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20 mark
Hessen Ernst Ludwig 20 Mk 1900
Coin of Ernst Louis
General information

Flag of the German Empire German Empire
Flagge Großherzogtum Hessen ohne Wappen Grand Duchy of Hesse



  • 18721874
  • 18921893
  • 18961903
  • 19051911
Measurements and composition

7.965 g


22.5 mm






Reichsadler, state title, value, year

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The 20 mark coin was first issued by the Grand Duchy of Hesse (Hesse-Darmstadt) in 1872, during the reign of Grand Duke Louis III (Ludwig III). This coin continued to be minted until 1873. A slightly altered variant was subsequently introduced in 1874. Louis IV succeeded his uncle as Grand Duke of Hesse in 1877, but a 20 mark coin featuring his image was not struck until 1892. In 1893, a year following the succession of Ernest Louis (Ernst Ludwig), a coin featuring the new monarch was issued. A likeness of Ernest Louis was displayed on all Hessian 20 mark coins until production of such coins ceased in the grand duchy in 1911.


Coins of Louis III[]

Hessen Ludwig III 20 Mark

Coin of Ludwig III

The first 20 mark coin of the Grand Duchy of Hesse was struck in 1872, during the 24th year of the reign of Grand Duke Louis III (Ludwig III). It had the standard composition and measurements of every standard 20 mark coin issued by the states of the German Empire at the time, having been composed of .900 fine gold, weighing about 7.965 grams, and measuring 22.5 millimeters in diameter. A right-facing portrait of Louis III was engraved on the obverse, partially encircled by a caption reading "LUDWIG III GROSHERZOG VON HESSEN". Directly underneath the likeness of the grand duke was an "H" mint mark, which indicated the coin was struck at the Darmstadt Mint. The Reichsadler of the German Empire was featured on the reverse (image), accompanied by the state title of the Second Reich (DEUTSCHES REICH), and oak branch, the coin's value (as "20 M."), and the year, with the numbers of the date, the inscription of the value, and the state title being separated by the heraldic eagle. The reverse was subsequently altered in 1874, and now featured a smaller variant of the Reichsadler that did not separate any text and a new inscription for the value, which now read "20 MARK". In addition, the oak branch present on the first issue was removed. A total of 704,000 examples were minted between 1872 and 1873, excluding the unrecorded number of proofs. These were followed by 134,000 coins of Louis III in 1874.

Coin of Louis IV[]

Hesse-Darmstadt Ludwig IV gold

Coin of Louis IV

Louis IV (Ludwig IV) succeeded his childless uncle as Grand Duke of Hesse in 1877. However, a coin featuring the new duke's likeness was not struck until the 15th (and final) year of his reign, 1892. A right-facing portrait of Louis IV was engraved on the obverse, accompanied by a legend reading "LUDWIG IV GROSHERZOG VON HESSEN" and an "A" mint mark, which indicated the coin was struck at the Berlin Mint in Prussia. Another element of the coin that was altered was the reverse. From 1874 to 1889, the Reichsadler present on all imperial German coinage was rather small and bore a large shield on its breast. However, in 1890 the heraldic eagle itself became larger while the shield was reduced in size. The 20 mark coin of Louis IV was only issued during 1892, and a total of at least 20,000 examples were struck, with an unknown number being minted in proof quality.

Coins of Ernest Louis[]

Ernst Ludwig gold 1893

1893 coin

Ernest Louis (Ernst Ludwig) succeeded his father as Grand Duke of Hesse on March 13, 1892, upon the latter's death. However, a coin featuring his likeness was not struck until a year after his reign begin, in 1893. A left-facing effigy of Ernest Louis was engraved on the obverse, accompanied by a legend reading "ERNST LUDWIG GROSHERZOG VON BADEN" and an "A" mint mark. Three varieties of the coin are recognized by the Standard Catalog of World Coins, and can be distinguished from one another by the year they were minted in and the portrait of the grand duke on the obverse. It featured the same reverse as the 20 mark coin of Louis IV, and retained its composition and measurements as well. Along the edge was an inscription reading "GOTT MIT UNS". At least 25,000 examples, excluding proofs, were struck in 1893, followed by 332,930 coins including 2930 proofs from 1896 to 1903, and at least 320,399 specimens from 1905 to 1911, including 399 proofs.


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German gold mark
Banknotes 5 ℳ10 ℳ20 ℳ50 ℳ100 ℳ1000 ℳ
Coins 1 ₰2 ₰5 ₰10 ₰20 ₰25 ₰50 ₰½ ℳ1 ℳ2 ℳ3 ℳ5 ℳ10 ℳ20 ℳ
Miscellaneous Bavarian MintBerlin State MintCoinage Act of 1873Darmstadt MintDresden MintFrankfurt MintHamburg MintHannover MintKarlsruhe State MintMuldenhütten MintReichsbankReichskassenscheinStuttgart State Mint
State coin issues
2 mark Anhalt (Anhalt-Dessau) • BadenBavariaBremenHamburgHesseLippeLübeckMecklenburg-SchwerinMecklenburg-StrelitzOldenburgPrussiaReuss Elder Line (Reuss-Obergreiz) • Reuss Younger Line (Reuss-Schleiz) • Saxe-AltenburgSaxe-Coburg-GothaSaxe-MeiningenSaxe-Weimar-EisenachSaxony (Saxony-Albertine) • Schaumburg-LippeSchwarzburg-RudolstadtSchwarzburg-SondershausenWürttemberg
3 mark AnhaltBadenBavariaBrunswickHamburgHesseLippeLübeckMecklenburg-SchwerinMecklenburg-StrelitzPrussiaReuss Elder LineSaxe-MeiningenSaxe-Weimar-EisenachSaxonySchaumburg-LippeSchwarzburg-SondershausenWürttemberg
5 mark AnhaltBadenBavariaBremenBrunswickHamburgHesseLübeckMecklenburg-SchwerinOldenburgPrussiaSaxe-AltenburgSaxe-Coburg-GothaSaxe-MeiningenSaxe-Weimar-EisenachSaxonySchaumburg-LippeWaldeck-PyrmontWürttemberg
10 mark AnhaltBadenBavariaBremenHamburgHesseLübeckMecklenburg-SchwerinMecklenburg-StrelitzOldenburgPrussiaReuss Younger LineSaxe-Coburg-GothaSaxe-MeiningenSaxonySchwarzburg-RudolstadtWürttemberg
20 mark AnhaltBadenBavariaBremenBrunswickHamburgHesseMecklenburg-SchwerinMecklenburg-StrelitzPrussiaReuss Elder LineReuss Younger LineSaxe-AltenburgSaxe-Coburg-GothaSaxe-MeiningenSaxe-Weimar-EisenachSaxonySchaumburg-LippeSchwarzburg-SondershausenWaldeck-PyrmontWürttemberg