New Guinea 1895-A 20 mark

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Eliasberg lot 2249
New Guinea 1895A 20 mark rev Eliasberg 2249.jpg
This coin was minted in Berlin in 1895 for the German colony of New Guinea. This specimen was lot 2249 in the Eliasberg sale, where it sold for $50,600. The catalog description[1] noted,
"1895 A 20 marks. Berlin mint. Proof-65 (NGC). Beautiful perched Bird of Paradise/wreath, legend above, denomination and date within, mintmark below. Light yellow gold with sharp frosty devices and deeply reflective fields. Essentially free of any noteworthy signs of handling, a true gem. Faint die polish lines are seen in the fields, as made. One of the most famous design types in the entire realm of world coinage. Only 1,500 pieces were struck in this denomination, of which Proof strikes made up a tiny proportion -- even the famous Hammel collection lacked these issues in Proof. A simply superb specimen that has been carefully handled since its original time of issue. From the John H. Clapp Collection; Clapp estate to Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., 1942."

A popular, classic, rare and expensive gold piece. A gold ten mark piece also exists, along with silver half mark, mark, two mark and five mark pieces. The German colony of New Guinea fell to the Australians in 1914 and was held by them until 1975, when the area became part of Papua New Guinea. Mineral wealth abounds but the climate and terrain are harsh and the country remains poor.

In German, plurals are formed in unpredictable ways. The plural of "mark" is also "mark."

Recorded mintage: 1,500.

Specification: 7.95 g, .900 fine gold, .230 troy oz AGW; this specimen: 7.96 grams, 22.60 mm diameter.

Catalog reference: Fr-1, J-709, KM 9.


  • [1]Kraljevich, John, John Pack, Elizabeth O. Piper and Frank Van Valen, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., Collection of World Gold Coins and Medals, Wolfboro, NH: American Numismatic Rarities, 2005.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 9th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2017.
  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 9th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.

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