Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Erbstein

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Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Erbstein (born February 1, 1757 in Wehlen near Pirna , † July 9, 1836 in Dresden ) was a German bookseller , historian and numismatist .

Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Erbstein, son of pastor Johann Christoph Erbstein (1720–1805), enjoyed a home education from an uncle and his father and attended the Kreuzschule in Dresden. From 1777 to 1780 he studied theology at the University of Leipzig , then medicine in Leipzig and Dresden. From 1784 he worked as a bookseller and publisher in Meißen , from 1799 to 1801 he also had a branch in Lübben . In 1802 he received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of Wittenberg . In 1808 he had to close his bookstore in Meissen after health and financial problems. From 1810 he lived as a private scholar in Dresden, where he was from 1814 until his retirement in 1817 as a treasurer of the penal and pension institutions.

In his writings he mainly dealt with the history and numismatics of Saxony. He was the first to discover coins from the Burgraves of Dohna and was thus able to prove that the Donins had the right to mint. Erbstein also campaigned for the preservation of Saxon historical monuments, such as the chapel of Landsberg Castle or the Moritz Monument in Dresden.

On the occasion of the 2nd Association of German Coin Researchers in Vienna in 1883 Anton Scharff produced a commemorative medal made of silver, bronze and nickel . Erbstein is depicted on the front in the bust on the left and on the back a standing female figure - as a personification of antiquity - reading ancient fragments.

Erbstein's descendants remained loyal to the historical sciences and especially numismatics. His son Julius Theodor Erbstein (1803–1882) became an archivist and worked in the field of numismatics. His sons Albert Erbstein (1840–1890) and Julius Erbstein (1838–1907) were also numismatists and ran museums in Dresden .

Publications (selection)

  • with Joachim Christoph Friedrich Schulz : Almanac for Belletrists for 1782 . Meissen 1782.
  • Numismatic fragments relating to Saxon history . Volume 1-3. Dresden 1816–1828.


  • New necrology of the Germans. 14th year, 1836, part 1, Weimar 1838, pp. 427–433 ( digitized version ).
  • Georg Christoph Hamberger , Johann Georg Meusel : The learned Teutschland, or lexicon of the now living German writers . Volume 17, Lemgo 1820, pp. 516-517 ( digitized version ).
  • Peter Berghaus : Numismatists in portrait: 1. The Magister Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Erbstein . In: Monetary History News. Volume 25, 1990, pp. 222-226.
  • Stadtlexikon Dresden A-Z . Verlag der Kunst, Dresden 1995, ISBN 3-364-00300-9 , p.?.

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