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Two "pattern" coins that portray Adolf Hitler - are they genuine?

Started by <k>, March 17, 2011, 09:11:23 PM

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<k>

Collectors sometimes ask whether Adolf Hitler appeared on any of the coins of Nazi Germany. His portrait appeared on many stamp issues, not just in Germany but in Poland ("General Government") and in the Nazi "protectorate" of Bohemia and Moravia. However, his effigy never graced any German coin. This is surprising, given Nazi philosophy.

Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, but after the head of state, President Hindenburg, died in 1934, he proclaimed himself "Führer" of Germany. "Führer" means "leader" of course, but there was no constitutional precedent in Germany for such a bombastic title. Nazism was above all a hierarchical system, and the constitution under Hitler even stated that "The Führer's will is law". Given the Nazis' adherence to "the leader principle", and the party propaganda with which they saturated Germany, you would think that a portrait of their Führer on the coins would have been obligatory. For whatever reason, that was not the case.
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<k>

Hitler pattern.jpg


There are however images on the internet that show alleged pattern coins depicting Hitler.

The one above certainly has an official and authentic look about it.

It is dated 1942 and shows a face value of 5 Reichsmark.

It was apparently presented to Hitler in his East Prussian headquarters on the Eastern front.

He apparently stated that his head should only appear on the coins after Germany had won the war.
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<k>

Germany_pattern Hitler_1933.jpg


The object illustrated below was found on the internet, and was assumed to be another pattern coin showing Hitler. The reverse depicts the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. There are several reasons why I doubt its authenticity. First of all, the artistic quality is very poor. Those coins that were issued under Hitler are hardly noted for their beauty or tastefulness, but there is an amateurish quality here that goes way beyond that of any issued Third Reich coin.

Secondly, the piece is dated 1933, when President Hindenburg was still alive and head of state. There is no way that etiquette would have allowed Hitler, then merely Chancellor, to be portrayed on a coin rather than the head of state. For that same reason, in Fascist Italy it was only ever the King who was depicted on Italy's coins, never Mussolini. There is a possibility that it was meant to be a commemorative piece, celebrating Hitler's rise to power in 1933, and that the actual year of issue, which could have been after 1934, would have been added later. However, the scalloped inner rim of the Hitler piece looks far too modern, and surely no such piece would ever have been issued in the 1930s. The piece is said to consist of one third gold, but I am convinced it is a fantasy, whatever its intrinsic value.
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<k>

To view a related topic that deals with dictators who have been portrayed on legal tender coins, click on the link below:

Dictators on Coins
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Figleaf

I agree that the second piece is very likely to be a fantasy. I find the 5 Reichsmark somewhat doubtful also. KM lists four variants (Pn 385-388). The only one that has a mintmark A (Pn 388) is described as "Steel helmet in laurel wreath". If we would assume an error in KM on the mintmark, it could be Pn 385. However, this piece remains undescribed. I presume that KM's list is based on local research...

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

RVCOINS

As I can remember this was a trail strike for the 5 Mark types for circulations.  The mintage is 2 pieces.

THe gold 100 mark is made from lower gold.  The coin was 5 years ago offered on germancoins.com (an american side) for 1200 dollars, mintage only 4 pieces.

As I collected only one coin of every issuing authority I was interested but not for that kind of money.

regards

Roland
 

<k>

In 1933, the Nazis would have been very busy consolidating their power. I don't think they would have found the time to liaise with the mint and produce even a trial dated 1933. As I said above, it's possible that 1933 was just the commemorative date, and that a later year would have been added for the issue year. However, because of all the other reasons I've mentioned, I don't believe it's a genuine piece. Somebody with too much time and money obviously decided to have a fantasy piece minted.

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<k>

I've had a response from a poster on newsgroup RCC, who said:

The 1933 gold piece is listed in "Unusual World Coins" by Colin Bruce as catalog number X# Pn21.  Bruce states that it was "possibly produced in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1959 as souvenirs for German veterans". A similar (larger) piece also exists, denominated 100 reichsmark.

He adds "The 1942 piece does not look right. The lettering style was used on no other Third Reich coins. Why would the German mint not use the standard 5 mark reverse? There are plenty of fantasy stories that accompany fantasy coins. None of these are accepted as authentic by German collectors."
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chrisild

Quote from: coffeetime on March 20, 2011, 06:26:03 PM
The lettering style was used on no other Third Reich coins. Why would the German mint not use the standard 5 mark reverse?

First, there is no such thing as "the" German mint (even though in the German Empire, Berlin was the biggest one). And then, why would they want to use, on a 1942 pattern, the same "Fraktur" blackletter type that according to the nazi government (1941) was to be phased out?

Christian

<k>

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chrisild

All I know is that the winner of that "design contest" was Hermann Müller-Erfurt. That could very well have been the design that he submitted. At least the piece is in line with the conditions regarding the script (Antiqua instead of Fraktur) and the portrait of A.H. without a name ...

Christian

<k>

It did look genuine to me at first, but the correspondent I quoted gave me doubts. Your comments have re-convinced me of its authenticity, however.
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chrisild

The background information that I have about the "Hitler coin that never was" is somewhat mixed, but then again I collect coins, not patterns or design studies. The Jaeger catalog (Die deutschen Münzen seit 1871) says that in 1941 artists were asked to design 2 and 5 RM pieces with Hitler's portrait, that 13 designs for a 5 RM piece, plus 7 designs for a 2 RM piece, were submitted, and that Müller-Erfurt's design was accepted.

Helmut Caspar (Vom Taler zum Euro) dedicates two pages to that design, and also shows the image that you posted here. He writes that 8 designers were invited to participate, and I assume that the piece depicted in the book was made based on the winning design. Now whether that would have been the coin to be issued after the "final victory", I have no idea. Ah well, US collectors who are interested in German coins only if they have swastikas have lots of genuine pieces (sans Hitler) and fantasy issues (with his mug) to choose from. ;D

Christian

<k>

Quote from: chrisild on April 23, 2011, 09:49:25 AM
The background information that I have about the "Hitler coin that never was" is somewhat mixed, but then again I collect coins, not patterns or design studies.

Christian

An interest in patterns is somewhat of an elitist pursuit, I'll grant you, 8) but they are also part of numismatic history, and then again, I do collect coins too. :P 

Whilst the common herd devote themselves to euros and the like, I have done my bit for the more esoteric parts of the hobby, being the first to dig out the subject descriptions (including scientific species names) for the mysterious 1975 Mozambique set, and attributing designers to coins where they were previously unknown (and releasing the information to numismaster), as well as being the first to bring to the internet the controversial history of the Northern Irish two pence that never was. Not all of us can be pioneers, of course.  ;)

Anyway, I thank you for your information in the previous post, which is well worth knowing.  8)
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chrisild

Oh, I do appreciate what you have done (and written about) regarding the history and stories behind lots of coin designs. (Maybe I should express that by posting some oohs and aahs more often. ;) )  I was just trying to explain why I don't really know much about those 5 RM patterns.

As for the Antiqua vs Fraktur question, well, I guess that people who know Fraktur from nazi coins only would probably find it normal that even designs dated 1942 should have Fraktur. Except that Hitler ("qua" Bormann) had already decided in January 1941 that Fraktur was "Jewish" (which is BS of course) and that Antiqua should be the German type from then on. That would of course be reflected on future coins as well.

There are two reasons for the change of mind: Hitler did apparently not like Fraktur (which had been in use along with Antiqua for a long time) very much, but many nazis thought it was specifically German. Also, in the occupied countries Fraktur was hard to read. Then again, such changes cost money, and their war was more important to them than modifying street signs, schoolbooks ... or existing coins.

Christian