The coin that is currently used in Germany is the Euro. However, the adoption of this coin by the Germans brought a lot of discussion, since, the mark was a very loved coin. It was the sign of the economic recovery of Germany after the Second World War, and an identity symbol for the German nation.
This mark strong symbolism, along with its previous stability produced a curious phenomenon after the economic crisis that is hitting Europe since 2008. It is true that Germany was always one of the main pillars of the Euro, is not showing a lot of enthusiasm for the Euro: there is more and more Germans every year thinking that it would be good for their country to get out of the Euro zone and go back to the German mark. But leaving aside the political aspects lets just focus on the thing that is most important to us, coins.
The German mark (in German: Deutsche Mark) was the official coin of Occidental Germany (1948-1990) and of Germany (1990-2002) until the Euro adoption in 2002.
The mark took over the Reichsmark on the 20 of June of 1948, in Occidental Germany, the official coin of the Third Reich, very wanted by coin collectors and 2nd world war objects collectors. On the other hand, in the Soviet Germany, the GDR mark or Ostmark was used and the Deutsche Mark did not started circulating until the Reunification of both germanies.
Since the end of 1998, just when Germany was about to get in the Euro, the mint tests started for the German pieces and in 1999 the real minting of the German coins started. Besides this, the German coins that were minted between 1999 and 2001, have a date of 2002 since that was the actual gear when they actually started circulating. The German mark circulated at the same time as the new coin until the 28 of February of that year.
The designs used for the mint of the German coins have preserved the traditional designs used by previous coins. So, for the coins of 1, 2 and 5 cents the Design of Rolf Lederbogen was used. It represents a an oak leaf, sign of German national integrity since the XIX century. Design that is very similar to the one used in the Pfenning, the equivalent coin on the Mark to a Euro cent.
The ones with 10, 20 and 50 cents show a work from Reinhard Heinsdorff and they show the Brandenburg Gate, sign of the German Reunification.
This has been a very important symbol in the German politics tradition since more than 500 years, using several times in theirs coin mintage. A different design of this eagle was also used in the previous marks.
However this will not be the final design of the Euro German coin. Since year 2008, when the European Commission dictated the new directions for the obverse designs of the Euro coins, Germany must change its designs since they do not show neither the country name nor an acronym of it. The German state, has not changed its designs yet, but it has up until 2062 to do that. However in the 2 Euro commemorative coins Germany started writing down the country name represented by an uppercase «D» (for «Deutschland») in order to follow the new rules. Most probably a similar action will be taken with the circulating coins, although there is no exact date for the change.
German Coin Mints
Most of the countries only have one place for coin minting, but in Germany there are five, having 5 different mints per year that are only different by one uppercase letter that is shown near the date or under it. The different mint houses correspond to the following letters:
- A: Staatliche Münze Berlin Berlín
- D: Bayerisches Hauptmünzamt Múnich
- F: Staatliche Münzen Baden-Württemberg Prägestätte Stuttgart Stuttgart
- G: Staatliche Münzen Baden-Württemberg Prägestätte Karlsruhe Karlsruhe
- J: Hamburgische Münze Hamburgo
At first sight it looks like the letters were selected randomly, but the truth is that, following the German organized nature, they were allocated following the opening year of each mint house. The missing letters correspond to mints that are not operative any more.
- B: Vienna: used by the Hanover mint house (1871-1878), and later the Vienna one (1938-1945), along the Autriac union during the Third Reich
- C: Frankfurt: belonged to the mint of Frankfurt (1872-1879)
- E: Muldenhütten: first it belonged to the mint located in Dresde (1872-1887) and then to the town of Muldenhütten (1887-1953)
- H: Darmstadt: Last mint to get opened, it was only functional along 10 years (1872-1882).
- K: Strasbourg: It was going to be used for the Strasbourg mint, but it actually never produced any coin. In fact, it did not even got build.
But Germany, in the same way that all the countries in the Union has not only being minting regular Euro coins, it has also minted bullion coins. For the silver mint the German mints selected the 10 Euro value, following the previous tradition of commemorative coins, that were of 10 marks value. On the other hand for the gold minted ones the 20, 100 and 200 Euro values are used.
These silver commemorative coins are minted since the Euro instauration as a unique European coin, so the first ones came out along the year 2002. In contrast with the 2 Euro commemorative coins, and with very few exceptions each German mint produce their own coins.
The first mints of these coins could be acquired at facial value, this is at 10 Euro at the same mint house. However, since 2011 German mints have also started minting 10 Euro coins also in a copper-nickel alloy, since the silver reached some high values in the market making the 10 Euro silver coin not viable a facial value. This way there are some commemorative 10 Euro coins that can be obtained in silver or in this other alloy that makes them so much cheaper. In order to avoid confusion between the coins of one or another metal, the ones in silver will be modified so they show the word ” SILVER 625 “
There are a lot of facts commemorated by this kind of German coins, this way there are more than 80 different designs. So here we will go through some of the ones minted in the years 2014 and 2013:
In 2012 Germany started minting a set of 10 Euro coins dedicated the Grimm Brothers. This set will have six coins, releasing one per year that will end up in 2017. The 2014 coin that we show down here, will be dedicated to the famous story of Hansel and Gretel.
Another of the 10 Euro coins that Germany minted in 2014, is the one dedicated to the “150 anniversary of Richard Strauss birth”. The design is a work of Erich Ott. The bust of the German composer is shown in the obverse of the coin.
Another one of the birth commemorations last 2014 was the “250 anniversary of the birth of Johann Gottfried Schadow”. Famous sculptor and German graphic artist. This coin’s design is a work by Bodo Broschat. The most significant detail of the coin is the edge inscription: "LUJURIA Wir haben KÜNSTLER NUR ZU UNSERER Arbeit", which means “we, the artists only have fun in our job”.
The last of the 2014 coins that we will show here s the one dedicated to the “600 years of the del Concilio de Constanza”. Ecumenical council of the catholic church, held 30 of October of 1413 which main objectives were to end up with the Three-Popes Controversy, and study about the reform of church. The design is done by Katrin Pannicke.
Among the coins minted along 2013, the most noted one is the one dedicated to the “150 years of the Red Cross”, also commemorated by other countries in the mint of their coins. In the edge of the coin you can read: “aus liebe zum menschen” wich means “for the love of the people”.