'The day book entry of 29 April 1901 acknowledges the arrival of 10 Benin objects (RV-1286-1 to -10) that were ‘Bought from J.F.G. Umlauff in Hamburg. [...]'. Later that year on 3 July 1901 Umlauff sold 7 objects (RV-1310-1 to -7) to the museum. And the year after between 17 April and 2 May 1902 another 5 objects were acquired (RV-1355-1 to -5).'
'On 8 March Umlauff writes to Schmeltz that he has received some ‘Beninsachen’ (Benin things). On 11 April he elaborates on the available collection and gives description and numbers for the pieces on offer. Between 17 April and 2 May 1902, two combs, a mace, a rattle staff and a ceremonial sword (RV-1355-1 to -5) are finally purchased for 250 Mark (NL-LdnRMV-A1-37-405/406 to -409/410, -411 to -413) as also becomes clear from the day book of April 1902: ‘Bought from J.F.G. Umlauff in Hamburg, five items from Benin. See his invoice of 17 April last.’ The museum register contains a list with short descriptions of the objects (MR-L: NL-LdnRMV_A03_051_0005).'
'As with the acquisition of the Webster collection, Schmeltz again needed to secure funds. He first accepted the objects as a loan before acquiring them officially. The annual report documents the acquired series in detail and includes the names of all the donors for the acquisition (AR-L 1900-1901: 15). The annual report of the following year confirms the earlier statement saying that ‘The collections from the Kingdom of Benin were expanded in the much-desired way, first of all through a gift, for which we owe thanks to an anonymous benefactor, for objects that were up till now on loan to the Museum.’ The objects range across the three Umlauff series (RV-1286, RV-1310, RV-1355).'
(Excerpt based on Provenance no.2 'The Benin Collections at the National Museum of World Cultures' written by Rosalie Hans with Annette Schmidt, 13-01-2021).