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Collecting Coins of WWII Germany


There was a debate about adding the German Third Reich category to the PCGS Set Registry®. The German Third Reich is responsible for the Holocaust, the murder of six million Jews in Europe. It left a permanent stain on human history. In the end, it was decided that World War II was such an important era, despite the horrifying racially motivated atrocities, the coinage of that period should not be ignored. Coins from the Third Reich should be a reminder of the lives that were lost.

The German Third Reich Type Set, Circulation Strikes (1933-1948) is a perfect way to start a collection in this category. The set includes the 1933 Reichsmark coinage and runs through the coins from the Allied Occupation 1945-1948. There are also two varieties, the 5 Reichsmark Potsdam Church, with and without date, and the 5 Reichsmark Hindenburg, with and without swastika. Each denomination is represented with most being relatively easy to locate except the zinc 1, 5, and 10 Reichspfenning. The key coins in the set are the 1934 5 Mark Schiller and the 5 and 10 Pfennig Military Issues of 1940 and 1941.

The Nazis began minting coins in 1933, with the resolution of the Enabling Act, when Adolf Hitler took power and become Chancellor of Germany. Coins were produced in Berlin (mintmark A), Vienna (B), Munich (D), Muldenhutten (E), Stuttgart (F), Karlsruhe (G), and Hamburg (J). The swastika appeared on the standard coinage: the Reichspfenning, 2 Reichspfenning, 5 Reichspfenning, 10 Reichspfenning, 50 Reichspfenning (1938-1944), and 5 Reichsmark (1936-1939).

1938-E 50 Reichspfenning PCGS Gold Shield MS65, featuring the Nazi swastika.

Several commemoratives were issued as well. The 1933 2 and 5 Reichsmark commemorated the 450th anniversary of the birth of the Protestant leader Martin Luther.

1933-F 2 Reichsmark Martin Luther PCGS Gold Shield MS67.

The 1934 2 and 5 Reichsmark issued in Stuttgart celebrated the 175th anniversary of the birth of Friedrich Schiller, a German dramatist, poet and philosopher. The first anniversary of Nazi rule was commemorated on the 1934 2 and 5 Reichsmark with the Potsdam Garrison Church featured on the reverse. This is symbolic because it was where the opening ceremony of the reopening of Parliament was held on March 21, 1933. Ultimately, the Nazis dissolved the Parliament and replaced it with a dictatorship. The bust of Paul von Hindenburg, a WWI military leader who was President of the German Reich from 1925 to 1934, appeared on 2 and 5 Reichsmark of 1935-1939.

1934-F 5 Reichsmark Potsdam Church with Date (March 21, 1933) PCGS Gold Shield MS65.

1935-A 5 Reichsmark Potsdam Church without Date PCGS MS64+.

The military coinage of 1940-1941 circulated only in occupied territories. These coins were struck in zinc with a hole in the center in 5 and 10 Reichspfenning denominations. A large swastika was engraved on the obverse and an eagle head appears above the hole with the denomination below on the reverse.

1940-G 10 Reichspfenning Military Issue PCGS Gold Shield MS63.

The Allied Occupation zinc coinage was struck from 1945-1948 in 1, 5 and 10 Reichspfenning. The coin designs were modified from the Nazi issues. The eagle appears above the date on the obverse without the swastika. The reverse displays the denomination above the wreath with the mintmark below.

1947-F 10 Reichspfenning Allied Occupation PCGS Gold Shield MS65.

There are four complete type sets in the PCGS Set Registry. War-Buff, which won a gold award last year, retired in January with a weighted GPA of 65.158. Every coin in the set is Mint State and beautiful. Leading the pack in the current category is CoinKing, PCGS’s own Ron Guth, President of PCGS CoinFacts. With a weighted GPA of 64.974, Ron is just a few ticks away from achieving the All-Time Finest status. The three MS67s in the set are stunning.

The German Third Reich category has proved to be very popular in the PCGS Set Registry. In fact, there are more registered sets for Third Reich coins than in any other German category. The proof type set composition is new and as PCGS grades more proofs, the category will be expanded to include denomination proof sets.

BJ Searls is a graduate of Pepperdine University with a Master’s in Business Administration. She has been involved in numismatics since 1973 and has worked for Collectors Universe since 1997. BJ is the Set Registry and Special Projects Director for PCGS, PSA and PSA/DNA. Email: [email protected].

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