John Lembcke (1873-?) originally came from Mecklenburg and was a Hamburg merchant. He worked as an agent for the trading company L. Pagenstecher & Co. in southern Nigeria. The company maintained several branches in Cameroon and Nigeria and traded raw rubber, among other things.Lembcke was probably employed at a branch of the firm in Warri, from where he went to nearby Benin City. There, he found objects which he eventually brought to Hamburg. Between 1899 and 1905, he sold 40 objects from the Kingdom of Benin to the museum.