Emil Bahrfeldt was born in Prenzlau in 1850. He attended schools in Angermünde and Frankfurt (Oder). He continued his education at the University of Halle and Tübingen, where in 1888 he obtained a PhD. He was a bank director, numismatist and collector. In the years 1898–1926 he edited and published the numismatic periodical Berliner Münzblätter. From 1902 he was the chairman the Numismatic Society in Berlin (Numismatische Gesellschaft zu Berlin), which was the oldest in Germany, founded in 1843. His research interests included medieval and modern Brandenburg and Prussian coinage, which resulted in the publication of a three-volume publication Das Münzwesen der Mark Brandenburg in 1888−1913. As an experienced researcher and numismatist, he received an order from the Society for the Reconstruction and Beautification of the Malbork Castle to develop a collection of coins and medals owned by the Society. Research and editorial work lasted nearly 30 years and the castle collection was developed in the form of a seven-volume catalog entitled Die Münzen- und Medaillen-Sammlung in der Marienburg. The catalog was created in cooperation with Dr.Karlem Adam Max Jaquet – the main donor of the numismatic collection and pastor Wilhelm Schwandt – the guardian of the collection on behalf of the Society.
The first volume of the catalog, published in Gdańsk in 1901, described among others coins of the Teutonic Order from the 13th century to 1525, Prussian fief coins from 1525-1618 and Brandenburg coins from 1618-1701. The second volume (published in 1904) contained a study of the coinage of Prussian kings and coins minted by them in Pomeranian and Silesian mints: Szczecin, Kłodzko and Wrocław. Coins issued for West and South Prussia, incorporated into Prussia after the partitions of Poland, were also included. The third volume (published in 1906) included the coins of Pomerania, the Grand Duchy of Poznań, Silesia, as well as of Saxony and the Hohenzollern estate. The fourth volume (published in 1907) includes, inter alia, coins and medals of Prussian kings and medals of private persons from Pomerania, Greater Poland and Silesia. The fifth volume (published in 1910) was entirely related to the Gdańsk coinage. The sixth volume from 1916, after a break caused by World War I, contained only the study of coins and medals of Elbląg and Toruń. The seventh volume, unlike the previous ones, was published in Königsberg in 1929 and contained descriptions of various numismatic items – coins of the Teutonic Order, Royal and Ducal Prussia, Pomerania, Silesia, Brandenburg and Germany – acquired since the publication of volumes I-VI, i.e. 1901-1921. The last number of the inventory of the collection described in the catalogs was 10943. After Bahrfeldt’s death (Berlin 1929), the subject index to the previous seven, the so-called Registerband, were published in 1932, compiled by the author’s brother – prof. dr. Max von Bahrfeldt from the University of Halle.
(compiled by . J. Czarnowska)