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The 2 mark coin is a circulation piece that was issued intermittently in three main types by the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen from 1901 to 1915, during the country's time as a state of the German Empire. The first two types were made during the reign of Duke George II (German: Georg II; 1826–1914). In 1901, on the occasion of the duke's 75th birthday, Saxe-Meiningen introduced its first 2 mark piece, which was followed in 1902 by a circulation coin that would again be minted in 1913. The final type, made in 1915 under the rule of Duke Bernard III (German: Bernhard III; 1851–1928), was struck in commemoration of George II's death the previous year. All 2 mark coins of Saxe-Meiningen were produced at the Munich Mint in Bavaria, as can be identified from the presence of a "D" mark on the obverses. Prior to eventual demonetization, the pieces had a legal tender face value equivalent to 2.00 gold mark, and later 2.00 Papiermark.
1901 commemorative coinEdit
On April 2, 1826, George II was born in Meiningen to Duke Bernard II of Saxe-Meiningen (German: Bernhard II; 1800–1882) and Duchess Marie Frederica Wilhelmina of Hesse-Kassel (1804–1888). In 1901 the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen utilized for the first time its prerogative to issue silver 2 and 5 mark coins in order to commemorate George's 75th birthday. The mint selected to produce such coins was the Munich facility in the neighboring Kingdom of Bavaria. The 2 mark coin of 1901 has the same composition and measurements as the contemporary pieces of the denomination that circulated in the German Empire, being made of .900 fine silver (90% silver, 10% copper) and having a mass of 11.111 grams, a diameter of 28 millimeters, and a thickness of 2 millimeters. It has medallic alignment and a reeded edge (with 140 reeds), and like most coins, is round in shape.
Featured in the center of the obverse is a left-facing bust of Duke George II with a long beard and a mustache on his lip. Accompanying this illustration along the rim is the German legend "GEORG II HERZOG V. SACHSEN-MEININGEN", an abbreviated form of Georg II, Herzog von Sachsen-Meiningen, which translates to English as "George II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen". Unlike on most 2 mark coins from the time, the legend commences in an upward direction at the bottom of the piece, as opposed to at the lower left periphery. It then arches downward at the top of the obverse and concludes at the bottom right rim. Also engraved at the bottom periphery, next to "GEORG", is a small, decorative floral-like design. Most contemporary German 2 mark coins include the mark of the producing mint at the bottom of the obverse, but because that space is occupied on the 1901 piece of Saxe-Meiningen, the "D" representing Munich is inscribed in small print roughly between the truncation of the duke's bust and the "O" in "GEORG". Displayed in the middle of the reverse is the Reichsadler of Kaiser William II (German: Wilhelm II; 1859–1941) – which consists of an eagle with its wings outspread and its head facing left. On the eagle's breast is an escutcheon bearing the coat of arms of Prussia, 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 present above the eagle's head. The state title of the German Empire in German – "DEUTSCHES REICH" – is inscribed in a clockwise direction along the rim of the piece, starting at the coin's left boundary and concluding at the upper right periphery. It is followed by the date "1901", which is engraved at the right side of the reverse. The value "ZWEI MARK" (English: "Two mark") is written in a counterclockwise direction at the bottom of the piece, separated from the state title and date by two five-pointed stars. Both of the coin's rims are raised and decorated with a beaded boundary.
A total of approximately 20,000 examples of the coin were produced, with an unknown number struck with a proof finish. In addition, a handful of silver patterns bearing the same designs were made in 1900 at Munich, but were never put into circulation.
General issue coin (1902–1913)Edit
A general issue 2 mark coin was introduced by the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen in 1902, and would eventually circulate alongside similar 3 and 5 mark pieces. After nearly eleven years, it was produced a final time in 1913. As with the 1901 coin, the later 2 mark coin of Duke George II was produced at the mint in Munich, Bavaria. The general issue piece also has the same composition and measurements as the earlier coin, 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. It has medallic alignment and a reeded edge (with 140 reeds), and is round in shape.
A left-facing bust of Duke George II with his signature long beard is present in the center of the obverse. This illustration, which is similar in design to the bust on the earlier 1901 piece, exists in two varieties that differ by the length of the duke's beard. A "long bearded" bust, which only occurs on 1902 specimens, shows George's facial hair extending very close to the dotted border around the rim, whereas his facial hair on the "short bearded" likeness, which is displayed on some 1902 coins and all 1913 examples, does not continue as far towards the rim. Inscribed along the periphery of the obverse is the German legend "GEORG II HERZOG VON SACHSEN-MEININGEN", which starts in an upward direction at the coin's lower left boundary, arches downward at the top of the piece, and concludes at the bottom right rim. The "D" mint mark of Munich is present underneath the duke's likeness, at the very bottom of the coin. The reverse of the piece is virtually identical to that of the 1901 commemorative, with the exception of the date. William II's Reichsadler is depicted in the middle, and is accompanied by the state title "DEUTSCHES REICH", the year of minting, and the value "ZWEI MARK" along the outer periphery, with the value separated from the state title and date by two five-pointed stars. Both rims of the general circulation coin of Saxe-Meiningen are raised and decorated with a beaded border.
Over two years of production, only about 25,000 examples of the coin were minted: 20,000[note 1] in 1902 and about 5,000 in 1913. In addition, a small number of proofs were struck for 1913.
Death of George coin (1915)Edit
George II died at the age of 88 during a stay at Bad Wildungen, Waldeck, on June 25, 1914. Per the order of succession, he was succeeded as Duke of Saxe-Meiningen by his eldest son, Bernard III. In commemoration and respect for the previous monarch, 2 and 3 mark coins were authorized to be produced at Munich in 1915, a year after George's death. The 2 mark piece produced by Saxe-Meiningen that year was the last of its denomination to be made in all of the German Empire, as the other states had ceased minting of the 2 mark coin as late as 1914. Such a coin is composed of .900 fine silver, weighs 11.111 grams, and measures 28 millimeters in diameter and 2 millimeters in thickness. It has medallic alignment and a reeded edge (with 140 reeds), and is round in shape.
The left-facing, "short bearded" bust of George II from the general circulation coin is featured in the middle of the obverse, and is accompanied by the legend "GEORG II HERZOG VON SACHSEN-MEININGEN" around the rim. Such a legend travels in a clockwise direction, commencing at the coin's lower left boundary and concluding at the bottom right periphery of the obverse. Inscribed at the bottom of the piece are the dates "⋆1826 †1914", the "⋆1826" representing the date of George II's birth and the "†1914" identifying the year of his passing. The reverse is identical to that of the earlier 2 mark coins of Saxe-Meiningen, excluding the year. The Reichsadler of William II is engraved in the center and surrounded by the state title "DEUTSCHES REICH", the date "1915", and the value "ZWEI MARK", with the value separated from the other text and the year by two five-pointed stars. The rims on both sides of the coin are raised and decorated with a beaded border.
In total, only about 30,000 examples of the coin were produced, in addition to an unknown number struck with a proof finish. The mint in Munich also developed a small number of patterns bearing similar designs, but these never saw any circulation.
- ↑ This number includes both "long" and "short" beard examples.
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation website
- Numista (English) (French)
- Museum of Money of Feodosia – Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen
- Liste der Silbermünzen des deutschen Kaiserreichs on the German (Deutsch) Wikipedia
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