Commemorative coin

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100 euro gold coin of the Federal Republic of Germany

A commemorative coin (also memorial coin ) is a coin that reminds of a memorable event or an important personality through its motif and / or its inscription . This differs from the currency coin minted for everyday use of money , but most commemorative coins are or were legal tender , as well as from the investment coin that is issued as a precious metal investment .

History and characteristics

Taler for the capture of Gotha (1567) (commemorative coin) from the Dresden mint
Commemorative coin for the 400th anniversary of the Reformation in 1917 , the most valuable coin of the empire (NP 2001)

In the past, commemorative coins often referred to the ruler , his family or other political issues, such as: B. Births, weddings or deaths in the ruling house, throne jubilees or wars won . They also had a propaganda function .

Today, commemorative coins are mainly minted in order to sell them to collectors and thus realize a financial gain. Commemorative coins, which, like the German 10 and 20 euro pieces at face value, are issued by banks today are rather the exception in an international comparison. As a rule, they are distributed via the manufacturer (e.g. Austrian Mint ) or the Specialized retailers at an issue price above the nominal value. Commemorative coins were initially produced in a comparatively large normal edition and a small edition in proof , so that historical proofs, for example from the German Empire and the Weimar Republic, fetch high prices today. Since around 1970, the proofed plate has established itself as a production form worldwide, so that most international commemorative coins are only issued as proofed plates today. The German coins are an exception to this, as they are still produced in large numbers as normal coins.

"Modern" commemorative coins are usually valid means of payment, but their fitness for circulation is - unlike currency coins - often only of a theoretical nature, as at least one of the following characteristics usually applies to them:

  • their face value can be impractical for payment transactions ,
  • they may be unknown to the population,
  • they may have been issued at a price higher than face value, or
  • they can be sold on the international market where they have no legal rate.

This is completely different with the two euro commemorative coins . Since 2006, these have been specially minted for circulation in Germany with a circulation of more than 30 million pieces and are accepted as a means of payment in practice. The commemorative coins of the euro countries with denominations other than 2 euro are only legal tender in the issuing euro country, German 10 euro coins only in Germany, Austrian only in Austria etc.

A combination of a commemorative coin and the associated sheet of stamps is called a numis sheet . The German Post AG outputs them since 1997th A few years earlier, numis letters (commemorative coin plus a postage stamp) were subsequently compiled and sold by private companies.

Commemorative issues by private publishers or state issues with no face value (function as a means of payment) are called medals . Many pseudo coins occupy an intermediate position between medals and coins ; Often these are coins produced by private companies, which are then brought onto the European market under license in the name of small African or oceanic states. Formally, they can be legal tender, but actual payment on site is usually not possible. In no case do these commercial coins have a value that exceeds the metal value, as their number is unmanageable and the choice of motifs is more or less arbitrary (“animals”, “China” etc.). This contradicts the way in which these items are advertised and priced as rarities in newspaper advertising or teleshopping.

Borderline cases

The historically and artistically significant Locumtenstaler are a borderline case of a special kind . These are commemorative coins (guldengroschen) of Frederick the Wise , which were also produced as medals with a higher relief, but also in thaler weight (guldengroschen weight) and given away to favorites. In catalogs, both types are often referred to as guldengroschen (commemorative coins), although only those with lower relief are coins. Even in the case of the Luftpumpentaler , the first coinage with reference to Otto von Guericke , a variant is not a commemorative coin, but a medal.

A commemorative coin can be a minted invoice coin that was not created for payment transactions. - As an example, see Taler on the award of the Order of the Garter and on the St. George Festival of 1678.

A borderline case of another kind is the 1 billion mark piece from the province of Westphalia. This piece is a coin with a “medal character”. The coin of the Landesbank of the Province of Westphalia, minted as emergency money in 1923, was only issued as a memorial to the difficult times in 1924 after the end of the inflation. As a coin it was invalid at the time.

The numerous artistically special tower coins , which were minted as taler pieces, talers and multiple talers, in cliff form and as gold cuts, as well as their execution in stamping variants, which the archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau had minted to commemorate the Turkish wars, are more evidence of his activity than Art collector, as his troops were not directly involved in the fighting and contributed little to it.

It is important to know that a coin that bears a thaler name and was minted for a specific occasion is not always a thaler, i.e. a commemorative coin. Typical examples of this are Hustaler and Kleetaler among several other thaler-shaped medals with a thaler name. The Gluck Henn dollars , for example, only in exceptional cases a coin.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Pierer's Universal Lexicon of the Past and Present . 4th edition. Verlagbuchhandlung von HA Pierer , Altenburg 1865 ( [accessed on May 22, 2019] encyclopedia entry "Denkmünze").
  2. ^ Paul Arnold: Walther Haupt and his "Saxon Coin Studies". In: Numismatic notebooks. 20, 1986, ISSN  0323-6919 , pp. 51-63, here p. 57.
  3. ^ Peter Menzel: German emergency coins and other money substitute stamps 1873-1932 , Berlin 1982, p. 482.
  4. Heinz Fengler: transpress Lexikon Numismatik (1976), p. 400

Web links

Commons : Commemorative coins  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files