The German Ministry of Finance and Munze Deutschland have released new €20 silver coins marking the 125th anniversary of the birth of one of the country’s leading playwrights and poets. Bertold Brecht (1898–1956) is remembered as one of Germany’s most successful playwrights and poets whose contribution to modern German theatre is widely acknowledged. Born Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht in Augsburg, he had originally embarked on a career in medicine, but while living in Bavaria and after serving in a military hospital from 1917 until 1921, Brecht dropped out of medical school. He took up work as a director and drama coach in Munich and Berlin, and at the same time, he became a freelance writer. Brecht had several early successes to his credit which included plays, poems, and songs, but it was during this period in his career that he also developed an antibourgeois attitude. This anti-establishment sentiment reflected his generation’s deep disappointment over the outcome of the First World War. Brecht celebrated his first international success with his play the Threepenny Opera, which premiered in Berlin in 1928, but with Germany’s changing political scene and as Brecht was a communist sympathiser, his name was included on the National Socialists’ wanted list of subversives. By 1933, Brecht left Germany and sought refuge with family in Denmark, later living in Sweden, Finland, and eventually the USA.
The circulation-quality coins are produced by the German State Mint of Hamburg on behalf of the Ministry of Finance and are designed by artist Katrin Pannicke. Her linear design is based on a photograph taken of Brecht by Gerda Goedhart. He is shown with a trademark cigar in his right hand in an informal pose. Above and along the upper edge is the text 125. GEBURTSTAG BERTOLT BRECHT (“125th Birthday of Bertolt Brecht”). Below the portrait is a quote attributed to Brecht ÄNDERE DIE WELT, SIE BRAUCHT ES (“Change the world, it needs it”), which is slanted and accompanied by a small cursive letter “b” for Brecht. The reverse side depicts a stylised linear eagle centred, which is centred and similar in approach to match the portrait of Brecht on the obverse side. The coins’ denomination of 20 EURO and fineness of SILBER 925 are placed below the eagle along with the year 2023 and a group of six, five-pointed stars shown on each side. Above the eagle is the text denoting the issuer BUNDESREPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND, which is placed above and along the edge. The mintmark “J” is shown just above the eagle, representing the Hamburg Mint.
The coins include an incused inscription on the edge which reads DAS SCHICKSAL DES MENSCHEN IST DER MENSCH (“man’s destiny is man”).
|20 euro||.925 Silver||18 g||32.5 mm||Uncirculated||120,000|
|20 euro||.925 Silver||18 g||32.5 mm||Proof||*N/A|
Available from the 9th February, the Brilliant Uncirculated pieces are available for their face value at leading commercial banks and post office counters. The Proof-quality collector’s edition is available by visiting the website of Munze Deutschland.
*Towards the end of the year, the entire €20 coin collection consisting of four 2023-dated pieces will be available in Proof quality and as a set presented in an official blister-pak type folder.
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