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Quiz about Coins of the German States
Quiz about Coins of the German States

Coins of the German States Trivia Quiz


The German States are numismatically intriguing, and something of a minefield for collectors. The quiz includes some less specialized questions.

A multiple-choice quiz by bloomsby. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
bloomsby
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
336,745
Updated
Jul 23 22
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
447
Last 3 plays: Kabdanis (1/10), ozzz2002 (5/10), xchasbox (3/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. Until 1803 the Holy Roman Empire included about 300 virtually sovereign states. Did they all issue their own coins?


Question 2 of 10
2. It is always a good idea to be aware of the monetary system of any country whose coins you collect. By the mid 1500s what was the monetary system of Brandenburg, Saxony and the future Hanover (as well as of some other German states)? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. The Heller (formerly sometimes spelled 'Häller') has a long history as the lowest regular denomination coin in Central Europe and survived in the Czech Republic (as the Haler) into 21st century. The Heller takes its name from the city where these coins were first minted in the late 12th century. Which city was it? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. What was the Cologne Mark? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. In the Middle Ages some German states issued a 'Hohlpfennig'. Translated literally, this means a 'hollow Pfennig'. Which of these best describes such coins? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. At the time of the Reformation one state issued Groschen coins with a very unusual type of inscription, namely: Iustus ex fide vivit (in capitals), which means 'The just lives by [literally from] faith'. Which state was it? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Which German state, immensely proud of its military prowess, displayed an eagle hovering over cannon, military standards and drums on its higher denomination coins for much of the period c. 1750-1822? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. In 1806 and 1807 the tiny coastal Domain (Herrschaft) of Knyphausen, which normally did not have its own coins, suddenly issued gold coins and high denomination silver coins. What was behind this? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Until c. 1180 nearly all the coins minted in the various German states were of one, and only one, denomination. Which was it? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. When did Germany first adopt a single, national currency? Hint



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Most Recent Scores
Jun 14 2024 : Kabdanis: 1/10
Jun 14 2024 : ozzz2002: 5/10
Jun 14 2024 : xchasbox: 3/10
Jun 14 2024 : PHILVV: 9/10
Jun 14 2024 : genoveva: 5/10
Jun 09 2024 : Johnmcmanners: 10/10
Jun 01 2024 : jonnowales: 7/10
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quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Until 1803 the Holy Roman Empire included about 300 virtually sovereign states. Did they all issue their own coins?

Answer: No

Many of the less populous states did not issue their own coins. However, all the bigger states, including the major Free Cities (and several lesser ones) issued their own coins, at least until they were taken over by other states or until the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806.
2. It is always a good idea to be aware of the monetary system of any country whose coins you collect. By the mid 1500s what was the monetary system of Brandenburg, Saxony and the future Hanover (as well as of some other German states)?

Answer: The Thaler, divided into Groschen and Pfennige

Until 1821 the Brandenburg-Prussian Thaler was divided into 24 Groschen of 12 Pfennige each (so 288 Pfennige were 1 Thaler). In 1821 the division was changed to 30 Groschen (still of 12 Pfennige each, so 1 Thaler now had 360 Pfennige).

The Gulden-Kreuzer-Heller system was the main one used in south Germany and Austria, while most of the German Hanseatic cities and Mecklenburg used the Thaler, divided into 32 Schillinge of 12 Pfennige each. The Gulden was generally divided into 60 Kreuzer of 4 Heller each. Some 'Gulden states' also minted a Thaler coin of (usually) 90 Kreuzer.

At various times other subdivisions were used. Some states occasionally minted coins 'outside' their usual monetary system; so, for example, some 'Gulden states' occasionally minted 1, 2 or 4 Pf. coins.
3. The Heller (formerly sometimes spelled 'Häller') has a long history as the lowest regular denomination coin in Central Europe and survived in the Czech Republic (as the Haler) into 21st century. The Heller takes its name from the city where these coins were first minted in the late 12th century. Which city was it?

Answer: Schwäbisch Hall (formerly called simply Hall)

The 'e' in 'Heller' is historically an Umlauted 'a', written as 'e' instead of with a diaresis. Probably the best known of the medieval Heller coins has an open raised hand (as a sign of honesty) and often has a cross on the obverse. The 'Händleinsheller' ('Hand-Heller') was minted from c. 1228 onwards in Schwäbisch Hall. Originally, the Heller was one-half of a Pfennig, but by early 19th century the two were generally of the same value.

Incidentally, the town was known colloquially (and for a while also officially) simply as 'Hall'. It is in Baden-Württemberg, in south-west Germany.
4. What was the Cologne Mark?

Answer: A carefully preserved lump of silver

The values of the currencies of the states in the Holy Roman Empire were calculated either against the Cologne Mark or according to the less widely used Leipzig standard. Nevertheless, this basic requirement did not always prevent 'monkey business'.

The Polish-Lithuanian currency was also calibrated against the Cologne Mark.

Some states (for example, the City of Aachen) had coins called a 'Mark', but they did not correspond to the later German Mark.
5. In the Middle Ages some German states issued a 'Hohlpfennig'. Translated literally, this means a 'hollow Pfennig'. Which of these best describes such coins?

Answer: Embossed coin

These thin silver coins were embossed and had an incuse reverse and were generally flimsy. When exchanging worn and damaged 'Hohlpfennige' for new ones most states did not exchange them on a one-for-one basis but levied a charge. Sometimes this was as high as four worn coins for three new ones!
6. At the time of the Reformation one state issued Groschen coins with a very unusual type of inscription, namely: Iustus ex fide vivit (in capitals), which means 'The just lives by [literally from] faith'. Which state was it?

Answer: Ducal Prussia

In general, doctrinal religious statements are unknown on European coins. Ducal Prussia, which corresponded roughly to East Prussia, was the first state to adopt the Reformation officially (1525). The duke at the time, Albrecht von Brandenburg, had this core Protestant doctrine put on some of the coins.
7. Which German state, immensely proud of its military prowess, displayed an eagle hovering over cannon, military standards and drums on its higher denomination coins for much of the period c. 1750-1822?

Answer: Prussia

A modified version of this theme continued to appear on Prussian gold coins till the 1850s. The word 'militarism' had not yet been invented, but these coins did sometimes give rise to jocular comments.
8. In 1806 and 1807 the tiny coastal Domain (Herrschaft) of Knyphausen, which normally did not have its own coins, suddenly issued gold coins and high denomination silver coins. What was behind this?

Answer: For some reason Knyphausen was not included in Napoleon's blockade of Britain

Knyphausen (also spelled Kniphausen) was a port which occupied part of what later became Wilhelmshaven and a small adjacent area. Initially, it was not included in Napoleon's Continental blockade of the British Isles and did a roaring trade in blockade busting.

Many of the goods were paid for in other currencies but some deals were done in the local currency. Knyphausen was absorbed by Oldenburg in 1854 and most of its coins are extremely rare, with the exception of the half Thaler.
9. Until c. 1180 nearly all the coins minted in the various German states were of one, and only one, denomination. Which was it?

Answer: 1 Pfennig

The denarius (translated into German as Pfennig or Pfenning, and into English as penny) was established in the Frankish Empire shortly before the year 800 AD and the name has proved exceptionally long-lasting!

The words 'Pfennig' and 'penny' are cognate, that is, related and derived from the same root. It is one of the many Germanic words that has no cognate outside the Germanic languages.
10. When did Germany first adopt a single, national currency?

Answer: 1873-74

The law establishing the Mark of 100 Pfennige as the national currency (or, strictly speaking the Reichsmark, though this term was seldom used) was passed in 1873 and became fully effective in the course of 1874. The 1 Mark coins and lower denominations were the same throughout the German Empire, but the individual states continued to issue their own coins for the higher demoninations. All these higher denomination coins were issued in Marks. (In anticipation of the change, Prussia had issused some gold coins in Marks already in 1871).

A quirky clause in the law of 1873 allowed some high denomination Austrian coins to remain legal tender in Germany till 1901.
Source: Author bloomsby

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor gtho4 before going online.
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