MA-Shops offers a wide variety of ancient, classic and modern world and U.S. coins, and a list of the top five highest hammer prices at any given time often reflects this variety.
Last week, however, belonged to the Germans.
Here are the top five coins sold on MA-Shops.com for the week of December 8-15, 2015:
- GERMAN EAST AFRICA: 1916-T Gold 15 Rupees. EF
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the colonial powers of Europe “scrambled” to invade and control large swaths of Africa. Germany occupied disparate portions of the continent that centered around what would become the countries of Togo, Cameroon, Namibia, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. The last three were part of the colony of Tanganyika, otherwise known as German East Africa.
This 15-rupee gold coin was a low-mintage emergency issue minted in Tabora, a city in the interior of what is now Tanzania. Two varieties of this coin were produced: one where the curlicue or dendril terminates under the ‘T’ of OSTAFRIKA and one where the same curlicue ends under the first ‘A’. Only 9,803 coins of the first variety were manufactured, of which this is an EF (Extremely Fine) example.
The obverse features the imperial eagle as found on the coat of arms of the German Empire between 1889 and 1918. The inscription DEUTSCH OSTAFRIKA (German East Africa) forms a semicircle above the eagle while 15 RUPIEN (15 Rupees) runs along underneath. The reverse features a somewhat crudely rendered African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) calling mid-stride. Beneath her is a small patch of grassland, the year 1916, and the ‘T’ mint mark; behind her are lightly modeled mountains that provide surprising depth to the design. Two clover-shaped quatrefoil patterns rest between the beginning and end of each inscription. Dots or dentils line the rim on both sides
Sold for: US$4,196.94
- GERMAN, ANHALT-BERNBURG: 1796 Prince Alexius Friedrich Christian Gold 5 Thaler. About EF
Prince Alexius Friedrich Christian became ruler of the German principality of Anhalt-Bernburg in 1796, the year of issue for this 5-Taler gold coin. Naturally it is his bust (adorned with militaria and facing left) that is portrayed on the obverse. Starting in the bottom left quadrant and running clockwise around his effigy is the inscription ALEXIUS FRIED[RICH] CHRISTIAN FURST ZU ANHALT (Alexius Freidrich Christian Prince to/of Anhalt).
The reverse features the coat of arms of Anhalt-Bernburg with a crown on top and crossed palms under and to either side. The initials of engraver Hans Schluter (HS) are found separated beneath the central motif, and located under that are both the denomination (5.THALER) and the date (1796).
The coin consists of 6.68 grams of .900 fine gold and is in About Extremely Fine condition.
Sold for: US$4,632.99
- GERMAN, SAXONY: 1880-E Albert of Saxony 2-Mark Coin. BU
Albert of Saxony was King of Saxony from 1873 to 1902. He was also a member of the House of Wettin; a 5-mark silver coin featuring King Albert’s effigy and commemorating the 800th anniversary of the noble house was discussed briefly in an earlier update on MA-Shops.
This 2-mark coin consists of .900 fine silver and was minted in Muldenhütten (hence the ‘E’ mint mark under the truncation of Albert’s neck). The inscription ALBERT KOENIG VON SACHSEN (Albert King of Saxony) encircles the portrait on the obverse.
The reverse features the imperial eagle from the German coat of arms and the inscription DEUTSCHES REICH (German Empire), the year 1880 and the denomination ZWEI MARK (Two Mark). Five-pointed stars are set to either side of the denomination.
The coin is listed as being in BU (Brilliant Uncirculated) condition.
Sold for: US$4,905.52
- GERMAN, PRUSSIA: 1888-A Kaiser Wilhelm I 20-Mark Gold Coin. Proof
Many people are familiar with the name Kaiser Wilhelm. Wilhelm I was the King of Prussia (ruled 1861-1888) and the first emperor (kaiser, from Caesar) of the German Empire (r. 1871-1888). He was crowned while the Franco-Prussian War raged across the Rhine. He is perhaps more famous for his working relationship with master statesman Otto von Bismarck, who engineered the unification of the German states into a powerful empire and maintained the order of things, frequently called “peace”, in Europe during the final decades of the Victorian Era.
This .900 fine gold coin is alloyed with copper, which produces a beautiful sun-kissed orange color as well as increasing the coin’s durability. The obverse shows Wilhelm surrounded by the inscription WILHELM DEUTSCHER KAISER KOENIG V. PREUSSEN (Wilhelm German Emperor King of Prussia). Beneath the truncation of his neck is the mint mark ‘A’, signifying Berlin. The reverse features the imperial eagle and the inscription DEUTSCHES REICH 1888. The denomination 20 MARK, with five-pointed stars on each side, is on the bottom. A circle of dots or dentils lies along the rim of both sides.
This specimen is listed as being of Proof quality, with minimal contact marks.
Sold for: US$6,268.16
- FREE CITY OF DANZIG: 1923 Gold 25 Gulden. UNC
The documented history of Danzig (Gdańsk in Polish) goes back to the late 10th century. Thanks to colonization by the Teutonic Knights in the Middle Ages and annexation by Prussia in 1793, Germans and Poles have long lived together in the city. After the First World War, Danzig became something of an independent state known as the Free City of Danzig (1923-1939). Danzig was “free” until it was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1939, and once again became part of Poland after World War II.
The obverse features the coat of arms of the city with lions to either side and the date beneath. FREIE STADT DANZIG (German for Free State Danzig) is inscribed above. The reverse features a statue of Neptune, Roman god of the sea, from the Monument to Neptune, a famous fountain and one of the most famous landmarks in Danzig. Both sides were designed by Otto Fischer.
The 1923 issue consists of almost 8 grams of .917 fine gold, and was limited to a total mintage of 1,000 presentation pieces. Uncirculated (UNC) condition.
Sold for: US$6,486.18
About MA Shops
MA Shops is an internet marketplace headquartered in Germany that works with a network of predominantly European coin dealers to sell coins, paper currency, medals, military orders and decorations, stamps and even bottles of wine directly to the collector. Founded by Joachim Schwiening, MA Shops offers a wide variety of Ancient, Modern, World and U.S. coins. For an introductory video, click here.
Danzig Free City Coins Currently Available on eBay