Although called German coins, Wilhelm II gold 20 marks are actually from Prussia. When Germany was unified in 1871, the King of Prussia was proclaimed Emperor of Germany. Wilhelm II ruled Germany for most of this period, from 1888 to 1915. During his reign, Germany was transformed from an agricultural nation into an industrial.
Obverse: King Wilhelm II facing right. Writing WILLHELM II DEUTSCHER KAISER KÖNIG V PREUSSEN (German Emperor and King of Prussia)
Reverse: Crowned arms of Germany, a spread eagle. Writing DEUTSCHES REICH, date, 20 MARK
Edge: Lettering - GOTT MIT UNS (God With Us)
NB! These coins have been in circulation, scratches may appear.
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Own a piece history and financial peace of mind
In the 1920s, Germany fell victim to what must be the wildest inflation scenario in world history. In 1923, more than 700,000,000,000 paper marks were required to buy an item that had cost merely a single Gold Mark in 1914! By late 1923, prices were doubling every few hours. One loaf of bread cost nearly 200 billion paper marks! German housewives were burning paper marks in their kitchen stoves because the currency was worth less than firewood. But throughout this period of unbelievable hyperinflation, the “Wilhelm II” Gold 20 Mark coin held its value. Why? Because it was made of gold of course! At the time, anyone wise enough to hold wealth in these historic gold coins had protection from the devastating effects of inflation—and the same holds true today.
How did this economic disaster happen? Of course, there is no simple explanation. Yet Germany’s incredible inflation of the 1920s may in part be tracked back to its government’s decision to stop minting the “Wilhelm II” Gold 20 Mark in 1915.
In July of 1914, as Germany declared war on France and World War One began, the German central bank made the ill-fated decision to take its nation off the gold standard. Minting of the Gold 20 Mark coin, which had been the backbone of the German economy since 1871, ceased completely. Gold was replaced by paper. Under wartime pressure, this decision seemed like a good idea: no longer legally required to back its currency with gold, the Kaiser’s government was free to print paper money at will in order to finance its war effort. After the war, as Germany struggled to rebuild itself, the new government continued the policy of pumping more and more paper money into the economy. But without gold to anchor its value, this “paper chase” rendered the so-called “fiat” currency almost completely worthless.