National personifications in female form have a long history with the numismatic world. Marianne in France, Liberty in the USA, Helvetia in Switzerland, Hibernia in Scotland and, of course, the ancient Britannia in the UK, have all come to encapsulate the popular image of a country by using the striking imagery of a woman in classic pose. Even Canada has recently decided to get in on the act with its new Borealia coin. Now it’s the turn of Germany to have its past encapsulated by a lady in a dress.
Germania has a long history in various forms, the female personification gaining much popularity in ancient times, especially because of the proliferation of gods and goddesses. This new issue has a visual style very much in keeping with more contemporary interpretations, like Liberty and Britannia, but it’s replete with imagery very German in style. The most prominent of Germanic symbols is clearly the Bicephalous Eagle. While it’s also used on the obverse of Russian issued coins, the double-headed eagle is associated with Germany even more so. An ancient symbol, it’s also fortunate for us it’s a beautiful and striking one. On the obverse it is framed by a laurel wreath, which is often seen as symbolic of strength and success. The 5 Mark denomination is aesthetic only and isn’t legal tender.
On the reverse, the eagle is present on the shield held by Germania, her other hand holding the sword. She is closer to Britannia than to Liberty and Marianne because, like Britain, Germany has a militaristic historical culture whose heraldry and national identity is often linked to conflict and thus chose the variants of Minerva/Athena, the Goddess of war, for inspiration. The use of shield and sword is defensive and offensive. The title, date and composition are restricted to a well defined border, and the background to the figure incorporates one of the increasingly popular guilloche geometric patterns. Taken as a whole, it’s a really beautiful round, in my opinion.
It has a brilliant uncirculated finish and is available at present only in a one-ounce format. It’s a new line from a new mint called the Germania Mint, so we’d imagine that its success could bring forward new formats and finishes. Looking at the design, we find it hard to imagine collectors not warmly welcoming this addition to the limited run silver bullion market. The mintage is set at 25,000 pieces and it should be available from 4th November. Distributors can contact www.germaniamint.com for more information.