The German Federal Republic’s Ministry of Finance and Munze Deutschland launch (22nd February) their second €20 silver collector coin this year in tribute to Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, one of the country’s most notable authors of the 19th century. Born on the 12th January 1797, at Burg Hülshoff near Münster into a family that belonged to the oldest Roman Catholic aristocracy of Westphalia, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s parents provided her with an extensive education in a wide variety of areas. She was a student of language, literature, religion, music, botany and by the age of seven, the talented Annette was able to write her first poems.
When she was 23, a particular incident involving the affections of two would-be suitors cast a great shadow in her life and damaged her prospects for a suitable marriage. As a consequence, Droste-Hülshoff would remain single all her life. It was during this time in her life that Droste-Hülshoff embarked on one of her greatest works, a cycle of religious poems entitled Das geistliche Jahr (“The Spiritual Year”), where she intended to write one poem for each Sunday and Feast Day of the church year. Intended as a gift to her devout grandmother, but when Droste had completed 25 poems, she believed they were too personal and unwittingly expressed traces of spiritual doubt. As such, she abandoned the work until 1839 when a friend persuaded her to complete the series. Even then she did not actively seek to publish the poems and they only appeared posthumously in 1851. Still attempting to recover her self-confidence from a disastrous courtship, as well as disappointing sales of her first collection of poems, Gedichte (1838), Droste-Hülshoff did achieve this but only with greater recognition of her writing skills in the last years of her life. From 1824 to 1831 her literary talents took something of a backseat in favour of composing music. She also authored a detective story entitled Die Judenbuche (1842), which is considered the first in the genre of a murder mystery. Ultimately Droste-Hülshoff’s work found its way into world literature and in 1844, a well-known publisher distributed a large collection of her poems. On this occasion, her poems were well received and Droste-Hülshoff was able to enjoy great success in terms of notoriety and financial benefit. During her lifetime, Droste-Hülshoff was acknowledged as the greatest female German author of her generation. She died at her villa known as Fürstenhäusle in Meersburg, Baden Wurttemberg, on the 24th May 1848. The cause of her death was believed to be from tuberculosis.
The coins’ design on the obverse is the work of artist Anna Auras, whose inspiration comes from the painting created by Johann Joseph Sprick in 1838. The artist paid particular attention to Droste-Hülshoff’s earrings, her carefully braided hairstyle, and fine clothing emphasising she came from a wealthy background. A few strands of hair come loose in the wind from her severe hairstyle and in the background, the silhouette of a mountain range can be seen, over which a bird is flying. The commemorative inscription partially encircling the primary design reads 225 GEBURTSTAG ANNETTE VON DROSTE – HÜLSHOFF. The reverse side depicts a stylised eagle centred with the coins’ fineness of SILBER 925 placed below the eagle. The denomination of 20 EURO is shown above the eagle and the issuer BUNDESREPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND 2022 is placed along the top edge. Along the lower edge are 12 stars representing the European Union arranged in a semi-circle. The incused edge lettering reads: SO GROSSES KLEINOD, EINMAL SEIN STATT GELTEN (“So great the Jewel to be given in its place.”)
The portrait of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff not only adorns Germany’s newest 20-euro collector’s coin, but her image was also featured on the last series of German Deutsche Mark banknotes. As part of the country’s banknote series issued in the 1990s and which were replaced with the euro in 2002, her portrait as a young woman was chosen as the main motif on the 20-Mark banknote. The personalities depicted represented German history in areas such as art, literature, and science, of which Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s likeness was chosen and issued in 1992.
|18 g||32.5 mm||Brilliant Unc.||
|18 g||32.5 mm||Proof||
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 Proof-quality coin collection consisting of four 2022-dated pieces will be available as a set and presented in an official blister-pak type folder.