Portrait of Martin Luther, Lucas Cranach the Elder, around 1541


Discover some of the most outstanding items in our collection:

The collection of the Luther Memorials Foundation

Our collections of books, graphics, manuscripts, coins, medals and paintings of Martin Luther, the history of the Reformation and its reception offer unrivalled variety.

The collections trace their origin all the way back to 1693, when a memorial was established in Luther’s Birthplace in Eisleben. The collection of the Luther House in Wittenberg was created in preparation for its transformation into a museum in 1883.

A beginning was made with the collections of the Dean of Halberstadt Cathedral, Christian Friedrich Bernhardt Augustin, a gift from the Prussian King to the Luther House in Wittenberg in 1860, and a collection of prints from Karl Knaake, the initiator of the Weimar edition of Luther's works. The collection has been continuously expanded ever since.

Historical prints

The library keeps 16,000 volumes from the 15th to the 18th century, including 90% of the first editions of Luther's writings – of great significance are objects like Luther's main reformation writings from 1520, the so-called September Testament from 1522 and the first full Bible from 1534. Another special object is the sole surviving copy of the "Klugsches Gesangbuch" from 1533 worldwide.

14,600 dissertations from the 16th to the 18th century are also part of the collection. The Luther House's research library contains around 20,500 volumes. Both collections will be integrated into a new Research Library in 2017.


Approx. 7,000 letters and manuscripts related to the history of the Reformation, as well as manuscripts pertaining to the history of the University of Wittenberg, the history of German and European dynasties, and cultural history documents from the 11th to 20th centuries are now in the possession of the Luther Memorials Foundation. In addition to letters and manuscripts written in Luther’s own hand and by his contemporaries, the collection also includes official medieval documents and autographs from prominent individuals in subsequent centuries.


Luther portraits, depictions of Luther’s life, images of reformers, memorial sheets, caricatures and cityscapes account for most of the approx. 13,900 graphic artworks from the 15th to 21st centuries. Of particular value are the approx. 1,400 graphics from the 16th century, especially those of Lucas Cranach the Elder and Lucas Cranach the Younger.

Coins and medals

The Foundation’s numismatic collection ranges from the early years of the Reformation to modern commemorative medals. With 2,800 coins and medals, it is one of the largest collections for this field in the world.


The Foundation owns some outstanding Luther portraits by Lucas Cranach the Elder and his workshop, including a very early portrait of the reformer from 1520. Another particularly outstanding work is the panel of the Ten Commandments from 1516, which stems from the Cranach workshop. Some 300 paintings, primarily from the 16th to 19th centuries, are part of the collection.

Handicrafts and curios

Mementos, souvenirs, everyday objects, works of porcelain, furniture and many other objects related to Luther offer some idea of the full scope of Luther's reception.  Some of the most notable items in the collection are the ‘Luther relics’, furniture from the reformer’s household and everyday items from the 16th century.

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