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I was always impressed with this coin

Started by tonyclayton, July 08, 2009, 10:45:53 AM

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I first went to the continent with my father in 1961, when he had a business trip to Germany and Holland (I acted as his secretary and arranged all the travel). I was greatly impressed with the large Dutch 2 and a half guilder coins at the time, and when my father died I found this one amongst his effects which clearly dated from that trip.
I also found the German 5 marks that follows.


The Dutch were less impressed with the coin It was smaller, lighter and less fine silver than the pre-war coins of that denomination. Yet, it was progress, compared to the paper notes of 1 and 2-1/2 gulden that circulated before and as such considered a step forward.

A peculiarity of this design is the diamond hair net the queen is wearing. Dutch rulers usually don't wear a crown on their coins but Wilhelmina would sneak in a tiara or so looking suspiciously like a crown, especially on the 1948 series. Juliana was determined to be a whole lot less officious than her mother, which may have saved the Dutch royal house some of the trouble befalling the British royal house. I think the hair net was a good compromise. Ironically, the present queen has swung the pendulum back to more formal again, but she's bare headed on the coins.

The German coin has a similar history: first silver after the second world war, but clearly not equivalent to pre-war silver. Both countries had suffered extensive infrastructural damage in wartime, had climbed out of the hole and in the early sixties, they were enjoying economic boom times that would last until the first oil crisis.

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


Shows that the Dutch government had or has a somewhat more pragmatic approach when it comes to coins. :) The 2 1/2 gulden coins were silver/38mm first (until 1940/43), then silver/33mm for a few years (1959-66) as depicted here, then nickel/29mm. The relative silver content was reduced around 1900 (from 945 to 720) but then stayed the same until the introduction of the nickel pieces.

As for Germany, in the German Empire the 5 M coins were Ag 900 and 38mm, then (Weimar Republic) Ag 500 and 36mm, and (nazi coinage) Ag 900 and 29mm. The Federal Republic of Germany adopted that latter size for the 5 DM silver circulation coin (1951-74) but the silver content was 625 only.

When I was younger, I always found the Dutch 2.50 nickel coins "too big". Same material (well, Ni vs Cu-Ni/Magnimat) and same size as the 5 DM coins that I used most of the time, but worth considerably less. I thought, why don't they use some of that material to make the dubbeltjes (10 ct) bigger? ;)



Makes sense. I think that, coin-wise, there were three worldwide trends in the 50's, 60's and '70s of the previous century:

- from precious metals to harder and cheaper metals
- from very small and very large to medium sized coins
- from all kinds of systems to decimal 1-2-5 systems

The use of silver was a leftover from LMU-thought: large silver coins as standard coins. Both Germany and the Netherlands used only token amounts of silver in their largest denominations, but even that was superfluous and the Hunt brothers, trying to corner the silver market, put an end to that.

Dutch coins were smaller than pre-war coins (except the 10 and 25 cent), but as you note, too small and too lage continued to be issued. German coins were much better, except the "silver" 5 DM. The big difference here is that the gulden never ceased to exist. Lieftinck's financial policies restored it. However, the DM is not the equivalent of the Reichsmark, which had collapsed completely. The DM was a new start, so there was more freedom to play with coin sizes.

For the same reason, Germany had a 1-2-5 system early on, while in the Netherlands that had to wait until after the introduction of the euro.

Two countries, separated by a common history?

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


Quote from: Figleaf on August 04, 2009, 05:38:06 PM
The DM was a new start, so there was more freedom to play with coin sizes.

Oddly enough most DM coins had the same size as (Weimar and Nazi) RM coins. In the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany, the 50 Pf nickel coin had a diameter of 20 mm - same as the Federal Republic's piece. The 5 mark coin even had the same diameter in Nazi Germany before WW2, in the Federal Republic of Germany and even in the GDR (East G.) - always 29 mm. Maybe the wish to continue a "tradition" is even stronger if there is no such continuity?

QuoteTwo countries, separated by a common history?

Guess that applies to quite a few neighboring European countries ... As for the 1-2-5 system, well, the German Empire actually had a "quarter" for a few years: 100 years ago, a "25 Pfennig" coin was introduced, in addition to the 50 Pf and Half Mark pieces that had been around for a couple of years. People did not like them though, they were not used much, and production ended after four years. No kwartjes please, we're German. ;)



Funny though! France has had the 1-2-5 system for ages, but after the introduction of the Euro they've issued several coins with a face value of ¼ Euro (Euro kwartjes!) in 2002. The price at issue was quite higher, however.
Over half a century of experience as a coin collector.
Money is like body fat: If there's too much of it, it always is in the wrong places.


Problem is, what denomination do you pick if 0.20 and 0.50 are already "taken" by actual (ie. euro circulation) coins? Unless you choose face values above €2, you get results such as 0.25 or 1.50 ...

Design wise I liked (and like) the Dutch coin depicted here better than the German one. I've always found it peculiar that one side of the 5 DM coin had all the text while on the other side there is nothing but the eagle. In that regard (only), I liked the later (Cu-Ni) pieces better.

The Dutch 2.50 coin continued a design that had basically been around for many years before. Thus nothing excitingly new (that came later, with Beatrix's coins), but a classic design - and one with a better "balance" of obverse and reverse.