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Deutsches Reich - funf mark


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i have seen a few of these coins around from the early 20th Century but the one i have here from 1903 does not have the same detail on the head side. It says Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg but i thought that at this time all the coins were part of the deuthches reich and not local districts, is this an unusal coin or is Hamburg an unusual place?

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Tabbs can explain it better, but the German States or Lander, issued coinage denominated 2,3,5,10 and 20 Marks after the German Empire was formed. The first issues in Reichsmarks were issued beginning in 1872, and were usually the 5, 10 or 20 RM coins in gold, and the silver followed in 1874. Hamburg was a Free City, meaning that it basically governed itself, similarly Bremen was governed. Other Lander were governed by Princes, Dukes, Kings etc. The King of Prussia was also the Kaiser, or Emperor of Germany. This form of governance continued from 1871 until November of 1918 when the German Empire crumbled under WWI and the subsequent revolutionary activity in several of the states, notably Bavaria.

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Scottishmoney is right; in the German Empire until 1918 only the smaller denominations (from 1 Pfennig to 1 Mark) were the same in all states. The 2, 3, and 5 Mark silver coins, and the 5, 10, and 20 Mark gold coins had common reverses. But each state used a different obverse, much like the euro coins these days.

 

(Side note: Those were "Mark" coins; strictly speaking the "Reichsmark" was used from 1923 until 1948.)

 

Christian

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