Philipp von Ferrary - an eccentric offspring from an aristocratic family who rolled in money and loved Steinbach.
Here's something hardly anybody knows: Phillip von Ferrary owned the world's largest stamp collection. He was a great supporter of Steinbach and was even buried here.
Phillip von Ferrary did not only own the world's largest stamp collection. He also loved the Southern Lake Attersee. After he died, the communities Unterach and Steinbach inherited considerable portions of his wealth. Unfortunately, the depreciation of money towards the end of the war put and end to the dreams of the wealthy communities.
The story of the eccentric aristocrat is so remarkable, that it seemed worth an entry into the AtterWiki regional database.
Philippe de Ferrari, Duke of Galliera, his original name, was an offspring of a noble Italian family which moved from Genoa to Paris and accumulated great wealth through railroad projects and a participation in the Suez Canal.
Being an only son, Phillipp von Ferrary, the name he preferred for himself, inherited the estate when his mother died in 1888 and became the richest European of his time.
He was the product of an extramarital relationship his mother had with an Austrian officer. Finding out about this had a great impact on his life. He renounced on all his aristocratic titles and led an eccentric life, revolving around his wish to possess the world's largest stamp collection.
Since his mother knew the mother of Emperor Franz Joseph, Philipp also came to Bad Ischl and then to Lake Attersee, where he often stayed at the Hotel Post in Weißenbach. In Steinbach, he was known for throwing money to children. Even today, his support for the Southern part of Lake Attersee remains visible. He had a villa built for the Viennese stamp trader Fridel, known today as the estate of the Ferrero family. He enlarged the elementary school of Steinbach and had a chapel built in Burgau, where he originally wished to be buried. Philip himself avoided all luxury, wore old clothes and tried to blend into the village.
Since he had become Austrian citizen, he had to leave France at the beginning of the First World War and had to leave his beloved stamp collection at the family residence Hôtel Matignon (which is the seat of the French Prime Minister today). He died in Lausanne on Lake Geneva in 1917 and was buried on the Steinbach cemetary in accordance with his will. Phillipp was homosexual and adopted the name of his partner, Arnold. His grave on the cemetary in Steinbach indicated this name: Philip Arnold. The grave is no longer there but a memorial plaque on the church wall commemorates him.
Source: Tipps Vöcklabruck, Wednesday 26 January 2011
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