Collectors and Donors of Frankfurt

Liquid Gold

From „Coin Guardian” Friedrich Ernst Roessler to Degussa Collection


The new Frankfurt mint opened in 1840 under Roessler's direction. Its stamping tools are still extant. Roessler was also a businessman who ran a parting plant. Beginning in 1873, that operation produced the molten metal for the coins of the German Reich. The DEGUSSA, the company which emerged from the plant, assembled a complete collection of German coins.


Following a coin treaty concluded between six southern German states in 1837, Frankfurt also undertook to stamp new coins. To this end, a new mint had to be built. The construction was carried out under the supervision of Friedrich Ernst Roessler, son of the Grand Ducal Hessian Mint Councillor Hector Roessler. The stamping of new guilders and kreutzers got underway in 1840. Following the Vienna Coin Treaty of 1857, „Vereinsthaler” („union”  thalers) were also stamped in Frankfurt.


In addition to the municipal mint, Roessler ran a privately managed parting plant. A number of the Frankfurt mint's stamping tools are still extant, along with coiner's dies, patrices, ferrules and weight sets.

When the German Reich was founded in 1871, a new currency was introduced – the mark, worth 100 pfennigs. The job of the parting plant was to melt down old coins and produce bars and blanks for the stamping of the new coins. Owing to this expansion of the business, the operation – later called the DEGUSSA – became a joint stock company in 1873.


All Frankfurt coins as well as the gold and silver coins of the German Reich consisted of material melted down at the DEGUSSA. The crude metal was initially cast in bars, from which the blanks - the unstamped coin discs - were then processed. The final stamping was then carried out in Frankfurt (until 1879) and other mints of the German Reich.


In the twentieth century, the company assembled a complete collection of all German coins minted in precious metal from 1871 onwards. Every one of the coins is „stempelfrisch” (freshly minted), i.e. of the highest quality. In 2003, the collection came into the holdings of the historisches museum frankfurt as a permanent loan. They are now on view in an enclosed cabinet gallery within the framework of the Collectors and Donors of Frankfurt. 



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Friedrich Ernst Roessler, founder of the later Degussa, photo: Evonik Industries, Hanau

Friedrich Ernst Roessler, founder of the later Degussa, photo: Evonik Industries, Hanau