Germany, Medal, Frise Orientale
Christian Eberhard - History - 1690-1708
PROBABLEMENT FRAPPE POSTERIEURE
- Composition: Bronze
- Country: Germany
- Denomination: Medal
- Year: 1690-1708
- Medal theme: History
- Diameter: 47
- Token Title: Frise Orientale, Christian Eberhard
- Geographical location: Central Europe
- Current political regime: Federal constitutional parliamentary republic
- Current capital: Berlin
From the Germanic “barbarian” tribes of the 1st century AD, a constant source of concern for the Roman Empire, to the domination of the Kingdom of the Franks from the 5th to the 10th century, then under the rule of Charlemagne, it was first in the Middle Ages, following the deposition of Charles III (the Fat) in 887, that the Germanic people as we know them came to be.
This was then the age of the Holy Roman Empire, which would endure from the 9th to the end of the 18th century. An empire of exceptional longevity, whose flame would only be extinguished by the continuous advance of the Enlightenment, the neighboring French Revolution, and the unbridled expansionism of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The 19th century was turbulent and finally gave birth in 1871 to the Kaiserreich (German Empire), a federal state headed by a Kaiser (emperor), a Kanzler (chancellor), and the Reichstag (parliament). At the end of World War I, in 1918, the Kaiser was deposed and Germany deprived of 13% of its territory. This heralded in the era of the Weimar Republic, undermined from the very start by the Treaty of Versailles and the economic crisis. Hitler appeared on the scene.
He was appointed Chancellor in 1932 and subsequently, thanks to the Enabling Act of 1933, established a dictatorial system. After the death of President Hindenburg in 1934, the era of the Third Reich began with its madness, iron fist, terrifying policies, disheveled nationalism, and unlimited desire for expansion. The Third Reich and Axis powers would not surrender until May 1945.
After World War II and the Allied Occupation of Germany, the country was divided in two and the Iron Curtain came down as the Berlin Wall went up. The Wall did not fall until 1989, and divided Germany was finally reunified in 1990.
The currency of Germany has always been the mark, albeit in a variety of forms. The word “mark” has its origin in the Middle Ages. In the 12th century, the value of the mark was directly linked to the weight of the metal from which it was made.
The mark as a unit of currency was not defined until the Reichstag did so in 1871. It was then worth 1/1,395 of a pound of gold and divided into 100 pfennigs.
Then came the monetary reform of 1923 following hyperinflation (just imagine – 1 dollar back then would be worth up to 11.7 billion marks!), which introduced the Rentenmark against mortgage of the country’s capital. 1 billion Papiermark (paper marks) were equivalent to 1 Rentenmark. In 1924, once the situation had been stabilized, the Reichsmark was created and convertible into gold or foreign currency. It would endure until 1948.
In 1948, two currencies came into use: the western zone (future FRG) used the Deutsche Mark and the eastern zone (future GDR) used the East German mark. After the Reunification of Germany in 1990, only the Deutsche Mark (DM) remained.
In 2002, Germany switched to the euro (€).
Among other things, the Germans invented the printing press (Johannes Gutenberg,15th century), the automobile (Karl Benz, 1885), the streetcar (1881), aspirin (Felix Hoffmann, 1897), X-rays (Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, 1895), and even coffee filters (Melitta Bentz, 1908).
Painting: "A View of the Opera and Unter den Linden, Berlin" by Eduard Gaertner (1845)
Bronze (not to be confused with brass, although usage of the two terms varied in times of yore) is an extremely ancient alloy with origins going back to the period around 2,000 BC. Also known...wait for it...as the Bronze Age (who would have guessed?). Back in ancient times, a proportion of 10% tin was added to copper. It was used in particular for luxurious objects such as swords, helmets, hairpins, and even chariot ornaments.
That is by no means insignificant though, as when putting on a bronze helmet you would already find yourself with an extra 3 kilos or so on your head. Add to that your sword and armor…let’s see you advance quickly now!
The heavyweight of alloys one might say*.
The first Western bronze coins probably date back to the end of the 4th century BC and Greece.
Although the coins may be ancient, it is more difficult to date the appearance of a specific word for this alloy. The earliest record is a Venetian manuscript in Greek dating from the 11th century, but it is not impossible that it was in use earlier.
Nowadays, the bronze used in coinage is an alloy of copper (majority) and tin (minority) along with other metals such as zinc, for example, which improves the castability, or nickel, which produces a harder alloy. Its main qualities are undeniably its great resistance to corrosion and mechanical wear as well as...its aesthetic aspect.
The patina of bronze can vary, ranging from verdigris to brown through to black.
*Actually, puns aside, copper and cupronickel have a greater density, for example.
An “AU(50-53)” quality
As in numismatics, it is important that the state of conservation of an item be carefully evaluated before it is offered to a discerning collector with a keen eye.
This initially obscure acronym comprising two words describing the state of conservation is explained clearly here:
This means – more prosaically – that the coin has circulated well from hand to hand and pocket to pocket but the impact on its wear remains limited: the coins displays sharp detailing and little sign of being circulated. The number (50-53) indicates that at least half of the original luster remains. Closer examination with the naked eye reveals minor scratches or nicks.
You might be wondering why there are different ranges of numbers behind the same abbreviation. Well, we’ll explain:
The numbers are subdivisions within a category, showing that the state of conversation is the same but coins may be at the higher or lower end of the scale. In the case of AU, the range (55-58) indicates that the luster is better preserved in than a similar coin described as (50-53).