Author Topic: Saarland Coins and Currency  (Read 508 times)

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Offline chrisild

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Saarland Coins and Currency
« on: December 21, 2019, 09:27:53 PM »


Unissued Saarland pattern coins of 1935.

(Another image is further below.)



Many of you will know that 30 years ago, in October 1990, the six states that used to be the German Democratic Republic (East Germany.) joined the Federal Republic of Germany which had been founded in May 1949. Many years earlier however – on 1 January 1957 – another state had become part of the Federal Republic: Saarland.

At the end of World War 1 the territory – roughly the same area as today's Saarland – had become a League of Nations mandate (formally as from 1920). It was to be under French administration for 15 years. In those years, French money was used in the Saar territory.

In the January 1935 referendum, more than 90 percent of the voters in the "Saargebiet" opted for being part of the Deutsches Reich again. At that time, Germany was already a nazi dictatorship, but several years of campaigning, by pretty much all Saar parties, for a unification resulted in precisely that.

So as from 1 March 1935 the territory was German again. There were plans to issue a commemorative coin on that occasion (see the two design options below), but in those years Nazi Germany did not want to alienate France this way.

 
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 08:18:57 PM by <k> »

Offline chrisild

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2019, 09:30:00 PM »


This map is adapted from Wikipedia.

It highlights the French occupation zone and (in lighter blue) the Saar.



After World War 2 Germany was divided into four occupation zones (US, UK, USSR, France). In 1946 the Saar was split off from the French zone, with a few territorial changes, and got a different status. The map from Wikipedia highlights the French zone, in South-West Germany, and (in lighter blue) the Saar. In June 1947 the "Saar-Mark" replaced the Reichsmark, at a 1-1 exchange rate.

No Saar-Mark coins were issued, just six paper denominations (1, 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 Mark). See the image below; for details look here. Also see reply 16 in this topic. - In late 1947 Saarland got a new constitution which emphasized the sort-of-autonomous status: The territory was not German, not an independent country, but not simply part of France either.



« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 08:12:14 PM by <k> »

Offline chrisild

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2019, 09:31:57 PM »


The Saarland coinage.



At the same time, the Saar-Mark was done away with – on 15 November 1947 the French franc became the territory‘s currency. It replaced the Mark at a "political" exchange rate; people got 20 francs for 1 mark. According to the purchasing power, something like 40-1 would have been more adequate, but that would have caused protests in Alsace and Lorraine. (Apparently they got similarly bad exchange rates when these territories became French again in 1944.) Besides, compared to the 1948 currency reform in the Western German occupation zones, the rate was not all that bad.

For a few years the French franc coins and notes were the only cash that circulated in Saarland. In the mid-1950s however the territory got "its own" coins. Note the inverted commas: Those were not a separate currency but basically franc pieces – with the same specifications as the franc coins, but they had special designs.

In 1954 the 10, 20 and 50 francs (Franken) coins were produced by the French mint and issued in Saarland; one year later the 100 Franken piece followed. The coins were designed by Theo Siegle and Bruno Koppelkamm (Saarland) and engraved by Pierre Turin (France), see here.

 
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 08:14:58 PM by <k> »

Offline chrisild

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2019, 09:34:27 PM »
All coins feature Saarland's coat of arms in the center; the three aluminum-bronze coins show steel works on the left and a coal mine tower on the right. The copper-nickel 100 Franken coin shows some kind of steel truss around the coat of arms. Now as mentioned before, that latter piece was issued in 1955 – later that same year however (23 October) people in Saarland voted, in a referendum, against a planned "European status" of the Saar.

In fact, Saarland‘s government had already made plans to turn the territory into a European administration region. But most voters, roughly 67 percent, were against this Saarstatut (Saar Statute), and that was (rightfully) interpreted as a wish to join the Federal Republic of Germany. New French-German negotiations followed, and in January 1957 Saarland was part of Germany. The economic integration took a little longer though – on 6 July 1959 the French franc was replaced by the Deutsche Mark in Saarland.

Interestingly, there were (once again) plans to commemorate Saarland's integration by issuing a special coin on that occasion. But once again, this was not done due to, hmm, political considerations. If I can come up with images, I'll be back later.



Links and sources:
Kurt Jaeger, Die deutschen Münzen seit 1871
Helmut Caspar, Vom Taler zum Euro
Gerhard Schön, Kleiner deutscher Münzkatalog
Saar-Geld: Die verschiedenen Währungen im Saarland

Christian

 
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 08:14:25 PM by <k> »

Offline chrisild

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2019, 09:57:32 PM »


Saarland pattern piece of 1958.



This is the design, by Karl Roth, that won the "Homecoming of the Saar" contest. It features the Alter Turm (Old Tower) in Mettlach, Saarland. This building was part of an abbey and is from shortly before 1000 AD. The piece is dated 1958 but was not issued.





The Old Tower.



Here is an image from Wikipedia that shows the tower these days.

Christian

 
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 08:21:52 PM by <k> »

Offline chrisild

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2019, 10:03:09 PM »
Fifty years later the coin was finally issued. ;) Errm, not quite. But in 2007 Germany issued a €10 collector coin that commemorated the 50th anniversary of Saarland becoming a state of the Federal Republic. See here; link only as this is not really about Saarland's money any more ...

Special thanks to <k> who pushed inspired me to finally write this thing.

Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2019, 09:20:25 AM »
Thank you for this nice Christmas gift, Christian. It is much appreciated. Thanks also to <k> for motivating Christian! It is only when you start writing that you realise you need to check things you thought you knew. May this in turn inspire others. I wouldn't mind a short thread on British Indian famine tokens, for instance. The illustrations are already on this site.

I like the Roth design! It has depth, it is politically neutral, yet reflects the pride of the area in its history. Very much better than the strident designs in the first post.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline <k>

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2019, 01:59:48 PM »
Excellent overview. Thank you, Christian.

I didn't know about those proposed designs of 1935 and 1958. In the first case, the Nazis issued masses of propaganda stamps to celebrate every Pyrrhic victory, so they probably found these far easier and quicker to produce than coins. After World War 2, the Germans were probably more keen not to seem to be triumphal about anything. But the proposed 1958 commemorative design is indeed attractive in its simplicity.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2019, 02:19:39 PM »


The German 10 euro commemorative of 2007.

Image courtesy of Muenzen.eu.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2019, 02:20:25 PM »


The German 2 euro commemorative of 2009.



The Ludwigskirche in Old Saarbrücken, Germany, is a Lutheran baroque-style church. It is the symbol of the city and isregarded as one of the most important Protestant churches in Germany.

 
« Last Edit: December 23, 2019, 08:06:19 PM by <k> »
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Offline <k>

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2019, 02:23:05 PM »
The copper-nickel 100 Franken coin shows some kind of steel truss around the coat of arms.

According to Wikipedia, the "truss" is actually a gear wheel.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2019, 01:28:20 PM »


Another proposed but unissued design, Germany, 1935.

Image courtesy of Dr. Gerhard Schön.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2019, 01:49:07 PM by <k> »
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Offline <k>

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2019, 01:30:47 PM »


Saarland, 100 Franken, 1955.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2019, 01:32:23 PM »


Saarland, 100 Franken, 1955.  Pattern piece.


Image courtesy of Dr. Gerhard Schön.



This was one of several pattern pieces. On the issued coin design, the lines between the letters that spell "SAARLAND" are extended.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2019, 01:49:58 PM by <k> »
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Offline <k>

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Re: Saarland Coins and Currency
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2019, 01:36:18 PM »


A restrike of the 1958 pattern. Obverse.


Image courtesy of Dr. Gerhard Schön.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2019, 01:50:16 PM by <k> »
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