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DDR coin


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I honestly believe that the DDR did a nicer job of commemorating German history than did the BRD. Economics is probably a factor in that. The East Germans were trying to build up foreign sales, regardless of the investment in product series that might not sell. So, they were willing to take a loss on the labor and materials in order to gain the hard currency. (Socialists are weak at math.) The West Germans were less likely to sink money into a series that would not sell, so they did not commemorate every birth and death of a famous German for every year divisible by 5, which the Ossies were given to.


Another reason is that many of Germany's significant towns were in the northeast. With Leipzig you get Goethe. Can't do better than that for Germany. Beethoven did have his Bonn years, of course.


Every country in the world has more than enough Famous Things to commemorate. Germany might have a few more. It lies in the center of Europe, so there is that. It is a relatively large place, about the size of Missouri, so there is that. They had about 40 dialects, but Luther's Bible gave them a common language. With no central authority, you had a cultural matrix that provided some diversity. Even if every city or state was "intolerant" the sum total of them created a variation. This meant that philosophers, scientists, musicians, and poets could go someplace else if they wore out their welcome. And the local dukes competed for such jewels. Thus, the universities flourished in the towns. (The whole town thing was another factor, that played less of a role, say, in England. In Germany, they said, "Stadtluft macht frei." City air makes you free. Medieval England had the same kind of law that a year and day in town made you free, but, see, we have no cliche for that in our common speech. It was not so much a factor in England, but it was in Germany. That gave the towns a significant advantage for creativity and productivity.


Be all that as it may, if you are going to collect DDR, you might want think in terms of themes and topics as the entire body is very populous.

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I agree that the DDR commemoratives (the silver 20 marks in particular) are an under-appreciated series. Pretty much nobody in the Western world wanted them (sort of like North Korea coins today), and I think they just melted whatever didn't sell to strike next year's coin. (So they weren't entirely ignorant of math or economics!) My reason for thinking this is that the scarcity of the coins is way out of proportion to the purported mintages.

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