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Coinyoshi's Blog

29 Aug 2021

Coins of the German States: Hamburg

| Coinyoshi

Again, Picture in blog is of genuine coin, but not from my collection.

Hamburg, officially the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg, is the first German city state I am going to cover in this series. It is the third largest port in Europe and is the second largest city in Germany, after Berlin. As a state, it borders Schleswig-Holstein in the north and Lower Saxony in the south. It sits on the bank of the River Elbe and consists of two of its tributaries, making it important for trade. It has been an important free city since the days of the HRE, and its most prominent architecture is from the 17th century. Their coins tell the story of this important city.

The city had four different types of coinage systems with two different names: Thaler and Mark, which should be familiar to people that collect German coins. The first mark and first thaler systems are confusing, so I will tell you about the second mark/thaler to simplify. The first thaler was 12 pfennige to a schilling, 16 schillings to a mark, three marks to a thaler, three thalers and 12 schillings to a goldgulden, and 1 goldgulden and 12 schillings to a ducat. The mark was a decimal system, and similar to other German States at the time, it was 100 pfennige to a mark, with 2, 3, 5, 10, and 20 mark coins being minted as well.

The coins of Hamburg started in 834 AD when the Archbishop of Hammaburg (As the city-state was then called) was granted permission to mint coins by the Holy Roman Emperor. In the 1100s, the Hamburg Mint was fully approved by Frederich Barbarossa, basically saying that the coins from the mint were examined closely and are 100% authentic. Then, the city purchased the mint from the Count of Holstein in 1325, and the city acquired the right to mint its own unique coins. In 1455, it was allowed to mint gold. In 1618, when it became a free city, it controlled its currency system entirely. In 1875, United Germany gave Hamburg the J mintmark and it started minting coins for them. Now, the city of Hamburg mints euros for Germany and the rest of the EU.

The 2-mark coin was issued by the City of Hamburg in 1876 for the German Empire. They stopped minting it for four years, from 1888-1892. Interestingly, the coat of arms of Hamburg and the words Hansestadt Hamburg appear on the obverse, but the 2nd Reich eagle and the words Deutches Reich are on the reverse, possibly so people of the city would get used to the Empire’s new coins while keeping the old style.

Two more things:Lot 34 of this year’s YN auction features a two schilling piece from Hamburg. Second, if I don’t post before the 11th, good luck in the YN auction :)

Bibliography:

Coins from the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg – Numista

Hamburg | History, Population, Climate, & Facts | Britannica

History- Hamburg mint (Münze Hamburg)

Hamburg 2 mark coin (Gold mark) | Currency Wiki | Fandom

Comments

Kepi

Level 6

Informative blog! Thanks! ; )

Longstrider

Level 6

Very well done. Some nice coins there. Thanks.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

I have a number of nice old German coins from the 1800's from my Dad's mother who emigrated to the U.S. from Germany. I've treasured them but haven't done my due diligence in learning everything about them. This is a big help, thank you!

Mike

Level 7

They have great coins. I like this one. Your blog has many things I didn't know. I wish everyone wrote blogs like that thanks I learned today.

Golfer

Level 5

Beautiful coin. Germany has some history and the coins are amazing.

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