Mark (weight)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The mark ( mhd. Marc, march, Marke ) is originally a unit of weight used in the Middle Ages , which replaced the pound as a precious metal and coin weight from the 11th century . The mark is traditionally half a pound and was usually divided into 8  ounces or 16  lots . The Cologne mark , which is important in the German-speaking area, was equivalent to around 234 g.

Word origin

The Etymological Dictionary of the German language by Friedrich Kluge traces the word back to the ancient Germanic term marka “weight and value unit” (originally “division, divided”).

The etymological dictionary by Wolfgang Pfeifer sees the Old High German marc “demarcation, sign” as the starting word and assumes that marc first meant the coinage (marking of a certain weight), later the bar itself and its weight and finally a coin of a certain weight and value designated.

According to a trade lexicon from 1848, the term weight mark should come from the fact that “the piece of metal that was used for weighing was provided with a mark or a mark”. Meyers Konversationslexikon from 1905 similarly traces the origin of the word back to the origin of the mark from the Roman pound of 11 ounces . Charlemagne had the Frankish King performed at the end of the 8th century a coin and Maßreform. In particular, he had introduced the Karl pound as a basic coin and trade weight , which, however, only weighed 8 ounces. In order to prevent a further reduction in the weight of a pound, a mark, a brand , has now been impressed on the new weights . The weight of these weights, known as marca , is said to have fluctuated between 196 g and 280 g.

Kölner Mark (Kölnische Mark)

Until the Middle Ages, there were still many regionally different variants of the Mark as a measure of weight. The Cologne mark was already in use in the 11th century and was set at half the Cologne pound . It gained great importance for coinage.

Initially, the Cologne mark was of less importance than the Karl pound , which was the basis of the Carolingian coin system . The ratio of the Cologne mark to the Karl pound is 576: 1000. The Electors of Trier , Cologne , Mainz and the Palatinate founded the first Rhenish Mint Association in 1386 , according to which the Rhenish gold guilder was minted. After the date set by the Rhenish coinage union monetary standard 66 guilders were minted from a Cologne Mark Gold. The model was the florin minted since 1252 . Due to the success of this coinage and the economic importance of the Rheinischer Münzverein, the Cologne mark gained supraregional importance as a coin weight.

From 1300 the silver currency was introduced with the Prague groschen . In 1338 the Meissen groschen followed in German territory . Initially, the groschen from 16-lot silver were minted from the mark with 70 groschen. In 1486 the Tyrolean Archduke Siegmund minted the first large silver coins worth one Rhenish gold guilder. At that time, the gold guilder was the key currency in Europe. These coins, known as guilder groschen , were also minted in Annaberg , Saxony, from 1500 onwards . The minting of these coins reached its peak between 1519 and 1529 in Joachimsthal, today Jáchymov . The coins minted here were later referred to as Joachimsthalers, simply “Talers”. The First Imperial Coin Order issued by Emperor Karl V in Esslingen officially introduced the fine Cologne Mark as a binding coin weight in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in 1524 .

All thalers, guilders , ducats and small coins were then compared in legal usage - for reasons of the arithmetic practice at the time, which were not yet familiar with the decimal system - with the mark as a measure. For example according to the pattern:

Eight thalers are a rough one, i.e. one mark with a copper alloy, or
nine thalers are a fine, i.e. one pure (16-
lot ) precious metal mark.

The Munich Mint Treaty , with which the Süddeutsche Münzverein was founded in 1837, assumed the “mark weight” of the coins to be minted to be 233.855 g. This corresponds to the value of the Prussian Cologne Mark, which was called the “Prussian Münzmark” or “Vereinsmark”.

Whereas the Cologne mark was already described in the Munich Mint Treaty in one of the new units of mass of the international decimal system, the gram , the 1857 Vienna Mint Treaty used completely metric sizes . The reference value for the coin base was now the inch pound of 500 grams, from which 30 thalers were to be minted.

Regional expressions of the mark

The mark established in 1524 had slight to larger differences in weight in terms of time and region, so that, for example, the Cologne, Nuremberg or even Paris marks were not of equal weight. These differences were only contractually remedied in Germany in the 19th century.

Since the first Reich coinage system, the quality of money has deteriorated steadily. While according to the Zinnaische Münzfuß agreed between Brandenburg and Electoral Saxony in 1667 , 10½ thalers were struck from the mark, since 1687 it was already 12 thalers according to the Leipzig foot and even 14 thalers according to the Graumann coin valid since 1750 in Prussia and later in most of the north German states . Austria-Hungary set up a coin base, also based on the Cologne mark, the basis of the convention thaler that many southern German states adopted. In the Dresden Mint Agreement of 1838, coins based on the “Prussian Cologne Mark”, the so-called Prussian Münzmark or Vereinsmark, became binding in all countries of the Zollverein .

Deviations of some regional values ​​of the mark from today's, arbitrary, seven-smooth value of the Cologne mark to exactly 234.1011456 grams .

Weight in
Karl pounds
Surname Ref. Value in g Value of a CM deviation
0.6048 Dutch mark     246.0839   234.3656 g + 0.1130%
0.5760 Cologne mark in Bavaria     233,950   233,950 g - 0.0646%
0.5760 Cologne mark in Vienna     233,890; 233.94108   233.890 g - 0.0902%; −0.0684%
0.6912 Viennese mark     280.668   233.870 g - 0.0987%
0.5760 Cologne Mark in Prussia     233.8555   233.8555 g - 0.1049%
0.5760 Cologne mark in Hamburg     233.85489   233.85489 g - 0.1052%
0.5760 Cölnish mark in Cologne     233.8123   233.8123 g - 0.1234%

Subdivisions of the Mark

For gold

  unit     Gold mark Gold carat Gold gran Grain gran 7-smooth value
  Gold mark 1 24 288 4608   234.1011456 G  
  Gold carat 1/24 1 12 192   9.7542144 G  
  Gold gran 1/288 1/12 1 16   0.8128512 G  
  Grain gran 1/4608 1/192 1/16 1   0.0508032 G  

The gold mark weighs 24 gold carats equal to 288 gold grän. So she also weighs 4608 Korngrän.
A gold gran is exactly the 500th part of a Carolingian pound .
The gold carat and the ordinary carat - four grains at the same time - maintain the ratio 1:48.

For silver and its copper alloys

The following values ​​applied to silver and its copper alloys , i.e. also to common money . Ounces were not minted. The embossed Loth was called Batzen , just like the embossed Quentchen , also called Drachme, was the cruiser . Alignment pennies were never issued.

  unit    mark ounce Loth Tiny bit penny Brighter Grain gran Richtpfennig 7-smooth value  
  Silbermark 1 8th 16 64 256 512 4608 65 536   234.1011456 G  
  ounce 1/8 1 2 8th 32 64 576 8192   29.2626432 G  
  Loth 1/16 1/2 1 4th 16 32 288 4096   14.6313216 G  
  Tiny bit 1/64 1/8 1/4 1 4th 8th 72 1024   3.6578304 G  
  Silver penny  1/256 1/32 1/16 1/4 1 2 18th 256   0.9144576 G  
  Brighter 1/512 1/64 1/32 1/8 1/2 1 9 128   0.4572288 G  
  Grain gran    1/4608 1/576 1/288 1/72 1/18 1/9 1 128/9   50.8032 mg  
  Richtpfennig    1/65536 1/8192 1/4096 1/1024 1/256 1/128 9/128 1   3.5721 mg  

One silver mark is equal to 8 ounces = 16 Loth = 64 quents = 256 Pfennig = 512 Heller = 4608 Korngrän and the same as 65,536 Richtpfennig.

Different mark weights

  Name of the weight    empirical
Relationship to the
    Cologne mark    
  Direct derivation of weight
  Viennese mark   280.668 G    12:10    =   6912  Ten thousandths of a Karl pound
  Prague Mark   253.17 G   625: 576    =   6250  Ten thousandths Karl pound *
  Dutch mark   246.0839 G   21:20    =   6048  Ten thousandths Karl pound **  
  Paris mark   244.7529 G   392: 375    =   1: 2  french pound
  Wurzburg Mark   238.62 G   50:49  
  Nuremberg mark   237.52 G   64: 63  
  Erfurt Mark   235.40 G   225: 224  
  Prussian mark   233.8555 G    1: 1      (Variant of the Cologne mark)
  Cologne mark   233.8123 G    1: 1    =   5760  Ten thousandths of a Karl pound    
  Towermark   233.2761 G   3 125: 3 136    =   2: 3  Tower pound
  Spanish mark   230.348 G   63: 64    =   5670  Ten thousandths of a Karl pound
  Portuguese mark   229.5 G   49:50  
  Krakow Mark   197.98 G   160: 189  

* In practice with a weight point of 3125: 3136. Therefore, the theoretical Prague Mark weighs exactly 253.125 g. The empirical value of 253.17 g is only 0.018% higher.

** The Cologne mark is derived from a very light Karl pound of approx. 405.924 g, whereas the Dutch mark is derived from a rather heavy Karl pound of approx. 406.885 g. Therefore, the actual ratio of the Dutch mark to the Cologne mark was often no longer correctly recognized in modern times and was then often given as 20:19. Derivatives with such large prime numbers as 13, 17 or 19 did not appear at all in the case of the old measures and weights, which were oriented towards highly composite numbers .

The Spanish (more precisely: Castilian) mark was a gold, silver and apothecary weight and is considered a rough mark.

  • 1 mark (span.) = 8 ounces = 64 drachms / ochavos = 128 adarmes = 192 scupels = 384 oboles / tomines = 1152 siliques = 4608 gran (os) = 230.433 grams


Individual evidence

  1. Kluge. Etymological dictionary of the German language. 25th edition, edited by Elmar Seebold , Berlin / Boston 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-022364-4 , p. 602 (excerpt from Google Books ).
  2. ^ Etymological dictionary of German, developed under the direction of Wolfgang Pfeifer . Berlin 1989, reprinted several times since then (cf. “Mark” , made available by the Digital Dictionary of the German Language, accessed on January 9, 2020).
  3. ^ Wilhelm Binder : Allgemeine Realencyclopädie or Conversationslexicon for Catholic Germany. Volume 6. Regensburg 1848, p. 1133 (digitized version).
  4. ^ Meyers Konversationslexikon , 1905. Volume 13, p. 317 (digitized version).
  5. August Flor: coin conditions . Altona 1838, p. 3 ff., Accessed August 14, 2013
  6. Bernd Sprenger (1981) Monetary and Monetary Policy in Germany from 1834 to 1875. Research Institute for Social and Economic History at the University of Cologne. Annex 1: Extract from the Munich Mint Treaty of August 25, 1837; Pp. 90-92
  7. a b c d e f g As . In: Brockhaus Konversations-Lexikon 1894–1896, Volume 1, p. 964.
  8. a b c d As . In: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . 4th edition. Volume 1, Verlag des Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1885–1892, p. 896.
  9. a b c d e As . In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon . 6th edition. Volume 1, Bibliographical Institute, Leipzig / Vienna 1905, p.  840 .
  10. a b mark . In: Brockhaus Konversations-Lexikon 1894–1896, Volume 11, p. 607.
  11. Jurende's Moravian Wanderer: Business and entertainment book for all provinces of the Austrian imperial state: consecrated to all friends of culture from the teaching, military and nutritional class, especially to all nature and fatherland friends . 1824, volume 13, p. 67 in the Google book search
  12. a b Law of August 2, 1892, with which the krona currency is determined, Article XXII. (RGBl. 126/1892) . (According to Meyer's Konversationslexikon from the same year, the Wiener Mark was only 280.644 grams.)
  13. Prague Mark (Pražská hřivna) = 253.17 g. ( Memento of the original from July 15, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  14. French Ministry of Industry: 2.4 The definitive standards     :   “One kilogram weighs 18 827.15 grän of the mark weight.”  (The old pound was 9216 gren.)
    Hence a French pound to (9216 ÷ 18.82715 =) about 489.5058466 grams , as well as a Paris mark to (489.5058 ÷ 2 =) approx. 244.7529 grams.
  15. a b c d e ( Memento of the original from September 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  16. The tower pound has 5400 grains. According to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), USA, the English grain has a mass of 0.06479891 grams.
    Thus the Towermark (3600 × 0.06479891 =) weighs exactly 233.276076 grams.
  17. Johann Michael Leuchs: Der Contorwissenschaft ... Part: The instructions to calculate all incidents in trade, in common and higher business with insight, containing. The latest in money, coin, mass and weight customers for merchants, businessmen and newspaper readers. Volume 3. Verlag E. Leuchs and Comp. (Contors of the Allg. Handlungs-Zeitung), Nuremberg 1834, p. 193.