Station: [18] Coins

F: The name Offenbach harks back to the days when the River Main was wide and shallow, and the local hamlet was called Auenbach. The word Aue means water meadow. Over time, the U became a V, and the word ultimately came to be spelled with an F. In the Hessian dialect, the name ended up as "Offenbach". If you look at the coins on display, you’ll find that some still have the old spelling with a V. 

M: Offenbach first struck its own coins in the 15th century, when Werner von Falkenstein, Archbishop and Elector of Trier, minted gold guilders during his rule. 

F: Coins weren’t continuously being minted in the small town of Offenbach, however. Instead, the local rulers periodically exercised the imperial right of coinage. 

M: From 1811, Prince Carl von Isenburg put the last of the Isenburg coins into circulation, though they were actually struck at the Frankfurt Mint. This was during the lifetime of one Carl Wilhelm Becker, nicknamed “Antiken-Becker”. He re-minted antique and rare coins and brought them into circulation among collectors – and was highly respected in his day. Becker worked as an art and antique dealer in Offenbach and enjoyed the confidence of the prince, who awarded him the title of privy councillor. In all, Becker produced more than 600 dies from which coins and medals were struck. The craftsmanship was superb. He didn’t think of himself as a counterfeiter, but as someone who "recreated” ancient coins. After all, he didn’t reproduce coins that were currently in circulation. Here at the House of City History, we have more than five hundred of Becker’s mintings, representing the world's largest collection of “genuine” counterfeit ancient coins.

F: Offenbach coinage ended in the 20th century with the inflation currency minted during the period from the First World War until 1923 – known as Offenbach emergency currency.

Fotos: © Haus der Stadtgeschichte