Glückselig, J. & Sohn, Antiquitätenhandlung

Antiquitätenhandlung J. Glückselig & Sohn


other names: L. Glückselig (1870–1900)

In 1870 Joseph Glückselig (1845–1934) opened a small junk shop L. Glückselig at Margarethenstraße 45 in Vienna's 4th district. It was owned by Joseph's wife Louise Glückselig, née Weiss. For thirty years, Joseph Glückselig managed the shop until it was transformed at the turn of the century with his eldest son Samuel (1873–deported 1942) into Antiquitätenhandlung J. Glückselig & Sohn. At the same time, the company moved to Himmelpfortgasse 3 in the more exclusive 1st district of Vienna. In January 1911 the 66-year-old Joseph Glückselig retired as a partner and was replaced by his 30-year-old son Maximilian Glückselig (1881–1952). The two brothers managed the antiques dealership thereafter, with Samuel Glückselig having a 55 per cent holding and Maximilian 45 per cent. Apart from classic antiques, the brothers organized their first recorded auction together with Alfred Wawra, owner of Kunsthandlung C. J. Wawra in January 1912. A year later the business of Maximilian and Samuel Glückselig moved to Stallburggasse 2, close to the Dorotheum, where the company remained until 1933 with the brothers as partners and proprietors. In May 1917, during the First World War, the company held a second auction, again in cooperation with Alfred Wawra.  Because of their interest in auctions, the brothers founded Auktionshaus für Altertümer Glückselig & Wärndorfer GmbH in 1919 together with the Viennese businessman August Wärndorfer, but the antiques shop remained an important source of revenue. The brothers acquired an international reputation towards the end of the 1920s in particular through the sale of the sacral and profane Guelph Treasure. Maximilian Glückselig travelled to the USA on behalf of Duke Ernst August of Braunschweig in that connection.

In 1934, Samuel and Maximilian Glückselig moved the antiques dealership to Krugerstraße 10 in the 1st district and then in 1938 to Weihburggasse 27. After the annexation of Austria to the German Reich in March 1938, the Glückselig brothers were persecuted by the Nazis because of their Jewish origins. In December 1938 Josef Feistauer, head of the local NSDAP section in Maria Enzersdorf, became temporary administrator of J. Glückselig & Sohn by order of Prüfstelle der kommissarischen Verwalter (temporary administrator inspectorate), which was directly answerable to the Staatskommissar für die Privatwirtschaft (State Commissar for Private Industry) Walter Rafelsberger. Feistauer soon resigned from this position, however, because of the lack of profitability. The inspectorate than passed the authorization to the painter and illustrator Alois Lirsch, who was ordered to liquidate the company by the temporary administrator inspectorate in February 1939. The auction house was forced to shut down as a result, since the antiques dealership no longer existed as sole partner. The Glückselig brothers had already had their licence to hold auctions withdrawn in September 1939 and the right to deal in antiques in October 1940. The auction house was officially deleted from the register of companies in April 1941. Some of the inventory might have been auctioned by Adolf Weinmüller's auction house in Vienna in March and December 1939.

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Publications by the person / institution

Kunsthandlung C. J. Wawra/Antiquitätenhandlung J. Glückselig & Sohn (Hg.), Versteigerung einer kleinen, wertvollen Sammlung von Ölgemälden, Aquarellen, alten Kupferstichen, Miniaturen und Antiquitäten aus Wiener gräflichem Besitz (= 224. Kunstauktion von C. J. Wawra), Wien 1912 [Auktion 24.-25.1.1912], URL:

Kunsthandlung C. J. Wawra/Antiquitätenhandlung J. Glückselig & Sohn (Hg.), Versteigerung von Gemälden moderner und alter Meister, Miniaturen und Antiquitäten aus altadeligem und Wiener Privatbesitz (= 242. Kunstauktion von C. J. Wawra), Wien 1917 [Auktion 1.5.1917 u. folgende Tage], URL:


Leo Baeck Institute. Center for Jewish History, Leo Glueckselig Collection,1900s–2003 (2009),, Stand 1.9.2017.

OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, St 10320, K. 739, Glückselig, J.

WStLA, Historische Wiener Meldeunterlagen, Meldeauskunft Alois Lirsch.