German Coins

Celtic coins were issued by various tribes in the area now known as Germany from the late 3rd century BC to the mid 1st century BC, which were loosely derived from Ancient Greek and Roman prototypes. Coins of Roman, Merovingian and Carolingian types were struck in the region, followed by crude early medieval silver coins, generally from the mid-9th or early 10th centuries. In the 12th and 13th centuries wafer-thin uniface silver bracteates appeared, some with large flans enabling more elaborate designs.

Germany was then composed of a number of independent states; it was only unified in 1871. Larger, better struck silver Groschen and gold Gulden (based on the Italian Florin) were issued from the 14th century; Talers (crown-size silver coins) following the Austrian prototype were introduced in 1500. The larger flans enabled more elaborate and carefully produced designs to be produced. These included highly detailed city views, intricate battle scenes, views of mines, elaborate portraits and images of patron saints and complicated dynastic emblems, some struck on especially large flans known as Schautalers.

During the Thirty Years War a number of very crude emergency issue coins were issued locally by towns under siege. Gulden were replaced by Ducats in the mid-16th century, and a bewildering number of smaller denominations were introduced in different states; currency systems, relative values, weights, and finenesses were endlessly changed. The Vereinstaler was adopted universally in 1857, and on unification in 1871 coins of the Empire were issued with denominations in Marks, still varying with each state and depicting the local rulers, except for universally issued minor coins.

New coinages were introduced under the Weimar Republic (1919-33), which included a disastrous period of hyperinflation, the Third Reich (1933-45), and the Federal Republic from 1949, which was unified with the German Democratic Republic (formerly East Germany) in 1990.

The most popular collecting themes are: early coins by state – coins of 1800-71 – and coins from 1871. Buy online with UK and worldwide delivery available or contact our expert team to arrange a viewing or ask any questions.

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