1895 20 Mark gold coin issued by the German New Guinea Company

11 Jun 2018  Mon

We are very familiar with the British Colonial History, but what about the rest of the colonial powers? Today let’s acquaint ourselves with one of the German colonies.

German New Guinea was the first part of the German colonial empire. It was a protectorate from 1884 until 1914 when it fell to Australian forces following the outbreak of the First World War.

It consisted of the north-eastern part of today’s New Guinea and several nearby island groups. The first Germans in the South Pacific were probably sailors on the crew of ships of the Dutch East India Company: during Abel Tasman's first voyage, the captain of the “Heemskerck”.

The Mark was the currency of the colony of German New Guinea between 1884 and 1911. It was equal to the German Mark, which was also legal tender in the colony. Initially, only German currency was circulated in New Guinea which was supplemented in 1894 by coins issued specifically for New Guinea. These coins were demonetized on April 15, 1911, in exchange for the German Mark, the only legal tender after that date.

In 1894, the Neu-Guinea Companie issued bronze 1, 2 and 10 Pfennig and silver ½, 1, 2 and 5 Mark coins, followed by gold 10 and 20 Mark pieces in 1895. The coin depicted beside is a 20 Mark gold coin issued in 1895.

The obverse of the coins depicts the bird-of-paradise, one of the most curious species of animal in the entire world, mid-dance and plumes spread, perched atop a forest branch. On the reverse, there is a bow-tied palm wreath surrounding the denomination and date.

Image Courtesy: Wiki Images

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