Big Nub Numismatics's Blog

16 Jul 2018

Coinage of the German Empire-Part 1

Coins-World | Big Nub Numismatics

  Germany has a history no other country can compare with. For good, and bad. World War one and two, the treaty of Versailles, and during the cold war, East and West Germany. Along with Germany's history to dominate on the world scale, it's coinage is far from dominating, or is it?
     Before Germany became united as a whole country in 1873, the coinage that circulated was quite famous if you have ever read the first two sentences of every coin book about United States dollars. The Thaler, or in German, vereinsthaler, was the only full circulating coins of the German history, though the small clans minted their own coins to be used to buy their goods. It contained 16 and two thirds grams of silver. This currency was based not on silver, but of gold oddly enough. The ultimate gold standard. At this point in time the conversion ratio between mark to Thaler was 3 marks to one Thaler.
          With the birth of a new Germany in the 1870's after being small parts of clans in a whole, un-united country, the new German nation minted its first coin in 1873.  The Goldmark was the note of that time, and it became known as Papiermark. The currency and coins became very stable until the war to end all wars. During this might war, German, and many other countries began to inflate their currencies by printing without stopping, the Deutsch Mark was steady inflating, and it grew worse after World War One. In the aftermath of World war one, the countries occupying Germany were empty of ideas for the reformation of their nation's currency. This monetary problem continued to worsen as the German's wanted a treaty. Each part of Germany had a different nation occupying it, and each part had a different currency to use as well. Each countries printed their own occupation currency, although the U.S. was forbade to meddle in the financial situation of the fallen German Empire. It seemed as though it could not get any worse, and the the Treaty of Versailles was signed.
       This famous treaty denied Germany any chance of regaining footing on the powers of old. Unable to protect itself, for the treaty made it impossible for them to create an army of more than allowed. This once great nation was destroyed. It also gave Germany to repay all debts owed to them from the war. They had to pay everyone what they spent to fight, and this allowed for Hitler to take over. During the late 1920's, The United States fell into an economic depression, the worst one of all time. They called on Germany for their financial debts, and Germany was forced to pay. Chaos ensued as one of the worst  cases of hyperinflation in the world occurred. Many people burned their money in their homes to provide warmth and protection, as it cost 300,000 marks to buy a loaf of bread. I have some German stamps from this era, and it amazes me how the scale goes from 300 marks, to 500 millionen marks in just a few weeks. The U.S. was fixed, but the Wehrmacht Republic had its last stand, and the German citizens wanted a change. Adolf Hitler promised it, and delivered it, in more ways than one providing the most potent of all occupying currency.




Level 6

Interesting. Thanks for the research...


Level 6

I think Krause published a guidebook on German coins, big as a phone book!


Level 5

The Krause book is tough (expensive) to come by now. I wish they would update and reissue it.

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