Coinyoshi's Blog

30 Mar 2022

Coins of the German States: Saxony

Young Numismatists Exchange | Coinyoshi

Hello and welcome to another Coins of the German States blog! Two things before I get started: First, the coin in the picture is not in my collection. Second, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt are two different states. I got confused about that while writing this. I might do a German States blog on the latter in the future. (It's nice because I get to choose what to write about here, unlike in school!)

Saxony has a very interesting (albeit long and complicated) history. It was an electorate in the Holy Roman Empire for hundreds of years until it became a kingdom, and then part of the German Empire. And, what better way to tell this history than through coins?

Saxony was an electorate of the HRE from 1356-1806. It used two monetary systems. The first, which was used from 1356-1492, was the Saxon Pfennig. I would usually put the monetary system and its translations here, but I was not able to find the denominations except for the Pfennig. The second was the First Saxon Thaler, which was used from 1492-1806. Most of the coins were fractional thalers, but the more expensive ducats and the less expensive pfennigs, groschens, and fractional groschens were used as well. The Kingdom of Saxony formed in 1806. From 1806-1873, the Second Saxon Thaler invented by the Kingdom was used. It is a very complicated system with many denominations and fractions, too many to explain here. From 1873-1917, the Saxons used a monetary system I can actually explain: the decimal-based German mark.

One coin I found interesting while doing this research was the 3 Ducat coin of Prince-Elector Johann Georg III. (I love these German States gold coins! Picture attached to the post). The coin was minted by the Electorate of Saxony and is made from 10.2 grams of .986 gold, which is about $621 in today's money. On the obverse, there is a bust of the Prince-Elector surrounded by his noble title. The reverse shows a crowned coat of arms of Saxony with two palm leaves. All of this is surrounded by the date and words that I cannot translate (even though I have tried. If anyone can figure it out let me know).

The first official centralized mint in Saxony was the Dresden mint, commissioned by Elector Augustus in the mid-1500s. It minted the coins for the Electorate of Saxony (including the one in the picture) until 1887, when the mint moved to the small town of Müldenhutten. An interesting fact about the Dresden mint was that the people who worked there were some of the first people to work on medal art. The mint at Müldenhuttenminted coins for most of the countries in "modern German history". The kingdom of Saxony, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet-controlled East Germany all minted coins there. It was closed in 1954 when the Soviet Union stopped coins from being commissioned there. Now, the mint has fallen into disrepair and is now owned by an aluminum company, of all things.

Hope you enjoyed that. Thanks for reading, happy collecting, and have a nice day!

Learn more:

Numista search - Kingdom of Saxony, Electorate of Saxony

Currency Wiki - Muddelhutten Mint



Level 5

Nice detailed blog. Thanks for the lesson.

Long Beard

Level 5

History through coinage. What an excellent piece of work!


Level 6

Great blog. Enjoyed reading it! Keep up the good work! ; )

AC coin$

Level 6

Great story behind your blog. Good lesson in Numismatics. Good job.


Level 6

I believe some of the Smithsonian collection is on line. I could be wrong. Excellent job. Thanks, I learned from your work.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Thanks again for a really interesting blog. I hope you continue with these. A blog like this is what I enjoy reading!


Level 7

First great blog! I enjoyed it. I didn't know a few things so I learned today! Second there is the waiver then the Vault. The vault has our most greatest pattern coins and rarest coins. You have to know someone who knows someone to get near it. That's were I want to go. The author Jeff Garrett was given access to it to do research.. Thanks for the blog!!


Level 4

One more thing: I was in DC last week and we were going to go to the Smithsonian to see the coins and historical artifacts, but the line was almost an hour long and we had to move on. Can someone who has seen the Smithsonian coin exhibit tell me about it?

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