Greg Burns currently serves as editor of The California Numismatist, the award-winning joint publication of the California State Numismatic Association (CSNA) and the Numismatic Association of Southern California (NASC), and has been a coin collector for about 35 years. His collecting passions are the satirical medals of the German medallist, Karl Goetz, medals relating to WWI in general, and he has a longtime fascination with Canadian colonials and bank tokens.

Goetz - the man...


Karl Goetz


(June 28, 1875—September 8, 1950)


German medalist and sculptor best known for his satirical medals created during and shortly after the conclusion of World War I. Born in Augsburg, Germany, he studied art in that city under master Johannes Dominal and continued his education and training in Dresden, Leipzig, Berlin, and Düsseldorf until 1897. After spending the subsequent two years in the Netherlands, and after that Paris for five years, he finally settled in Munich where he spent the rest of his years. Karl Goetz was a busy man, enjoying active membership in the Munich's Artist Society, The Numismatic Society, The Ancient Club of Munich, and the Artisan Society for Numismatics in Vienna. Karl Goetz also extended his sculpting and medalist abilities in the area of creating pattern coins for the German Empire and the Weimar Republic.


In August of 1915, several months after the sinking of the Lusitania, Karl Goetz produced his first version of the Lusitania medal. Showing an incorrect date the error was picked up by the British as a propaganda bonanza, and Goetz later produced a variety with the correct date.


By the later 1940s, Goetz struggled to continue working as he dealt with increasing paralysis in his right hand caused by a stroke. By the time of his death at the age of seventy-five his entire right side was paralyzed.


Writer Gunter W. Kienast (The Medals of Karl Goetz [1967, reprinted 1980], and later Goetz II: a supplement to The Medals of Karl Goetz [1986]) chronicled some 784 different medallic works of Karl Goetz, including 175 with satirical themes. Many of the non-satirical medals were created as commemoratives of significant events in his personal life or the lives of his friends and acquaintances, or to commemorate the birth or life of a famous personage.


Goetz received many awards and recognitions during his lifetime, including the Silver State Medal at Nuremburg (1906), the State Medal at Gent (1913), and posthumously, the Silver State Medal of the World Exposition in Madrid in 1951.