- Not to be confused with the Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt 2 mark coin.
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The 2 mark coin is a coin that was issued in two types by the Principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen in 1896 and 1905, during its time as a state of the German Empire and the reign of Prince Charles Gonthier (German: Karl Günther; 1830–1909). The first type of 1896 was minted as a standard circulation piece, whereas the second was created as a commemorative issued in 1905 to mark the Silver Jubilee (25th anniversary) of Gonthier's reign as Prince. Both types were struck at the Berlin Mint, which can be identified from the "A" mark on the obverses. The coins had a value equivalent to 2.00 gold mark prior to their eventual demonetization.
History[edit | edit source]
1896 coin[edit | edit source]
Two-mark coins had been allowed for circulation in the states of the German Empire since 1874, but Schwarzburg-Sondershausen did not exercise its prerogative to make such coins until 1896, nearly sixteen years into the reign of Prince Charles Gonthier. The mint utilized to produce the pieces was the Berlin Mint of the Kingdom of Prussia. The 2 mark coin of Gonthier has the same composition and measurements as the other contemporary 2 mark pieces of the period, having been made of .900 fine silver, weighing 11.111 grams, and measuring 28 millimeters in diameter and 2 millimeters in thickness. The edge reads "GOTT MIT UNS" (English: "God with us") and the piece is round in shape.
Displayed in the center of the coin's obverse is a right-facing, bearded and mustached illustration of Prince Charles Gonthier. The German legend "KARL GÜNTHER FÜRST Z. SCHWARZB. SONDERSH.", which is abbreviated for Karl Günther, Fürst zu Schwarzburg-Sondershausen (English: "Charles Gonthier, Prince of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen"), is inscribed along much of the rim of the piece, commencing in an upward direction at the bottom left periphery, curving downward at the top of the coin, and concluding at the obverse's lower right boundary. At the bottom of the coin, underneath the likeness of the Prince, is the "A" mint mark of Berlin in small print. Featured in the middle of the reverse is the Reichsadler of Kaiser William II (German: Wilhelm II; 1859–1941) – which consists of a large eagle with its head facing left and its wings outspread. Superimposed on its breast is an escutcheon bearing the coat of arms of Prussia, which is surrounded by the chain of the Order of the Black Eagle, an order of chivalry that has been awarded by Prussian monarchs since 1701. The German State Crown is shown above the eagle in the Reichsadler. The title of the German Empire in the country's official language – "DEUTSCHES REICH" – is printed along the rim of the coin, starting upward at the left of the obverse, arching downward at the top, and concluding at the upper right periphery. It is followed by the date "1896", which is inscribed at the right side of the reverse. Written counterclockwise at the bottom of the piece is the value "ZWEI MARK" (English: "Two mark"), separated from the state title and the year by two five-pointed stars. The rims of both sides of the coin are raised and decorated with a beaded border.
In total, approximately 50,190 examples of the coin were produced, including about 190 proofs. Additionally, in 1901 a small number of patterns bearing the same design were minted at Berlin, but none ever entered circulation.
1905 commemorative coin[edit | edit source]
On July 7, 1880, Prince Gonthier Frederick Charles II (German: Günther Friedrich Carl II; 1801–1889) abdicated due to an eye condition, and Charles Gonthier, his eldest son, succeeded his father as the Prince of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen. In 1905, on the occasion of Charles Gonthier's Silver Jubilee, the second (and final) 2 mark coin of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen was produced at Berlin and subsequently issued. It has the same composition and measurements as the 1896 piece, being made of .900 fine silver and having a mass of 11.111 grams, a diameter of 28 millimeters, and a thickness of 2 millimeters. The piece has medallic alignment and a reeded edge (140 reeds) and is round in shape.
A right-facing effigy of a bearded and mustached Charles Gonthier similar in design to the bust on the 1896 coin is engraved in the middle of the obverse. The legend "KARL GÜNTHER FÜRST Z. SCHWARZB. SONDERSH." is inscribed along the rim of the coin, starting at the lower left boundary and traveling clockwise until reaching the bottom right periphery of the piece. Underneath the likeness of the Prince is a laurel branch, and below that are the dates "1880", representing the start of Gonthier's reign, and "1905", signifying the year of production and the date of the Prince's Silver Jubilee. This branch takes the place of Berlin's "A" mint mark, which is not present on the piece. The rim of the obverse is raised and thin, and a dotted border is not included. The reverse of the coin is virtually identical in design to that of the 1896 piece, featuring the Reichsadler in the center and the state title of the German Empire, date of minting, and value along the rim. However, two versions of the reverse are known to exist: one with a thicker raised rim and another with a thinner one. The latter are generally more common.
A total of approximately 85,000 examples of the coin were produced: 67,000 "thin rim" pieces and 18,000 "thick rim" specimens. Of these, about 5,000 of the coins with thin rims and 5,000 of the coins with thicker rims were produced in proof quality. In addition, a small number of patterns were made at Berlin in 1901, but these never saw any circulation.
Notes and references[edit | edit source]
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation – GERMAN STATES SCHWARZBURG-SONDERSHAUSEN 2 Mark KM# 150 1896
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation – GERMAN STATES SCHWARZBURG-SONDERSHAUSEN 2 Mark KM# 152 1905 (thick)
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation – GERMAN STATES SCHWARZBURG-SONDERSHAUSEN 2 Mark KM# 153 1905 (thin)
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