GERMANY, porcelain student union medal, 1922


GERMANY, WEIMAR REPUBLIC, medal, 1922, Obverse: an angel bound, LABOR * LIBERTAS, Reverse: 30M STUDENTENTALER WIRTSCHAFTSHILFE DER DEUTSCHEN STUDENTENSCHAFT, brown porcelain, 50mm, 16.92g, for donation, Unc

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A donation medal for a Student Economic Help Organization. 1922 was the year the great inflation began.

The Meissen Porcelain factory was started in the early 18th century, and became state sponsored. It went through various ownership schemes, and is currently the property of the State of Saxony. It has made table ware and decorative objects of all kinds. A sideline was the production of porcelain tokens and medals, begun in the 1890s and continued until today.

The Germans have been fans of round, flat, shiny objects since the 2nd century BC, when they made imitations of Greek coins. Coin manufacture was deeply decentralized until the 19th century, extending to jetons and medals starting in the 16th century. Local tokens began to supplement the normally chaotic coinage situation in the markets from the late 17th century. Production of tokens and medals boomed in the 19th century, and was going strong into the 1990s.

There are two kinds of things that are called “medals.” One is things that look like coins but don’t express a value. Sometimes those medals are considerably larger than most coins. The other kind of medal is a metal thing designed to be displayed on one’s chest, often a reward for something, often in a military context. If the medal is small enough it is sometimes called a “medallet.”

The word “exonumia” is used to describe all kinds of things that are “like” coins but are not coins. I wrote a blog post on that subject. Basic categories: 1. used like a coin but not issued by a national government, 2. looks like a coin but not made for spending, 3. other things that we are interested in.