Bürki, Konrad (*1953)

Konrad Bürki made a career as it was only possible during the post-war time and perhaps even only in Switzerland: after completing a banking apprenticeship at Aargauer Bank between 1971 and 1974, he joined the medium-sized business Bospi AG. This company was founded in 1973 by two German entrepreneurs to sell their products from the German firm STÜWA within Switzerland. These products were equipment for well-building and drilling. During an economically difficult phase in 1977, both founders completely handed over the management to their young employee. Bürki relocated the headquarters to his hometown of Murgenthal in 1978, and started to build up his own production in 1980.

For his selling, Konrad Bürki made the strategic decision to not only address well-established customers, but also to focus on firms that installed heat pumps, which were becoming popular at the time. Since the oil shock in the 1970s, many households in the western world were considering to use alternatives to traditional oil heating. Heat pumps established themselves and experienced a boom in the 1990s, and Bospi AG benefited from this development. Konrad Bürki was the beneficiary as he could take over company shares from the founder Günter Böckel in 1985 and then also from the founder Dieter Spielhoff in 1988.

Since the 1990s, up to 25 employees have been working at Bospi AG. For Konrad Bürki, it was important to involve his employees in the companies’ responsibilities. In 1998, he made the first mechanic, whom he had hired in 1980 and who had built up the company with him, his business partner. When Konrad Bürki decided to gradually withdraw from the day-to-day business in 2011, he found a wonderful successor for Bospi AG – the very same mechanic as well as a second employee from the sales department. “It has always been important to me to involve my employees in my success. This paid off in the long-term. In this way, I had the opportunity to withdraw from my business while leaving it in good hands,” says Konrad Bürki about the management buy-out. In 2023, the flourishing Bospi AG celebrated its 50th anniversary.

With his incremental retirement, Konrad Bürki regained enough free-time to revive a hobby which he was only able to pursue half-heartedly during his entrepreneurial commitments. Born with the collector gene, he started to become a coin collector as early as 1968, during the silver boom. Owing to the conversion of the Swiss circulation silver money to cupronickel, many Swiss people were interested in coins back then. They systematically searched their small change for these silver coins, so that they could hoard them. Konrad Bürki even went one step further: he borrowed money from his mother to buy coin rolls at the local post office, from which he then picked out rare and interesting years. He exchanged the coins he did not want for cash at the post office. Unlike most collectors of circulation money, he decided to become a strategic coin collector. At the end of the 1970s, he developed a preference for cantonal coins from Bern.

The success of his Bospi AG allowed him to spend more money on increasingly rare coins in the 1990s. During this time, he was able to acquire great rarities from his two major fields of interest – the Helvetian Republic and cantonal coins. Konrad Bürki is very proud of the fact that today there are only 15 pieces missing in his collection from the period between the Helvetian Republic to the onset of the Swiss federal state in 1848.

Later, he added coins of the old Swiss Confederation. Konrad Bürki was not only able to acquire important individual pieces from renowned collections, but also to partly take over entire collections. He decided to sell his own collection when it started to become ever more difficult to fill the increasingly smaller gaps. “It is no fun having to wait months on end to be able to buy a single coin,” says Konrad Bürki. Instead, he now wants to pass on the pleasure he had when buying his pieces to other collectors. And he wants to see this pleasure! Konrad Bürki says: “It is important to me that the auctions that offers my collection will take place in-person and not just on the internet without an audience to watch. Conversely, the hammer prices my coins will fetch are not so important to me. But I do want to see how collectors take pleasure when getting their hands on a rare coin that they have been wanting to buy for a long time.” Konrad Bürki is not planning to stop collecting after the sale. He says: “I was born a collector, and I will pass away a collector.” Thus, it will be exciting to see what field of interest he will discover after the sale of his Swiss coins.

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