's that made them all want to use florescent orange paint?!?

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