Significant collections of foreign minerals and rocks were purchased by the National Museum of Victoria between 1857 and 1868, from the dealership of Dr August Krantz in Bonn, Germany.
A total of 36 separate purchases recorded during that period contain approximately 6500 specimens. Between 1872 and 1899 the Industrial and Technological Museum purchased seven collections of minerals, rocks and crystal models from Krantz, containing about 1060 specimens. The National Museum made three more small purchases from Dr F. Krantz between 1909 and 1912.
Krantz specimens are also represented in the pre-1866 Mines Department collections, while a significant suite was purchased for the early collections of the University of Melbourne. These collections now underpin Museum Victoria’s historical foreign holdings in mineralogy. While there is a degree of duplication, much of the Krantz material could not be collected nowadays, as many of the classical mineral deposits are exhausted or mines closed.
While many specimens in these collections have been tracked to Krantz, considerable work remains to be done to tie individual specimens to specific accession lots. A coding system and a guide to Krantz labels have been prepared to assist this process.
Krantz rock specimens are invariably of beautifully prepared fresh material. Each sample is trimmed to a rectangular outline with slightly bevelled edges, a shaping process now known as ‘krantzing’. The labelling system is the same as for the minerals.
The Krantz collections are not stored as discreet units but are spread through the systematic collections of minerals and rocks. Specimen lists are available for some of the accession lots.
The great significance of the Krantz collections is that they are provide the museum’s holdings with a strong link to the origins of classical mineralogy in 19th-century Europe.
Many of the classic rock and mineral localities producing at that time have been collected out, major mines and quarries closed, and exposures weathered or covered, so that it would be impossible to assemble these suites today.