Coinage began with Charlemagne and continued more or less uninterrupted until 1801. Pretty much all pds except late dates of the copper 12 hellers, and they're reasonably common in low grade. 18th century small silvers are occasional oats, but larger silver and gold doesn't appear. I've never seen any high grade Aachen material.
Never seen any.
The duchy of Anhalt was ruled by an offshoot of the House of Saxony. Rare bracteates issued 12th century. Ducal coins of Bernberg issued from the 17th century. Odd examples of any 16-18th century denomination are occasional oats. Bear coins are popular and not all that easy to find, thus I feel that the cheap 18th and early 19th century bear coppers are underpriced in the catalog. Same is true of the Zollverein coinage of 1839-67, not so common. Gold is rare.
Difficult or impossible outside of Germany?
The line emerged at the start of the 17th century. Same comments as A-Bernburg above, except that A-Cothen coins are at least twice as scarce.
This is the culmination of the Anhalt line. 19th century thaler denominations are pds.
Well, I've actually had some coppers, and actually in nice condition. Oh, never mind. The coins are all pds, worth every penny you have to pay for them.
Never had any.
Charlemagne coined there. The bishops began striking 10th c. continuing through 1775. Free City coinage began 16th c. Augsburg is a popular location and its coinage gets a premium for that reason All Ausburg money is pds. I've seen a lot (3 or 4) of the thalers with various types of "problems" such as mount marks, tooled fields, gilding, and the dealers always want an arm and a leg for them anyway.
The Baden line got started 12th c. The Baden and Durlach lines separated in the 17th. They were united in 1771 under a Durlach and remained so until the last of the line was expelled after World War I. First coins are 14th century hellers. The output at Baden-Baden was rather modest through the early 18th century, and all coins are scarce.
The Durlachs struck their first coins in the 16th c., and these are as scarce as their Baden-Baden counterparts. By the 18th century however the Durlachs had a better economy going, and there are a lot more coins available for us to buy. They don't really get common until the next century, but you can probably find some if you look while a similar search for Baden-Badens will come up empty.
What is described in the SCWC as "United Baden Line" is just the Durlachs after they obtained Baden-Baden. Copper and billon small coins are common and turn up all the time in all grades up to AU for the copper and BU for the billon. Big silver and gold are expensive, but they're worth it, because they're rare.
First coins 11th c. Early medieval coinage is slightly more common than many other mints. Low grade 18th century coppers do occur, but silver and gold are pds.
The second most common state after Prussia. All ages and all values of Bavarian coins are a lot more common than contemporary issues of most other states. They show up in high grade back into the 17th century. Low grade 18th century thalers are easy to buy (and hard to sell). There is that large series of commemoratives, some of which are available. Bavarian gold too is more common, if not necessarily cheaper, than that of it's contemporaries.
Bentheim had its own coinage from the 14th century. Rheda in Tecklenburg had a municipal coinage in the 17th century. Both series are pds, as are the united coins of the 18th century.
All very scarce, including the low priced coppers.
BIBERACH, BIRKENFELD, BOCHOLT
First coins were bracteates, pds today. Later hohlpfennig bracteates from Salzwedel have been available. In the 16-17th centuries the Brandenburg Margraves were under the cultural and economic influence of Poland at the height of its glory, and its coinage has both a Polish look to it and a Polish type of availability and price structure. Groschens, half schillings, etc. are common and make up a large part of the coins in the market. B-Ansbach was granted to a Brandenburg younger son in 1603. The normal range of coins was struck in billon, silver and gold, and all are either oat or pds.
First coins in the 17th century, line extinct 1769. Availability as B-Ansbach, but less oat, more pds.
These are the coins issued by Prussia during the Napoleonic period. I don't think they're common.
Hitler's birthplace (to add to the price pressure). Coins are rare.
First church coins 9th c., continuing until the Reformation when the archbishop was expelled. The city coinage dates from the 14th century: wittens and so forth. It's a somewhat available oat location, which is good because people like the key on the escutcheon. Silver coins in nice condition (and gold of course) are pds.
Coppers are scarcish oats, silvers are pds.
Though still oats, the coins are easier to find in general than most other states. The three main types: wildman, St. Andrew, and the leaping horse are all very popular, but enough are around to keep prices reasonable. Even the gold is more common.
Same comments but more so. I'd say the 19th century coppers verge on common.
BUCHHORN, CLEVES, COESFELD
Of course the Romans coined here, and from that time through the 17th c.Cologne money is among the most frequently found of the coins of Germany proper. First the archbishops and later the city fathers did good business and supported large issues of trade coinage. Low grade is the rule, these coins went places. I actually find that 15-17th c. coins are easier than the 18th c. stuff. That makes sense, as by that time the city's golden age was past. The Free City issued what I think is the last bracteate hohlpfennig in 1792 (KM-445 and pds).
Pds, but as with cologne, 16-17th c. material is somewhat more available.
Never seen one.
About the same as Constance, no, about 30% better.
A very long history as a minor ecclesiastic mint. All coins pds.
ELLWANGEN, EMDEN, ERBACH, ERFURT, ESSEN, ESSLINGEN, FRANCONIAN CIRCLE
Coins were struck by the Carolingians. City coinage began in the 14th c., continuous until 1866, when the city was taken by Prussia. Early coins are not so easy to find. From the 17th c. the coins become increasingly common. Kreuzers of the late 18th c. are reasonably available. So are the early 19th c. coppers and the thalers and double thalers of the 1860s. The so-called "Jew pfennigs" can also be found. (Everyone knows these were general use tokens and not an ethnic thing, right?)
Gold coins too are findable.
FRIEBERG, FREISING, FRIEDBERG, FUGGER
One actually does find Fuldan coins on occasion. The most common are scarce oat coins.
18th century coppers are occasionally found. Billons are pds.
First coins in 11th c. All coins are pds.
HALLE (in Swabia)
First coinage in 12th c. . The medieval "handelshellers" are far more common than any later coinage. 18th c. issues are pds.
One of the most common locations. You will find hohlpfennig bracteates of the 13-14th c. through the schillings of the 17th c., all the way up to unification. Some hoards of 19th c. small billons have come to the market in AU-Unc. Large silvers are oats. Gold is pds.
Several times in the last decade modest hoards of 17th c. groschens in nice grade have come on the market. Later material is pds.
City coins of the 14-17th c. are pds. Served as a mint for Brunswick coinage 18th c. (oat). 19th c. coins are more available and among them are some (late coppers, etc.) which are quite common. Some high grade pieces have hit the market in recent years.
Issued rare medallic commemoratives only.
The Henneberg counts and their successors struck coins over a long period. The chicken being a popular motif the coins are in demand. Too bad they're all pds.
First Hessian coins (pds) in 13th c. The Hesse line split in 1567. Late 18-19th c Hesse-Cassel small coins are reasonably available, though low grade is the rule. Silver coins are oats or pds.
The Darmstadt line was richer and struck more coins than the Cassel line, so all types are more common. Hesse-Homburg issues are all pds.
First church coins 10th c. First municipal coins in 15th. Nothing from Hildesheim is common, but you can usually find something within a couple of months of starting your search.
All the various permutations of this family's coinage are pds. All were issued as demonstrations of the mint right and circulated only incidentally.
The Hohenzollern line branched in the 13th century. The Hechingen and Siegmaringen lines went out of business in 1849. The other line went on to become the kings of Prussia. All coins are pds.
First coins in 17th c. Pds.
Location listed in Schon. Pds.
First coins in 10th c. All pds.
First coins in late 13th c., continuing sporadically until the 17th c. All the early stuff is pds. 18th c. ¬ stubers are fairly common in low grade (and often corroded). Silver and gold is all pds.
KAUFBEUREN, KEMPTEN, KNYPHAUSEN, KOENIGSEGG, LANDAU, LAUENBURG, LEININGEN
LEITMERITZ, LEUTKIRCH, LINDAU
All from the Schon catalog. The first two issued medallic gold. Lindau was a Free City and issued coins until 1712. All very pds.
First coins in 13th c. A somewhat scarce location. Most common coins are 19th c. coppers in low grade.
Pds. I've had one Rochefort coin in my life.
Church coinage began in the 12th c. and continued sporadically until 1775. All pds. The Free City was an economic powerhouse from the 12th century. Lubeck hohlpfennig bracteates are among the more common types. Availability of Lubeck coinage is almost on a par with that of Cologne through the end of the 17th c. 18th c. types are somewhat scarcer.
First coins struck by Charlemagne. Ecclesiastic coins continued in an unbroken series to the end of the 18th c. The archbishops spent some money on their engravers so the artistic level was often high. Odd examples are not impossible to find, but they're popular and expensive.
Siege coins of 1793 are available but always come in bad condition.
MANDERSCHEID (ex Schon), MANSFELD
First coins are 12th c. bracteates (pds). All the early stuff is pds. The line split in 1701. The 18-19th c. small coins are reasonably available, with high grades not unheard of. Silver coins are much more difficult, and high grades are pds. Gold is rare.
Availability is more or less equivalent to the Schwerin coins, maybe a bit tougher, with not much in high grade..
First coins are 11th c. (pds). Coinage remains pds until the 17th c., billons of which period are mere oats. Many of the 18th c. copper and billon types are available in low grade, with the "Cathedral Coinage" probably most common. The big stuff is rare.
First coins in 12th c. Dynastic history is very involved, with many hyphenated territorial groupings. Taken as a whole Nassau coins are part of, let us say, the second tier of availability (Prussia and Bavaria being the first). That is to say there are quite a few oats.
Or Nuremburg if you will. First coins in 13th c. The medieval stuff is pds. Odd oat coins of 16-18th c. Nuremberg occur with some regularity. The town is famous for its city view coins and the "lamb of God" type fractional gold. Examples of both of these popular types are fairly readily available.
Coinage more or less continuous from the 14th c. Medieval stuff is pds. I haven't noticed a whole lot of 18-19th c. material either, and most or all of it was in low grade.
Episcopal coins from the 9th c. , All medieval are pds in my opinion. The city used an interesting set of countermarks in the 17th c., and these, along with the 18th c. coppers, are oats.
Coins of the various lines of the Palatinate date from the 10th c. A few of the 18th c. small coins and thalers are rather scarce oats. Everything else is pds.
Before 1701 this was Brandenburg. Prussian coins in general are by far the most common of the "States" coins. This is true at all levels from pfennigs through gold. The money circulated broadly and average grade encountered is low. This is especially true for the 18th c. Later 19th c. material is obtainable in top condition. Prussian coins are so common that they used to be hard to sell. No more. Now they sell like any other State, which is to say, very well indeed.
Church coinage from the 10th c., city coinage from the 13th. Medieval coins through the 18th c. can be found as oats. The coins are popular. People like the keys.
Another Schon entry of the early 18th c., pds of course.
The Reuss (or "Russian") line got started in the 11th c. with earliest coins in the 12th. All the early stuff is scarce. All the rulers of all of the various branches were cutely named Heinrich, and the numbers they bore were not necessarily consecutive. It's extremely confusing. Later small coins are oats rather than pds for this line.
REUSS-EBERSDORF, REUSS-GERA, REUSS-LOBENSTEIN, REUSS-LOBENSTEIN-EBERSDORF
Despite some low catalog values I'd say they're all pds.
A bit more available than the immediately preceding, but still... pds.
RHENISH CONFEDERATION, RIETBERG
First city coins in the 14th c. From the 17th c. the small coins are scarcish oats. High grades are rare.
ST. ALBAN, SALM
Most of the subsidiary Saxon lines issued coins in moderately large quantities. The small coins of this one are reasonably common, but the big coins are pds.
Not as common.
Availability is midway between the preceding and the one before.
Small coins of these 18th c. configurations are oats, usually found in low grade. Larger silvers are pds.
Availability on a par with Saxe-Eisenach, maybe a bit better.
Coinage dates from the 17th c. This is one of the common locations, with later coppers available in high grade.
Another fairly common location for small coins. A number of Schön-listed 18th c. gold types are unlisted in the Standard Catalog.
This short lived line issued a number of KM-unlisted klippe style square thalers in the late 17th and early 18th c., as well as some nice looking gold. All are rare.
The dukes of Saxony contributed emperors and kings of Germany in the middle ages. Many mints were active within their realms, and many types were struck. The large output has led to a large survival rate. Saxon coins are among the more commonly found pieces of the 12-15th c. The good availability hold ups through the 17-18th c. Large silver of this period is, with Bavarian and Prussian types, among the most common of the States. 19th c. small coins are common. Considering their value, the large silver and gold are too.
Coins of the former are all pds. The latter county was erected in 1623 and was eliminated in 1715. Two rare coins are listed by Schon.
Earliest coins of Schaumberg proper date from the 16th c. The county was divided in 1640. The Hessian government granted its portion copper pfennigs from 1769 to 1832. Because of the unusual escutcheon the coins are popular. But they are oats, and usually low grade.
The Lippes took some pride in their part of Schaumburg and struck a full range of coins from pfennig to gold. Small coins are oats. Large coins are pds.
The Holsteins were established as a powerful line of counts in the 12th c. The first wittens were made within their realm. The duchy of Schleswig lay between the Holstein lands and Denmark, and was for centuries contested by its two larger neighbors. Currently Germany is the victor. We should probably call the place Holstein-Schleswig. Basically I think that all the Holstein-Schleswig groupings are scarce. I've had a few, low grade and hard to sell because of that. But only a few.
The Schwarzburgs go back to the 8th c. They struck bracteates in the 12th, and the normal range of coins through the ages. All the early stuff is pds. In 1552 the line formed three branches: Arnstadt, Rudolstadt, and Sonderhausen. All sruck coins. Arnstadt went extinct in 1716, and all coins are rare. Rudolstadt is much more available but still not that common. Sonderhausen coins are the same except for the last copper small coins. These are oats and can be found in high grade.
Second is the Bavarian city listed in Schon. Both Pds.
Most of this territory is now in Poland and Czechoslovakia. The Habsburgs struck there until 1740, then the Prussians. I have noticed a steady stream of Habsburg small coins wandering through my inventory, all low grade. Prussian coins are scarcer and usually look worse. Big coins are pds.
Schon lists earlier Wurttemberg type coins for this place, which he calls Wurttemberg-Oels-Bernstadt. All pds.
Latter has coppers listed in Schon. All Pds.
The Solms date from the 12th c. Their mint right was granted in the 16th. 17th c. small coins of Solms-Lich are around. The 18th c. Laubach coins are all rare and have the look of "pieces de plaisir" for petty nobles.
Issued church and city coins from the 11-18th c, all pds.
Struck just a few rare types in 1705 and 1717.
The counts got started in the 13th c. Stolberg had silver mines, so output was good from the early bracteates through the thalers and on into the 19th c. The stag motif seems to strike some deep emotional chord in many people. The coins are intensely popular. I believe it's this factor, rather than scarcity, which accounts for their relatively higher catalog prices.
Coins since the 13th c., all pds.
Charlemagne struck there. Early medieval church coins are not totally impossible. Some 15-16th c. municipal issues are fairly common. Later coins are rather scarce. The city is now in France.
Schon has pictures of a few rare and beautiful gold klippes.
SWABIAN CIRCLE, TEUTONIC ORDER, THURN & TAXIS
Money was struck in this town from the 10th c. There are a lot of types. I've had a few of the petermengers, even a few in high (VF) grade. I still think they're all pds.
Earliest coins of the Waldeck counts are 13th c. bracteates. The line meandered through several territorial configurations. Pyrmont united with Waldeck in 1625. I know there are a few 19th c. coins with low catalog values, but my feeling is that they're all pds.
Schon lists four rare coins of this abbey dated 1705 and 1717.
WALLMODEN-GIMBORN, WERDEN & HELMSTADT
Double plus pds.
Everything relating to Napoleon is popular and this imperial concoction fits the pattern. Many of the coins are quite available, but grades tend to be abysmal.
The Wieds got started in the 11th c. but seem to have struck very few coins until the 18th c. The line split in 1698 into the Neuwied and Runkel branches. Both coined in the 18th c. I think all the coins are pds.
WISMAR, WOLFSTEIN, WORMS
The second is represented in Schon by rare gold, the third by 3 rare commemoratives. Pds.
One of the commoner states more or less on a par with Bavaria. Some late small coins in Unc are running around.
Actually Schon lists for the 18th c. W-Moempelgard, W-Oels-Bernstadt (KM = Silesia-Oels), and W-O-Juliusburg. I think this K-M designation is Schön's W-O-J, though the listings are different. All pds.
The bishops struck coins from the 11th c. You have a decent chance of finding a medieval coin. 17-18th c coins are oats rather than pds, though the grade usually leaves a lot to be desired.
At the beginning of the 19th century Prussia and Austria were the two dominant German states. Prussia's constant project was to kick the Habsburgs out of Germany proper and to unify Germany under Prussian administration.
Most of the preliminary work of unification was accomplished through annexation. By the 1860s Prussia had acquired some two thirds of the territory of modern Germany. The remaining states were reduced to sitting around waiting to see what Prussia would do next.
In 1862 a conflict over military funding arose between the Prussian War Ministry and the Diet. The king got involved and it looked for a while as if he might abdicate. Instead he threw caution to the winds and called Otto von Bismarck to head the government.
In 9 years Bismarck brought about unification in Germany. His primary method was skillful use of the army. He was a great man whose imprint is all over German culture. 1998 is the centennial of his death. Look for a coin.
The numismatic arrangements in the Imperium called for a national currency and minor coinage. Large silver and gold were reserved to the states, and 25 of them eventually made use of the privilege.
The Imperial or Kaiserreich series has become intensely popular these last couple of years. Ten years ago you could still find unsearched lots of lower grade pieces. No longer. Every decent Kaiserreich coin now has been looked at by someone else. It is just like USA coins.
Prices for high grade and key material have outstripped the SCWC listings for a many years now. There are plenty of dealers who make a big chunk of their money buying German here and selling it there. Buy at 70% of catalog, sell at 130%. Not too shabby. I know. I've done some of it myself.
My guide to the Kaiserreich coins is simple and straightforward. Use the SCWC for relative rarity. Use European "high standard" grading (our AU is their XF, our XF is their VF, if you can't see anything on the little shield on the eagle it's VG at best). Add 30% to the price in XF or higher, 50% for Unc. Anything over $100 should go in a German auction. Anything in VG or better is worth at least 25¢. There, now you know what your Kaiserreich coins are really worth.
Exceptions and notes. There are quantities of late marks and half marks in Unc. Dates are generally 1914 and '15 for the marks, 1917 and '18 for the halves, usually "A" mint, hardly ever "J." These can often be found for less than SCWC prices. Wartime zinc and iron coins are extremely rare in gem Unc. I think there is no date for which the "A" mint is not the most common by far.
On to the States. Everybody wants these, and high grades just fly right away. Unfortunately for Jane Q. Collector many of these coins are so rare as to be practically unobtainable.
There are 169 silver types and 125 gold issued by 22 princely holdings and 3 free cities. Of the silver probably 20 types are power coins, the kind that cost too much and all you can do is go "Ooooh." Probably 20 more are never seen. Most were issued to circulation, and are more often than not seen circulated.
Many of the gold coins are power items if not very rare. For some reason the gold series is plagued with high quality fakes of numerous types, mostly Prussian.
Proofs were made of more or less all dates by all mints. You see them occasionally. They're all scarce to rare.
STATE BY STATE
All scarce and rare
Most of the silver types are easy enough to find, usually circulated. Gold is pds.
Third most common state after Prussia and Württemberg. Even the gold is more available.
The silver is about as common as Bavaria. Gold is pds.
Pds. There are two low catalog pieces, the 1904 2 mark and the 1910 3 mark, but they're pds too.
Only struck 2 coins, both pds.
These are popular coins. Despite some low prices in the catalog, all pds.
Pds (both of them).
Ah yes. 9 out of 10 pieces are Prussian. Early issues can be tough, especially in nice grade. Late issues, especially the commemoratives, are plentiful in AU and easily available in Unc. These had been common enough to trade at big discounts a few years ago, but now their prices are fully inflated.
Both very pds.
Despite some cheap listings, demand has made them all pds.
A lot of fairly common coins and one doozy (Reformation 3 mark).
SCHAUMBURG-LIPPE, THE SCHWARTZBURGS
Both silver and gold are of equal availability with Bavarian coins, excluding a few outstanding rarities.
The major numismatic product of the First World War was notgeld. The dislocations of the time caused local shortages of small change which were made up by these local emergency issues. Notgeld was issued from 1914 to 1923. There are several hundred metal types, several thousand in paper, and an odd smattering made of exotic materials like coal and leather. Like all German material these are much less common than they used to be, but there are a lot of very common notgeld and an average circulated piece will still go for $2-3 after all these years.
The iron military coins of 1916 are fairly easy to find in rusty fine or so. I've never seen a perfect specimen, and I've never talked to anyone who had ever seen a proof.
There is also a large series of prison camp tokens. Collectors of these have recently been blessed by Lance Campbell's wonderful reference. Some of these tokens are quite reasonable (though the Austrian versions are, as usual, more reasonable).
By 1918 the war was lost. The Imperial government collapsed and the Kaiser fled the country. A Republic was established to preside over the mess.
The first coins of the new government were new dates of the old Imperial types. There is the iron 5 pfennig, 10 pfennig types in iron and zinc, and the 1919 « mark. The former are common enough as circulated types, but the silver coin is a lot scarcer than the catalogs indicate.
Also in 1919 the Republic began issue of the aluminum 50 pfennig series using the sheaf of wheat motif which was to become a Weimar standard. These coins are common enough that most will trade below catalog in Unc. They are among the few "Deutsches Reich" coins which can still be located in quantity.
The next coins were the aluminum inflation marks of 1922-23. These pieces, denominated 3, 200, and 500 marks, all have rare mints, but the common ones are very common, still turning up in junk boxes with some regularity.
At the end of 1923 a high value mark was forced on the public. Everyone's capital disappeared, never to return. This of course created a deep well of discontent which Hitler found himself able to use a few years later.
The new denomination was called the rentenmark (indicating its profitability in use) and was backed by gold. Renten coins were issued in 1923-24, though a few rare mules exist for 1925 and '29. Acquisition is not difficult by type, but top grades are elusive.
The tough type is the 50 rentenpfennig. This is not merely due to its inherent moderate scarcity, but also because it must stand duty in less well funded collections as a place holder for the practically unobtainable 50 reichspfennig which succeeded it.
Rentenmunzen was replaced by Reichsmunzen starting in 1924. The minor reichsmunzen types continued several years into the Nazi period. These coins are still found in junk boxes and often fill up several pages of dealers' browse-books. For each minor type there is at least one date which is much more common than the rest. AU types are easy. Gem uncirculated types can be found.
Silver coinage began in 1924 with 1 and 3 mark pieces. The marks are common enough in low grade, but the 3s are tough in any grade. Uncs of either are scarce.
The first "plain eagle" mark was replaced with the "eagle with legend" design in 1925, and a 2 mark was added to the circulation. The 2 is scarcer than the 1, but neither is too hard to find in grades up to XF-AU. Choice Uncs are scarce.
In 1927 the nickel 50 pfennig was introduced. This type persisted until 1938. It has some very common dates, but not as common as the SCWC indicates. I've never heard of anyone selling them for 25 or 50¢. If I get one with such a catalog price I mark it up to $2.00 and sell it right away.
A similar eagle was used on the obverse of the oaktree 5 mark, also introduced in 1927. These are not particularly common, and when they do appear their condition is usually unsatisfying.
Then in 1931 a regular issue 3 mark was introduced. These are scarce in circulated, rare in Unc.
Now what about those Weimar commemoratives? Are they really such a popular series, such a good deal, a great investment? Well, you have to admit it's a handsome, interesting series, worthy, I think, of a somewhat detailed discussion. And the short answer to the rhetorical questions posed above is "yes," but of course there are some caveats.
The most important "yes-but" is that for investment purposes the coins really have to be perfect. I mean perfect under a 20x lens. Don't bother with MS-59 for this series. Your investment coins have to be no-question-about-it perfect. These will be, to say the least, hard to find.
The next caveat is that investors should concentrate on perfect 5 marks rather than 3s, while the budget minded collector should go for the 3s. Availability differential between the 3s and the 5s are impressive, typically on the order of 5 or 10 to 1. Next time you go to a medium sized or larger show look around for these coins. You'll find lots (relatively speaking) of XF-AU 3 marks, maybe 1 or 2 5s.
Last caveat is that for each type struck at more than one place there is one overwhelmingly common mint, usually "A." The other mints, with a few exceptions (e.g. Zeppelin 3 marks), range from very tough to killer.
Let's breeze quickly through the types.
RHINELAND - "common" 3m, commonest 5m (but that's not saying much).
LUBECK - 3m only, and pds.
BREMERHAVEN - both the 3 and the 5m are scarce to begin with, and the ship motif increases the purchase pressure. Tough coins, and gems are pretty much auction-only items.
NORDHAUSEN, MARBURG - Reasonably available scarce coins.
TUBINGEN - The portrait on these coins is overwhelmingly evocative of the 17th century, and it's always showing up in the photo section of big auction catalogs. They are premium coins. You'll never find a cheap low grade example.
NAUMBURG - Scarce coin rarely seen better than AU+.
DURER - My analysis similar to Tubingen above. This coin perhaps generates a bit less excitement when it appears but it's just as scarce.
DINKELSBUHL - A rare coin, seldom seen.
LESSING - Circulated examples of these are about as common as the Rhineland coins, and not quite as popular. Scarce in Unc.
WALDECK-PRUSSIA - Available.
CONSTITUTION - One of the commonest of the Weimar commemoratives, and most likely to be found in Unc.
MEISSEN - The 3 mark is not particularly common and the 5 mark is scarce. Both are rare in Unc.
ZEPPELIN - 3 marks are very common in XF. 5 marks can be found (in Germany, most likely). Most Uncs are soft.
VON DER VOGELWEIDE - Circulated examples are common.
RHINELAND - Fairly common in circulated.
MAGDEBURG, VON STEIN - Both are tough.
GOETHE - 3 marks are scarce. 5 marks are the keys to the series. Investors: buy these coins in proof!
Someone dealing heavily in modern German coins told
me recently that over there they estimate that one in 5 people is going
through their pocket change to complete their booklets and a lot of them
will go on into a coin shop and buy something fairly regularly.
This growth of the collector base has been going on for decades. I don't know about the numbers but I can testify that even here across the ocean the buying pressure is sensible. I have no idea why it is so. But it is. My numerous German clients have been strong buyers of my high end material and I strive always to make them happy.
Nazi coins seem to be a lot more popular with American collectors than with Germans. I have worked with several Americans to complete type sets (they always stop before they get to the Schiller 5m). For a long time I held a belief that Germans just did not buy them. Then finally this year (1994) I sent one (a "good" one) across the Atlantic. So now I can't say that.
I won't go into the history of the Nazi seizure of power (though some might care to disagree with the word "seizure" citing the various elections up to 1936). Nor will I discuss the various sad and disgusting things they did. i'm just going to deal with the coins.
The first Nazi issues were the commemoratives for the 450th birthday of Martin Luther. The coins were only a trifle lighter than the Weimar coins, but the silver content was higher too so they are smaller.
Luther 2 marks of the Berlin mint are not too hard to find in VF or so. The other mints are much harder, and Uncs are very difficult indeed. The 5m Luthers are tough in any grade from any mint.
Next they issued the nickel 1 mark, a series which endured until the start of the war. A few date-mint combinations are fairly easy to find in circulated conditions, but this type will never be found for 50› as noted in the SCWC. $2-3 is a minimum for this coin.
Next, in 1934, came the Potsdam coins with the date of Hitler's accession to the chancellery. These are the first German coins with swastikas (though of course they were using the symbol in India 2000 years ago.) Both 2m and 5m of this type are not too hard to find, as long as you're willing to be satisfied with something circulated.
That same year they also issued a Potsdam church 5m without the date. These continued through 1935. They are much more common than the "Marz" coins, and you'll often find a few in the batches of circulated 5m that dealers like to bat around. Availability is good up to AU, and true Uncs turn up too.
The last 1934 coins were the Schiller commemoratives. The 2m can be obtained. The 5m is the showpiece of the Nazi series. It is rare (though not the rarest) and shows up only infrequently in fancy auctions.
1935 saw the start of the 2 year run of Hindenburg-no swastika 5m. These too are common and make up the bulk of the large volume of circulated 5m coins in the market. $4.00 is an average wholesale price for these in F-aXF. Soft AU is the normal high grade. Gems are tough.
Also in 1935 they issued the first Nazi aluminum 50p type. These are fairly common in circulated, but once again gems are elusive.
Finally in 1936 the coinage was completely Nazified. Swastika types were introduced for all denominations from 1p to 5m. All of the pre-war types have some common dates, and as the prices have steadily escalated over the years batches of nice Uncs have started to appear. Some recent appearances of quantity Uncs: 1p 1938-A, '39-A, 2p '38-A, '38-D, '38-F, 5p 1937-A. In addition there are several dates of 2m which often show up Unc.
The tough type is the nickel swastika 50p. It is hard to find these for under $10.00. They are usually XF or better, but I've seen a lot with a little tiny pit or two.
During the war they cut out all the nonsense with silver coins. Everything was switched to junky zinc, save the 50p struck in junky aluminum. Most dates of these coins are pretty common, though the lowest grade pieces will usually get 50¢ or more. The days of 10¢ swastica coins are over. And, as everyone knows, the zinc coins usually come with oxide spots. Unspotted XF is a scarce grade for these, and bright Uncs are (I don't mind saying it) rare.
The true keys to the Nazi series are those zinc coins with center holes. These were struck for use in the occupied territories. All anyone ever sees of these types are 1940-A coins in XF - with or without spots. I've heard tell of no other mint or date, nor any bright Uncs. At least I've seen the Schiller 5m offered. Thus my assertion that these are the keys.
Another class of things I've never seen are Nazi proofs. I've seen pictures of them, so I know they're around. But I've never held one in my hand, nor gazed upon it in the case.
Off hand and in general, I'd say tht Nazi coins run 20-50% ahead of SCWC prices.
THE ALLIED OCCUPATION
Germany as a whole was a mess at the close of the war. Local conditions varied from tattered-but-intact to totally destroyed. At the top were the occupying armies of the Allies.
The economy reflected the chaotic conditions. Barter was the standard mode. The Allied government allowed continuation in circulation of the old Nazi money. Some regional paper issues were briefly permitted. For themselves they printed the well known Allied Military Currency notes.
In late 1945 the Allied authorities permitted the issue of "de-Nazified" versions of the current zinc coins. These coins seem to me to be more in the nature of propaganda or demonstration of mint right than an attempt to accomodate the needs of local petty commerce.
At any rate it's basically a scarce series. The first version of the 1p was made from a 1944 die with the swastica machined out. This of course is basically a pattern. I can't remember seeing one, but they must be around, right?
The rest of the series has the redesigned eagle and is moderately scarce. Average grade is XF, with or without spots. Uncs are rare. They don't come in low grade. The rare dates and mints are very rare. Maybe never seen.
By 1948 the joint Allied government had separated into Western and Soviet zones, each with its own government and money. The first coins on both sides were issued before the establishment of their governments.
In the Soviet zone the minor coinage began and remained aluminum. There were evidently plenty of coin collectors in the Democratic Republic, but they did not aspire to perfection and uncirculated circulation coins are pretty hard to find.
The whole series, including the commemoratives, is commercially available. Since unification prices have boomed, then retreated, and are stable at an average subtantially above the SCWC quotes. In Germany you can get quotes for complete date sets of minors (except of course the 1949 50p), but the early minors in Unc are sky high.
As for the copper-nickel and silver coins, commemorative or not, they too are all available. A small handful (20th anniversary 5m, Meissen 5m, Buchenwald 5m, Youth Fest 10m, Thalmann 20m) are relatively common and cheap over here. The rest are expensive. SCWC prices at the moment tend to reflect wholesale rather than retail realities.
DDR proofs look to me like investment items. I see growth potential. I have the same feeling about both proof and mint sets. They're not around, I want them, therefore, per se, they're desirable, right?
The Bank Deutscher Lander types are highly desirable in BU and gems are hard to find in this country. The 1950-G 50p is not just hard to find, it is very rare.
A large part of any BRD bulk lot is dated 1950. Uncs of that date are not hard to find. Coins of the later '50s and early '60s are fairly scarce, with highly inflated prices for gems. From the '70s on most coins are common, though probably not more than two USA dealers try to maintain a BU minor date stock. You may have to go to to Germany. There you will find that there are numerous semi-keys. I suggest it's time to look at the German trends to educate the anglophones on what's hot and what's not.
And the latest twist in the minors is of course the new BRD production from the Berlin mint. These coins seem to be snapped up by collectors and hoarders, so that in spite of huge mintages they are scarce both in circulation and in the hobby.
Everyone knows all about the BRD commemoratives, right? They are all available. The first five have been great investments, and probably still are. The rest of the DM5 coins rise and fall in cycles like any other commodity. I've always found them a safe bet to buy at the right price.
The DM10 coins are also readily available. The 1972 Olympics are common as singles (sets are scarce). The later issues are also common, but tend to retail about 25% higher than the current SCWC quotes.
Mint sets and proof sets are not big business in the USA. Not so surprising, now that I think about it. BRD in general is not so big here. This is strange, because people are making pots of money over there dealing in BRD. But look around. How many BRD proof sets have you seen (let alone DDR!)? I think it's safe to say that they are significantly undervalued in SCWC.
This was written in 1994. Since then the German mints have been producing coins pretty much for collectors only. This is because of the coming euro. Their attitude is "who cares?" From 1995 on the coins are scarcer and scarcer, more and more expensive. Decadent end of an era. They're still making coins in all the other euro countries. Al we can do is watch it happen.
These insignificant coins were part of a halfhearted attempt by the French government to hold on to the territory. In 1955 the Saarlanders voted to join the BRD. The coins are all easily available, 100 franken a bit scarce in Unc.
Let us end this brief sketch of German coinage with an even briefer characterization of German tokens and medals.
Of course the German lands have always been the most prolifc producers of all kinds of exonumia. Germany abounds in off-metal strikes, proofs, patterns, medals, tokens, jetons, you name it. Minting quality is often state of the art for period. Much of it is beautiful. Material is available at all price levels. It is a field in which one can quickly lose oneself, never to return to normal