Collections of monetary artefacts bring history to life; their contents show how money has changed through the ages and act as reminders of the twist and turns of monetary and economic history. And their aesthetic quality means that the exhibits are often small works of art in themselves. A combination of pre-coin payment media such as stone money or lumps of electrum, 90,000 coins and 260,000 banknotes from every era makes the Deutsche Bundesbank’s collection one of its kind worldwide. The most important pieces in the collection can be seen in the Bank’s Money Museum. In the virtual internet museum, the collection’s experts regularly provide in-depth presentations of outstanding 'gems' from the collection.
The victorious emperor
Constans was the youngest son of Constantin I the Great. He was only a boy when his father accorded him the rank of Caesar (emperor-designate). With the death of Constantin I in 337, his three sons Constantin II, Constantius II and Constans adopted the title of Augustus and divided the empire amongst themselves.
The glory of coins
Having ascended the throne aged just 28, the Prussian King Frederick II was one of the leading figures of his time. His contemporaries gave him the epithet "the Great" just several years into his reign on account of Prussia rising to become a major power under his rule.
In Alexander’s name
The Macedonian king Alexander the Great is considered to this day to be a great general and conqueror. At the head of his army, he invaded the Persian Empire, the largest and most powerful of its time, which stretched from the eastern coast of the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent.
Rule of law
When Parisians stormed the Bastille on 14 July 1789, the face of Europe was changed forever. At this time, France was ruled by Louis XVI, king by divine right. He reigned in the tradition of the Sun King Louis XIV and exercised almost absolute power. The country was in turmoil. Large swaths of the population were impoverished while the nobility enjoyed a life of excess. It was on that fateful day that tensions erupted.
Germania is conquered
Our special piece references the successes of Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus (81–96) in Germania. The coin shows his portrait wearing a laurel wreath. On the reverse of the aureus, the mourning Germania is depicted, sitting on a Germanic shield. Beside her lies a broken spear.
A coin fit for an emperor
Frederick II, of the House of Hohenstaufen and King of Sicily, took an extraordinary step when he started minting gold coins in 1231. This is because, for many centuries, the Christian West had been shaped purely by silver currency. Frederick II’s gold coins, called augustales, were something special: the quality of the image and their embossing are unique for their time. Augustales are extraordinary coins minted by an extraordinary ruler.
Money for the Old World from the New World
Spain's colonial empire spanned vast parts of Central and South America. These lands, rich in gold and silver, were an important resource for the kings of Spain. The Spanish established mints in their American colonies to produce coins from the precious metals extracted in the New World. The oldest mint on the American continent is the Mexican Mint, which was set up in 1535. Twice a year, the famous silver fleet sailed from the New World back to Spain fully laden with treasures.
Insignia of power
The Byzantine Empire was one of the most significant and powerful states in the Middle Ages. It emerged from the eastern part of the Roman Empire, which was split into two in AD 395. The modern name "Byzantine Empire" is derived from the ancient Greek city of Byzantium. The Byzantines, however, considered themselves Roman. Constantinople, now Istanbul, was the capital of their empire. Its namesake, the Roman emperor Constantine the Great (306-337), refounded the city on the site of Byzantium.
Our archive offers more pieces, which are part of the collection we already presented to you.