Coin footer

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The coin foot ( also called foot for short in numismatics ) is an official determination by a mint owner of how many coins of one type from a unit of weight of precious metal (" basic coin weight ") should be struck. The coin base determines which amount of a precious metal ( fineness ) should be contained in a certain coin . The Stolberg mint master Julian Eberhard Volckmar Claus defined the coin base as follows in his Brief Instructions for Trying and Coin printed in 1753 : “The proper proportion of the metals and the weight of the coin, depending on its internal and external quality, or according to shot and grain to be arranged according to Zusaz and Feine, number and weights, is called the coin rate. "

Many coins do not consist exclusively of the precious metal on which the respective coin base is based. Gold and silver coins are often copper , e.g. B. for coin hardening, alloyed . A distinction is therefore made between the fine weight (or fineness or grain ) of a coin and the total weight ( rough weight or shot ) of the coin's coarse made of an alloy . For example, one mark is used finely when referring to the pure precious metal content of a weight mark . One mark rough corresponds to the weight of the alloyed coin metal, which contains exactly one mark fine.

A drop in the base of precious metal coins is called coin deterioration . A distinction must be made between the continuous sinking of the circulating coins due to abrasion and the issuing of new coins with a lower fine weight.

Historical coin feet

Antique coin feet

The oldest coinage rate is the Aegina one on the island of Aegina , which led to a stater weight (1 stater corresponds to 2 drachmas) of approx. 12.3 g (6.15 g in relation to the drachma). It spread over the Peloponnese, the Cyclades Islands, Crete and in southwest Asia Minor.

It was replaced by the Attic coin foot with a tetradrachm weight of approx. 17.5 g (the stater was thus approx. 8.75 g and the drachm approx. 4.38 g).

The denarius of the Roman Republic with 3.9 g ( 184 of the Roman pound, the basic weight of the Roman pound was therefore approx. 327.4 g) was initially based on the Greek drachma of the Attic foot. It was reduced to 3.3 g by Nero during the Roman Empire . After further deterioration, Diocletian's coin reform of 294 AD replaced the denarius with the Argenteus with a target weight of 3.41 g. It was equivalent to 196 of the Roman pound.

Medieval and modern coin feet

Carolingian pound

In the Carolingian coin system , the pound was the basic unit of mass . It was stipulated that 240 pfennigs ( denari ) should be minted from one pound of silver . The number 240 resulted from 20 shillings ( solidi ) of 12 pfennigs each. A similar division existed in Great Britain until the 20th century.

Cologne mark

In the early modern times , the mark replaced the pound as a unit of weight in the Roman-German Empire .

  • With the Augsburg Reichsmünzedikt from May 30, 1566 the 9-foot-Taler was introduced which stipulated that from a Cologne mark nine silver Reichstaler should be marked and that the proportion of silver 14 Loth 4 Grän (888.888 ‰) should be. This results in a weight of 29.23 g and a fine weight of 25.98 g for the individual coin .
  • The 9 thaler foot was also retained for the thaler, which was known as the Speciesreichstaler, by the contracting states of the Zinna Coin Treaty of 1667. The smaller types should, however, be minted in a 10½ thaler foot. From 1668, the valley sections were also minted in this inferior foot. The Saxon Kuranttaler in the Zinnaischer Münzfuß is actually a bill coin that does not exist as an actual coin, but is intended to simplify accounting. In individual cases it was nevertheless pronounced.
  • In the years 1670 and 1671, Electoral Saxony had Wechseleltaler minted after the Wechseltalerfuß to favor the Leipzig trade .
  • With the Leipzig coinage treaty concluded on January 16, 1690, Kurbrandenburg, Electoral Saxony and the Duchy of Braunschweig-Lüneburg agreed on a 12 thaler foot for the taler pieces (also known as 18 gulden feet or Leipziger Münzfuß ), which quickly became part of most German coins States prevailed. This coin footer was under Emperor Charles VI. with imperial commission decree of December 1, 1738 Reichsmünzfuß for taler pieces.
  • In 1750, the convention thaler was introduced in Austria , of which ten pieces were minted from one fine mark, which corresponds to a fine weight of 23.386 g. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the relative proportion of precious metal was often indicated as a Roman numeral in the lower part of the coin. So z. B. an X (Roman numeral 10) that ten coins of this type correspond to one mark of pure silver.
  • For example, the (before) last Prussian Kuranttaler and also the taler of the other German states, which since the Dresden Mint Treaty of 1838 in the 14-Talerfuß minted the legend: EIN THALER XIV EINE F. M. , d. This means that 14 taler coins contained one weight mark of silver, which corresponds to the equivalent of 233.8555 g of fine silver. This 14 thaler foot was introduced in Prussia by Johann Philipp Graumann in 1750 on behalf of King Frederick II.
Coin foot (14 thaler foot) on Hanoverian thaler from 1846

Inch pound

As part of the trend towards the decimal system, the Vienna Mint Treaty replaced the Cologne mark with a basic coin weight of 233.855 g by the inch pound with 500 g. Since at the same time the 14 thaler coin foot was replaced by a 30 thaler coin foot, the fine silver weight hardly changed.

Change in reference from silver to gold

Towards the end of the 19th century, silver as the basis of currency in many countries was replaced by the gold standard and the monetary standard now referred to the more valuable and more durable gold .

After the mark currency introduced in the German Reich in 1871 , in which the 5, 10 and 20 mark denominations were minted in gold, was completely devalued by the economic consequences of the First World War , after inflation was overcome in the German Coin Act of 30 August 1924 ( RGBl. II p. 254) in § 3 in connection with the gold coinage of the empire stipulates that from one kilogram of fine gold 139.5 coins as 20 mark pieces or 279 coins as 10 mark pieces with a mixing ratio of 900 parts gold and 100 parts of copper had to be minted, which, however, were never actually minted.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Julian Eberhard Volckmar Claus, Brief Instructions for Trying and Coins, Stolberg 1753, page 55
  2. Helmut Kahnt, Bernd Knorr: Old dimensions, coins and weights. A lexicon. Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1986, licensed edition Mannheim / Vienna / Zurich 1987, ISBN 3-411-02148-9 , pp. 388 and 392 f.
  3. ^ Eva Szaivert, Wolfgang Szaivert, David Ronald Sear: Greek coin catalog. Volume 1: Europe. Battenberg, Munich 1980, ISBN 3-87045-182-3 , p. 35.
  4. B. Ralph Kankelfitz: Roman coins: from Pompejus to Romulus. Battenberg, Augsburg 1991, ISBN 3-89441-014-0 , pp. 18f.
  5. Wolfgang Trapp : Small handbook of coinage and money in Germany. Reclam, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-15-018026-0 , p. 87.
  6. Heinz Fengler, ...: transpress Lexikon Numismatics ..., p. 308
  7. ^ Paul Arnold: The Saxon thaler currency from 1500 to 1763. In: Swiss numismatic review. Volume 59, 1980, p. 82.
  8. Friedrich Freiherr von Schrötter , The coinage of Brandenburg during the validity of the monetary base of Zinna and Leipzig, Hohenzollern yearbook 11.1907, pp. 63–74, URL: opus-1873
  9. ^ Stößel, Johann Christoph: Attempt at a Chur-Saxon coin history, Chemnitz 1780, p. 676, 802ff.