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German 20 Marks Wilhelm II

Tavex is pleased to present the Wilhelm II 20 mark gold coin, part of Germany’s most famous gold coin series. German gold marks, introduced for the first time following the country’s unification in 1871, are a symbol of Germany’s first uniform monetary system. Crafted from a durable 21.6 carat crown gold alloy, the 20 mark gold coin is the epitome of Germany’s manufacturing excellence.

Embellished with the mighty Imperial Eagle, the coat of arms of the former German Empire, and depicting the effigy of the last German Kaiser and King of Prussia, Wilhelm II, they were at the heart of Germany’s industrial revolution from 1870 to 1914, playing a key role in facilitating trade. The Wilhelm II 20 mark coin is a well-recognised gold piece of historical significance, and is thus an excellent gold bullion investment suited for all type of investors.

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  1. German Wilhelm II 20 marks are Germany’s most sought-after gold coins.The legacy of Germany’s hyperinflation, in which a 20 mark gold coin became worth 23 trillion German papermarks, lingers on in the minds of the German people, making this coin a natural investment for many.
  2. German Wilhelm II 20 marks are Germany’s most liquid gold coins. With more than 125 million pieces minted since 1888, they are a household name among bullion dealers and investors. 
  3. German Wilhelm II 20 mark gold coins are money. They are exempt from Value Added Tax and Capital Gains Tax in Germany.
  4. German Wilhelm II 20 mark gold coins are internationally recognised.The gold marks are associated with one of thelargest economies in the world, and the biggestgold consuming nation in Europe. They are the embodiment of Germany’s prominent position, and are thus acknowledged and accepted worldwide.
  5. German Wilhelm II 20 mark gold coins are the equivalent of savings. German gold marks are an ideal choice for any long-term saver who appreciates the security and stability of owning physical gold coins.
  6. German Wilhelm II 20 mark gold coins are an excellent way to diversify your portfolio. Gold’s low correlation with other financial assets makes sovereign gold coins serve as a portfolio hedge against market risk.

The Imperial Eagle on the German gold mark – a symbol ofthe mighty Kingdom of Prussia

What really stands out when observing the Wilhelm II 20 mark gold coin is the all-powerful Imperial Eagle which is depicted on the reverse of this coin. Besides being rich in detail and exhibiting impressive craftsmanship, the eagle, or,to be more precise, the coat of arms of the former formidable German Empire, has a fascinating history, one that stretches back several centuries.

Prior to its unification in 1871, Germany’s territories comprised multiple states, kingdoms, duchies and free cities that wereruled by a plethora of differentnoblemen, royal houses, and monarchs. The most important was theGerman House of Hohenzollern, a dominant royal dynasty with roots that go back to the 11th century. This House produced some of the most notable kings that would establish and reign over the Kingdom of Prussia and the subsequent German Empire. 

One of these kings was Wilhelm I,grandfather of Wilhelm II (who is depicted on this coin), and ruler of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1861 to 1888.The Kingdom of Prussia was at that time a leading German kingdom and a distinguished military powerhouse that, at its peak in 1876, encompassed parts of present-day Germany, stretching to Russia in the east and Belgium in the west. It was primarily through Prussia’s military might that King Wilhelm I, with the help of his right-hand man, the infamous German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, managed to establish the German Empire,with Prussia as the nation’s backbone.

Thus, the Imperial Eagledepictedon this coinis actually a slightly altered version of the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Prussia. It can therefore be seen that the one-thousand-year-old Hohenzollern dynasty, which had Wilhelm I and later Wilhelm II at itshelmas kings of Prussia,isindirectly represented through the Imperial Eagle depicted on the German gold mark coins. What is of interest is that even after Germany abolished the monarchy in 1918, an eagle analogous to the Imperial Eagle continued to be applied on circulating coinage and on paper marks, and this same eagle is today even depicted on Germany’s euro coinage, albeit considerably modified.   

Gold marks powered German trade

Before its unification, Germany’smonetary system was similar in nature to the country’s fragmented territories.The nation was divided into several currency areas that used coinage of a different design, name, purity and metal content. Coins containing silver were the currency of choice, while gold coins had lesser monetary significance.These various currencies were exchangeable at fixed exchange rates and, even though the system worked, German commercial interest was constantly pushing for a unified monetary system.  

Following the nation’s unification in 1871 and the formation of the German Empire, the German government, propelled by powerful interest,established a new unified monetary system based on gold, effectively putting the nation for the first time in its history on a pure gold standard. Imperial gold coins were introduced indenominations of 10 and 20 marks, carrying the effigy of the first German Kaiser, King Wilhelm I. After England and Portugal, Germany was the third country to base its monetary system on gold. Thissystem was in placeup to WWI, powering Germany’s second industrial revolution, a period of remarkable growth that made the nation, along with the United States, the leading economy in the world. 

The 20 mark gold coins protected Germany from hyperinflation 

The onset of World War I in 1914 led the German Central Bank to suspend the gold standard. German paper marks,without any tangible backing, took centre stage and became the primary tool of the governmentto finance the huge expenses related to the war effort. The printing presses were rolling consistently throughout the war, and up until 1918 the supply of new paper marks had increased four-fold, leading consumer prices to surge. However, the inflated money supply and corresponding rise in prices was still manageable and was actually in line with that of other countriesduring this period, notably England and France. This all changed in the aftermath of the war when the allied victors imposed harsh reparation payments on the battered and economically drained Germany.

Because thereparation instalments had to bepaid inforeign currency or gold, the German government thought they could solve this dire problem with printed marks that were then used to buy these items. At first, this seemed a great solution, but the issuance of new paper marksonly furthered the already high inflation rate. The more foreign exchange or gold the German government purchased, the quicker the value of the paper mark declined.

By 1920, consumer prices had increased by a factor of 12 since the onset of the war, exertingimmense pressure on the living standards of ordinary German citizens. Three years later, the German governmentfailed to meet thereparation instalments due to its inability to acquire foreign exchange or gold as everybody was shunning the ever-depreciating German paper mark. This pushed France tooccupy the Ruhr, which at that time was one of Germany’s most important industrial regions, forcing the Germans to continue to pay their instalments in goods and raw materials. 

The occupation of the Ruhr region dealt a decisive blow to the already weak German economy, which, coupled with millions of unhappy workers, surging prices and the fear that France might even invade Berlin, resulted in a complete loss of confidence in Germany’s political establishment and the country’s Central Bank. With panic spreading, everybody began to exchange marks in favour of tangible assets at any price, a psychological event, which morphed into hyperinflation. In just a couple of months, the surging inflation rate rendered the German paper mark valueless. During this period,the currency was depreciating at such an extreme pace that prices were doubling every few hours, leading German housewives to burn paper marks in their kitchen stoves because the currency was worth less than firewood. 

By the end of 1923, the value of the 20 mark gold coin wasworth over 23 trillion paper marks, a clear testimonyof gold’s quality as a hedge against inflation. Fortunate were those that held on to their gold marks, as they were spared many of the misfortunes that occurred during this period.

The German Wilhelm II 20 mark gold coin was issued between 1888 and 1914. The coin was struck during this period in two German mints located in Berlin and Hamburg. The mintmark for Berlin is “A” and “J” for Hamburg.

Nominal value Dimensions Fineness Product weight in grams Gold weight in grams Gold weight in Troy ounces
20 mark 22.50 mm 900 7.96500 g 7.16850g 0.23


The obverse portrays the effigy of Wilhelm II, German Emperor and King of Prussia. The title “WILHELM II DEUTSCHER KAISER KÖNIG V PREUSSEN”, which translates as “Wilhelm II German Emperor and King of Prussia”, encircles the head. Under Wilhelm’s neckline is the mintmark.


The reversedepicts the coat of arms of the German Empire, an Imperial Eagle with a crown. Surrounding the eagle is the text “DEUTSCHES REICH”, which translates as “German Empire”, and the year of mintage. Below the eagle is the denomination of “20 MARK”. 


The edge contains the words “GOTT MIT UNS”, which translates as “God with us”.

The German Wilhelm II 20 mark coin is a 21.6 carat fine gold coin which means it is composed of 21.6/24 = 90% gold and the rest of the coin contains copper. The gold – copper alloy makes the surface of the coin more durable and less prone to scratches and marks. The fine gold content is 7.166 grams, while the coin itself weighs 7.965 grams.

When placing an order through our online shop, you can choose to have the products sent to your local post office or to collect them at our shop in Copenhagen.

By post: Upon receipt of payment to Tavex’s account, your order will be shipped as an insured value package. You will receive an SMS and an e-mail from Post Danmark with a tracking number to get updates on your delivery.

In person: Upon receipt of payment to Tavex’s account, we will contact you via phone and e-mail when your order is ready to be picked up in our shop (during opening hours). Valid photo ID will be required when collecting your items.

Deliveries outside of Denmark are to be agreed with Tavex and can be arranged by contacting us on telephone + 45 33 12 09 07 or via e-mail through .

Please refer to our “Terms and Conditions” for detailed delivery instructions.

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