WEST GERMANY Bremen musicians medal 1965


GERMANY, FEDERAL REPUBLIC, medal, 1965, Obverse: donkey, dog, cat, and rooster standing on each other R, FREIE HANSESTADT BREMEN STADTMUSIKANTEN, Reverse: arms, EIN JAHRTAUSEND SCHL√úSSEL ZUR WELT 1965 1000, Edge: plain, 1000 fine silver, 35mm, 24.89g, Prooflike, toned

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Translation: Bremen musicians, 1000 years as key to the world, alluding to Bremen’s position as a major center of commerce.

Souvenir municipal medals were a thing in several countries for several decades in several countries. You’d pick one up with your postcards and commemorative ashtray at the souvenir shop near the train station.

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.