1st November 1953

After exclusion from all schools of Soviet’s East Germany

because of his active Christian faith before the June rebellion

Start of Apprenticeship

of the


into the

Life of an Antiquary in western Germany

60 Years

Professional Experience

Join the Celebration

and Save besides

Whatever item

below offer no. 16,000 here

you ever recall as having denied to yourself ,

from 1st to 17th Nov. 2013

— on Sundays only fax & email recording —

the once 17-year-old acts out of character

and grants

17% Memory Bonus

on any current list price

of the still available offer nos. between 00,001 and 15,999

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niemeyer’s — where  the  unusual  is  at  home

Picked up in 60 Years

and considered to the point

“ Collectors are Happy People ”

( Goethe )

And so I see myself again in the sanctum of a collector assoluta – averse to any fuss about his person up to, for instance, the 85th, which he celebrates, departing, alone by himself and his wife in the museums at Munich, with the old acquaintances – , viewing , discussing and hearing him simply saying

“ But if one just wants to have it … ”

No different in former decades , still as assistant, in the office of a collector just out for something big, unfurling incunabula, manuscripts, baroque literature, and he looks, weighs and parts into yes & no. Then a look at the clock – and the movement of two hands. Which reunite what they had parted. And the question

“ How much is all this … ”

And, already about to issue a cheque, following up, “by the way, sometimes I would like to have … ” We had it. Right now. “How much? I just add it, but it’s no hurry.”

And once more I see a collector , by now already since long working for own account, dividing the presented and hear his summing up “So this you can take back.” And starting immediately, I encounter his visiting sister, still overhearing,

“ Well , Otto , buying old books again ? ”

And as occasionally there are indeed higher ones for collectors than just their dealers, for once I took the second pile after the first.

And since it happened so in Holy Cologne , Josef Haubrich’s résumé of 1959 isn’t far away

« My  experience

from  40  years  living  with  the  arts :

almost  never  I  have  regretted

to  have  acquired  a  work  of  art ,

but  sometimes  I  have  regretted  for  years

not  to  have  acquired  one »

The dealer can only subscribe to this. He, too, rarely has a chance for another grasp.

“ Have you bought it ? ” So again another Rhenish collector, still young – “if my father knew that …” – and beside the build-up of the actual, that is Ridinger collection, like myself taken to wall-filling grandeur of international cartography and views. Meant was a rare wall-map of the Iberian peninsula. Which a mutual friend, Dutch painter and travelling en passant dealer, just had attempted to recommend to him. And of whom he knew, his next stop would be Godesberg. Of course I had bought it. And we still were at breakfast, when he stormed in to revert his not-having-purchased and was out again.

Many years later, when he no longer cared to add a further one to his father’s comfortable abodes, I bought it back to appease hungry public stomachs. And considered it, on a different occasion, as a final touch to be able to sell two of Justus Danckers’ “t’ Amsterdam … inde Calverstraat” continent wall-maps of about the 1690s back into the very street of their origin, into the Amsterdams Historisch Museum! America , however, went to Munich and shone 1983 in the exhibition 425 Years Bavarian State Library (no. 170 of the exhibition catalog). Later joined by Mercator’s wall-map of Germany. As far earlier already a portrayal of America could be delivered “as (state) present for President Johnson”. And apropos cartography of Germany 1988 the German Historical Museum lured with the hope “soon to receive again such an attractive offer as (Streit’s) General Map (1807/15)”. One was “pleasantly surprised (in Berlin) about the quality and the preservation of the General Map” delivered.

“ People want to sin ” the Deutsche Lebensmittelzeitung once stated and therefore it is the dealer’s obligation to help them in this, even if at first he hears the admonition

“ You shall not always tempt me  so

as you do anew by your letter of the 6th this month. However, for I am a weak man I ask you to send me the offered precious item on approval … ”

I had offered him the NINTH GERMAN BIBLE (Nuremberg, Koberger, 1483) in an exceptional copy in respect of coloring, binding, in short, general state. And, as supposed, neither he nor his wife parted with it. And there was no more talk about the price being “even beyond Mr. Nordhoff’s Volkswagen price raise”, as only the month before on occasion of the acquisition of two other illustrated works. There’s a lot of good in using a dealer, who puts into one’s collection unexcitedly a top copy of Menzel’s Uniforms of the Army under Frederick the Great created for but thirty potentates only, when one had only asked for the 100-sheet facsimile selection from about 1900 as the only imaginable.

No different the experience of a new client when he had the secretary, familiar with the collection, confirm the acquisition of a contemporary leather-bound copy of Ridinger’s Design set and to entrust the desire for the 101-sheet Wondrous and was told, she had not believed her ears when hearing this were available, too. And that of the same provenance obviously having been still in direct contact with the Ridingers themselves. It were an exceptional copy.

On the other hand:

« (Warren Buffett)

is  always  interested  in  underrated  stocks

whose  ‘inner  value’  he  assesses  higher

than  the  rate  traded  at  the  stock  exchange »

Carsten Knop

in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of Sep. 25, 2008

“ The hunting for famous names has considerable drawbacks anyway; it rather would be more correct

to love the pictures for their beauty ”

( Jacob Burckhardt )

“ … an existing signature (is) not always a reliable mark of genuineness: the number of false signatures on paintings is legion! A good collector collects – spoken elliptically – not names , but quality ”

(Laurens J. Bol, Holländische Maler des 17. Jhdts. nahe den großen Meistern, 1969, page 221/II).

“ To any art belong two : one who makes it , and one who needs it ”

(Ernst Barlach).

“ How many things do you know which are indeed necessary ? ”

“ No one would long for jewels if they were necessary .

And for that reason exactly then they would be unnecessary ”

(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Magazin November 11, 1994 in an interview of Michael Freitag with Paolo Bulgari [b. 1937, grandson of Sotirio Bulgari as the founder “of one of the world’s most famous jewelers”]).

“ Great (items)

deserve great prices ”


“ Sometimes the best deals are those

which do not materialize ”

( H. P. Kraus , A Rare Book Saga )

“ For Bodmer was , as any serious collector, a ( considered here less to the point ) miser for whom most prices were under the suspicion of fraud ”

(antiquary legend Bernhard H. Breslauer on the cooperation with his worthy client Martin Bodmer [Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, Geneva] in citation by Thomas Wirtz, [Master and Sleuth], Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Sep. 12, 2000)

“ One cannot have both at once :

a precious piece

and a low price ”

( Nicholas Oppenheimer

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Magazin
November 11, 1994 )

“ What is a cynic ? A man who knows the price of everything , and the value of nothing ”

(Oscar Wilde , Lord Darlington in Lady Windermere’s Fan , Act III)

“ Money is still printed ,

great art not .

This means that – no matter how many  green bills it takes –

great art is always cheap ”

( Richard L. Feigen in
Lisa Zeitz, [A Collector  in Dealer’s Clothing],
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Aug. 6, 2005 )

“ Without even studying it (Saul) Steinberg called his wife: ‘Honey, come downstairs. We just bought a Rembrandt’ … Steinberg hadn’t even asked for the price ” ( Richard L. Feigen as before )

“ If one has to ask for the price

one cannot afford it ”

( J. P. Morgan )

“ Do you have consultants … ? ”

“ No ,

art is subjective .

There is no use of counsel .

For this is subjective , too ”

( Norbert A. Platt

as former Chairman of the luxury goods group
Richemont S.A., Geneva ,
on occasion of an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung )

Correspondingly John Quinn already May 24, 1921 in a letter to Cornelius Sullivan : “ The greatest Cézanne in the Exhibition [at the Metropolitan] is the wonderful figure of the boy in gray …

“ (My adviser , the painter)

Augustus John

cost me this painting …

I was inclined to buy it …

but John shrugged his shoulders

and said ,

‘It’s a very empty thing

and I don’t think you want it .’

That isn’t the only bit of bad advice

that John gave me ”

( John Rewald in

The Paintings of Paul Cézanne
New York, Abrams, 1996, vol. I, no. 555 )

“ Morgan came … and like all millionaires he was reputed to understand nothing of arts. But this was absolutely incorrect. I noticed at once that he could distinguish between quality and mediocrity. The best pieces attracted his attention immediately and right away he gave order without consulting other ‘experts’ … ”

(Augusto Jandolo, [Confessions of an Art Dealer, Vienna 1939, here 1954, pp. 221 f.)

“ Poussin about 1637 to Jacques Stella ,

that the arrangement ,

the gestures , and the forms of figures in a composition

should please those

‘ who understand to read them ’ ”

( Hilliard T. Goldfarb in the Montreal/Cologne Richelieu catalog edited by him, 2002, p. 10/I )

“ The watercolor has corresponded with own judgement very well. The Consul sends his best regards ”

(letter of the office of Dr. G. S. of Oct. 8, 1964)

Nevertheless it  is  sometimes  forgotten  in  the  hurry …

“ … Sotheby’s confine themselves to high-quality wares from pertinent collections,

as the financial expenditure for one object

– no matter if it is auctioned off at one hundred or one million euro –

on average figures at a thousand euro … ”

( A.H., [Profitability of the Auction Houses,
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Feb. 4, 2006 )

“ (Maximilian Speck von Sternburg)  has recorded the origin of the paintings in three inventory catalogs composed by himself whenever notable previous owners could be named.

For illustrious provenances

were considered quality seals increasing the value .

Like distinguished genealogical trees they seemed to raise the quality of paintings. Who could say of himself he has works

which once were the property of known connoisseurs

proved by this , beside affluence and fortune ,

his own flair of quality and made a name for himself .

Max Speck undoubtedly was conscious of this. For him collecting art was not only an inward necessity, but at the same time a means

to show personal success just as social rise ”

(Dieter Gleisberg, [Maximilian Speck von Sternburg’s Collection of Paintings – Sources and Contours] , in Maximilian Speck von Sternburg, Leipsic 1998, page 23/II).

« We  are  neither  expensive  nor  cheap —

we  are  specialists »

shirt advertising by Tyrwhitt, London, March 2004

“ During the holidays I had time and leisure to occupy myself with Ridinger. About your ‘High-priced Specialists ? (Fictitious Conversation of a Collector with his Dealer at the Turn of the Year)’, it’s in the nature of things that the collector always regards the offer as overpriced, while the dealer is convinced of giving something away. I am pleased that the collection has advanced so far. It would be much more expensive today … Here just one gap … ”

(Mr. H. D. in an extensive written letter Boxing Day 2000)

“ Good art dealers

don’t sell works of art — they permit people

to buy works of art ”

( the New York gallery owner André Emmerich in the 1980s in an autobiographic essay
from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung September 29, 2007 on occasion of his decease )

“ For the extensive offer of the Luther Bible printed in Jena 1564 we thank you sincerely.

By your investigations you have enhanced our bible bibliography ”

(Deutsches Bibel-Archiv Hamburg by letter of Aug. 17, 1965)

However , 60 years
at times also reminded of this ,

varying a display in a doctor’s practice

already more than 60 years ago …



Kubin, Marterl
Alfred Kubin 1926

like the angel

he reveals

the juice of things .

But if he only

asks for reward

he has

Landseer, Monkeyana
Thomas Landseer 1828


devilish face

It’s “a pleasure dealing with you”

( Mr. R. G. S., San Francisco, CA, October 30, 2002 )

“ (Your for me so  surprising  kind  shipment  and quite especially your kind letter have given me great and unexpected pleasure. Many thanks for this !

Immediately I took out my Horace

and looked up the passage referred to …) ”

Dr. R. von S. by letter of September 11, 1968

“ (I thank you for your letter … in which you supply such thorough information on my Cries of London …) ”

Mrs. L. L. by letter of March 9, 1976

“ (Surprised and pleased I gratefully confirm the receipt of your catalog ‘30 Years

unmistakable .

It was a pleasure and profit to leaf through it slowly and to let the offer soak in …) ”

Univ.-Prof. O. H. by letter of May 2, 1989

“ (I thank you for the quick and thorough manner you dealt with my wishes …) ”

Mr. E. S. by letter of January 22, 2000

“ … I was digging and I found you . I needed to tell you that your collection for whatever reason has brought tears to my eyes. Thank you … I’m not a collector, or I haven’t known myself to be … I was going to sell this (sheet), but I just may have discovered that I’m to keep this for whatever reason. Have you made a collector out of me … For all your devotion, hardwork … I thank you ”

Mrs. D. H. by email of June 17, 2002

“ (thanking you very cordially for the very uncomplicated procedure of purchase , I like to inform you that the corresponding sum has already entered into my account. With best greetings and fine wishes for a very pleasant, restful weekend) ”

Mrs. U. K. by email of August 19, 2011

“ map arrived today in very safety conditions. Thanks for the extremely secure and accurate package! Map is very nice and in good condition: I like very much. It has been a pleasure to deal with you. Until to the next time!

P.S.: You can post this very positive comment on your website ”

Signor P. P. by email of November 26, 2011

“ (many thanks for your shipment (Würbs, Halle/Saale, seen from Pressler’s Garden). By this Christmas was a complete success …) ”

Mrs. M. R. by email of December 25, 2011

“ (Your publications of the (ridinger gallery niemeyer) No. 25

Ridinger Life Work Fame Events 1698-2011

is a wonderful compendium. I thank you particularly this time for the shipment and am very glad to have the compilation …) ”

curator Dr. G. K. by email of December 25, 2011

“ (… I am fully satisfied with your (purchase) offer . Please order the money into my account … I thank you for the transaction and remain with kind regards) ”

Mrs. S. von P. by email of May 25, 2013

“ (and I hope that I can profit from the eternal youth and beauty of art for a long time yet) ”

Mr. H. H. Th.-B. by letter of April 30, 1991; customer 1960-2001

„ Wegen der Eile – das Werk soll Anfang nächster Woche verschenkt werden – würden wir Kurierdienst bevorzugen … Der guten Ordnung halber hier unsere Bestätigung, dass Ihr Paket … wohlbehalten bei uns eingetroffen ist … Wir würden die Verpackung ungern öffnen, weil das gute Stück gleich wieder auf Reisen gehen soll … “

(Herr F. R., 29. Aug./2. Sep. 2013)