With the creation of the German Empire in 1871, a new monetary system was introduced to the kingdoms, duchies, and principalities that made up the new empire. The old silver-based thaler system was replaced with a gold standard, with the gold mark replacing silver as the monetary unit of account. Silver was relegated to subsidiary coinage, with traditional units of money such as Groschen being replaced with the new decimal-based coins featuring the Mark and Pfennig.
Many of the larger kingdoms retained their mints, and many German states minted their own gold and silver coins, although according to the new monetary standard. The old thaler coins were redenominated as a 3-Mark coin, while new 2-Mark and 5-Mark coins were introduced to aid commerce. Subsidiary coinage up to 1 Mark had the same design throughout the empire no matter where it was minted, while 2-Mark, 3-Mark, and 5-Mark coins featured different designs from different states. Thus King Wilhelm I featured on the obverse of the first Prussian silver coins, while King Ludwig II featured on the obverse of the first Bavarian silver coins, King Johann on the obverse of the Saxon silver coins, etc.
As with the 3-Mark coins, mintages of the 2-Mark and 5-Mark coins varies significantly by state. Older coins tend to be rarer, particularly those issued by short-lived monarchs. Coins issued by larger states such as Bavaria and Prussia are far more commonly seen than those from smaller principalities and city-states. There are many coin collectors who try to collect all the coins from all the states, no small feat given how many were produced for both regular commerce and commemorative purposes.
As with the 3-Mark coins, expect to pay premiums of about 100% on these coins. The higher the condition, the older the coin, and the lower the mintage, the higher the premium you can expect to pay. But as silver may very well appreciate significantly in price over the next few years, investing in these older coins may very well pay off handsomely in the future.
As with most older circulating silver coinage, the German states 2-Mark and 5-Mark coins are not available for investment through a precious metals IRA or silver IRA. But if you’re in the market for silver coins with historical significance that will continue to grow in value in the future, you can’t go wrong the the German 2-Mark and 5-Mark silver coins.
- 2-Mark: 11.111 g
- 5-Mark: 27.778 g
- 2-Mark: 0.3215 troy oz.
- 5-Mark: 0.8038 troy oz.
- 2-Mark: 28.4 mm
- 5-Mark: 38.1 mm
- 2-Mark: 2 mm
- 5-Mark: 2.7 mm