Posts Tagged ‘numismatic treasures’
How a political blunder led to the Fall of the Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall is perhaps the most iconic symbol of the Cold War. A tall concrete barricade that divided the citizens of Germany for almost three decades. Numerous people risked their lives to cross the wall, whether digging tunnels underneath, flying over in a hot air balloon, or even driving cars under checkpoint barriers! But in 1989 that all changed when the world watched a press conference that all went a bit wrong…
A press conference that went wrong
For many months throughout 1989, there was mounting pressure on the government to adjust the restrictions around the boarder wall in Berlin. On the evening of November 9th 1989, the East German Party leader held a press conference announcing some loosening of the restrictions. But he hadn’t been briefed properly.
Gunter Schabowski broadcast the relaxing of some of the travel laws, but when asked when the freedom of movement would happen, he simply shrugged his shoulders, glanced at his notes, and said “right away.”
And that was it. A single moment, the most iconic in recent history, caused by an accident.
After almost 30 years of physical separation, crowds of people swarmed to the Berlin Wall checkpoints in anticipation of reuniting with loved ones and passing into the West freely.
Because of the confusion, the East German border guards had not been warned and were utterly overwhelmed by the crowds. At first they were told to stamp passports with symbols that effectively revoked East German citizenship, but as the crowds grew larger it became clear that unless lethal force was used, that the wall was no longer impassable. And no one was willing to give that order.
The Night the wall fell
That evening saw celebrations throughout Berlin, with people climbing the wall and taking pickaxes and hammers to break it apart and pull it down. Pieces and fragments of the wall were chipped away, with many pocketing pieces as souvenirs.
Families and loved ones reunited, as those from East Berlin were greeted with flowers and food. After years with limited contact, media censorship and restrictions, the people of Berlin were free to travel as and where they wanted.
The official reunification
Almost a year later, on 3rd October 1990, the German flag was raised over the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. It symbolised the moment at which the two German countries were finally reunified as the unification treaty became official.
Every year the German Day of Unity is celebrated throughout the country, with fireworks, meals, concerts speeches, and of course commemoratives. This year marks the 30th anniversary, and despite the coronavirus restrictions around the world, the people of Germany will still be celebrating and remembering the moment the country was untied again.
If you’re interested…
Today you can commemorate the historic moment in which Germany was brought together again by owning THREE commemorative coins alongside an original piece of the Berlin Wall in the Reunification of Germany Collection.
This collection has a tiny edition limit of JUST 200. Considering the anniversary this year, and the popularity of difficult to source one-off historic products like this, the edition limit is expected to sell out completely.
The most collectable Sovereign yet – Australia’s FIRST ever Piedfort Sovereign
The Gold Sovereign is undoubtedly one of the most famous gold coins in the world. It’s a classic piece of coinage that is coveted the world over and is highly sought after every year by thousands of collectors.
But have you heard of a Piedfort Sovereign? They’re incredibly rare and are some of the most highly sought-after issues I’ve ever seen – demand for the first UK Piedfort Sovereign was so high that it sold out within 24 hours!
Now, in its 165th year, the Perth Mint has created numismatic history by releasing the first ever Australian Piedfort Sovereign.
Crucially, there are three key reasons why this limited edition coin is set to be the most collectable and sought-after Sovereign ever issued…
1. It’s a piece of numismatic history
The Australian Sovereign is as close to a well-kept coin secret as you’re going to find. It’s been struck every year since 1855 to the same exact specification as the UK Sovereign.
Importantly, this is the very first time the Australian Sovereign has been struck to a Piedfort specification. This makes it a significant piece of numismatic history, as it is the first-of-its-kind to ever be struck.
But it’s not only the Piedfort specification that makes this coin historically significant. The classic Australian Sovereign design features a special one-year-only “165” privy mark, to mark the 165th anniversary of the first Australian Sovereign. The Sovereign is the ‘King of Coins’ so this superior issue couldn’t be a more fitting tribute.
These two facts alone make this issue incredibly desirable and will make it a priority for collectors in the future.
2. Superior, highly collectable specification
In the 12th century Piedforts were considered prestige pieces and ownership was often used to signify a person’s wealth and power. Today, Piedforts continue to be limited issues and striking of such pieces is reserved strictly for the most important events.
Struck on double thickness blanks, Piedforts are twice the weight and contain twice the amount of precious metal as their standard coin counterparts. They’re some of the finest examples of coin craftsmanship you’ll ever see.
What’s more, they have tiny edition limits and consequently fast sell-out rates. This makes them some of the most collectable coins around.
3. Sell-out all but guaranteed
I saved the most significant point for last. You see, when the very first UK Piedfort Sovereign was released in 2017, with an edition limit of 3,500, it completely sold out within 24 hours at the Mint.
Compare this to the very first Australian Piedfort Sovereign, with a worldwide edition limit of 350 coins. Yes, you read that correctly, JUST 350 single Australian Piedfort Sovereigns have been issued – that’s a mere TENTH of the number of UK Piedfort Sovereigns that sold out in 24 hours.
The high demand of Piedfort Sovereigns suggests that we are looking at a record-breaking sell-out.
If you’re interested…
As official Perth Mint distributors we have been fortunate to secure a limited number of these limited edition Sovereigns for UK collectors. Just 350 have been issued worldwide, making it ten times rarer than the first ever UK Piedfort Sovereign that sold out within 24 hours of release.
Considering that this coin is a numismatic ‘first’ very few will make their way out of Australia, meaning your chances of owning one are very limited. Don’t hesitate, click here for more information >>
The Great Escape from East Berlin
Imagine scaling an electricity pole in the dead of night, a bitterly cold wind rushing past your ears, and tiptoeing along a power cable through the skies of Berlin. This is exactly where trapeze artist Horst Klein found himself after being banned from performing in East Berlin for his anti-communist beliefs.
He eventually fell to the ground after becoming fatigued, but fortunately landed in West Berlin. Despite two broken arms he was finally free from the communist holds of the East. But he wasn’t the only one to risk his life.
30 years ago, on 9th November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and the people of Berlin were liberated after being separated for almost three decades. But during the years that the Berlin Wall stood, hundreds of people followed Klein’s example, with each one having to find their own creative way to defect to the West.
A homemade hot air balloon
Two friends who worked as mechanics used their skills to build a hot air balloon. They had a little help from their wives too, who stitched together bed sheets to make the actual balloon. In September 1979 the couples and their children climbed into the balloon and floated through the skies over the wall into the freedom of the West.
The last train to freedom
In 1961 not long after the wall was erected, Harry Deterling found himself driving a train down a disused railway track. As a railway engineer he knew this track led to gap where the Berlin Wall had not yet been completed. After piling his friends and family on board, Deterling drove the train at high speed through the gap in the barrier and into West Berlin. The gap was sealed by East German guards the next day, giving the train its nickname “the last train to freedom”.
In a stolen tank
An East German soldier stole a tank in 1963 and drove it straight into the wall in the hope that it would break through. The force wasn’t enough to destroy the wall so instead the soldier was forced to climb out on top of the tank and up onto the wall. Under gunfire from the East German border guards he got stuck in barbed wire, and shot twice. Fortunately West Germans came to his aid and rescued him.
In a convertible with no windshield
Checkpoint Charlie, was the scene of a successful, and bold, escape by Heinz Meixner. He rented a red Austin-Healy Sprite, chosen because the car itself only measured 90cm high. This was vital for Mexiner’s plan. He removed the windshield and let out a little air from the tires to lower the car even more, drove to Checkpoint Charlie (with his girlfriend and mother in law hidden in the back) and drove straight under the barrier into the West.
On an air mattress
One man who was so familiar with the banks of the River Elbe, which ran through Berlin, used an air mattress as a makeshift raft. Under the cover of darkness and with a trusted friend, the pair navigated a metal fence and the muddy riverbank. They climbed on board the mattress and silently paddled along the river into West Germany.
This month marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. On the night the wall came down celebrations continued throughout the city into the early hours of the morning as friends and families reunited. Today, little remains of the wall as it was almost entirely destroyed, but the legacy of that night and the wall lives on.
If you’re interested….
You can own an ORIGINAL piece of the Berlin Wall along with a coin from both East and West Germany. And just think, this might even be the very piece that Horst Klein walked over! But it’s already over 75% sold so you’ll need to act fast. Check out the video to see Adam explain what makes this set so special or click here to order yours today >>