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Fälschung für den Geldumlauf eines preußischen Doppeltalers, Detail, 1840
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Münzkabinett / Franziska Vu
Fälschungen antiker Münzen, die massenhaft als Originale an Touristen verkauft werden, Schenkung 2024
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Münzkabinett / Franziska Vu
Fälschungen für den Geldumlauf von 2 Mark-Stücken der Jahre 1925–1931, aus dem Archiv der Münze Berlin
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Münzkabinett / Franziska Vu
Prägestempel des berühmtesten Münzfälschers des 19. Jh., Carl Wilhelm Becker (1772–1830), Detail
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Münzkabinett / Franziska V
Prägezange eines Falschmünzers zur Herstellung falscher Markstücke des Jahres 1934, Detail, aus dem Archiv der Münze Berlin
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Münzkabinett / Franziska Vu
Prägestempel und Fälschungen eines Markstücks, Detail, 1954, Deutsche Bundesbank, Nationales Analysezentrum für Falschgeld und beschädigtes Bargeld
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Münzkabinett / Franziska Vu
Niederländischer Taler, 1757, Preußische Fälschung im Auftrag Friedrichs des Großen aus dem Jahr 1771
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Münzkabinett / Christian Stoess
Abgetrennte Hand eines Rigaer Falschmünzers des 16. Jh., ursprünglich von Scharfrichter zu Abschreckungszwecken ausgestellt
© Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation / Astrīda Meirāne
Durch Umschnitt der Schrift zu einem Berliner Taler verfälschter Taler von St. Gallen 1622
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Münzkabinett / Christian Stoess
Früheste Münzen aus Sardis (Lydien, heute Westtürkei), geprägt 625–550 vor Chr., Fälschung mit Silberkern von Elektron-Legierung ummantelt
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Münzkabinett / Lutz-Jürgen Lübke (Lübke & Wiedemann)

Just as old as minted gold are the crimes associated with it: coins and medallions made of fine metals have been tempting people towards theft, robbery and fraud for as long as they’ve been around. Counterfeit coins put into circulation undermine people’s trust in currency. But they have also been created especially for collectors since as far back as the Renaissance. This exhibition presents originals and counterfeits side by side, as well as siome of the tools of the trade that shed light on the techniques used by counterfeiters.

The main focus of this exhibition is the practice of counterfeiting of coins. Counterfeit coins are usually the result of private endeavour, but they are also sometimes manufactured by state institutions. In times when coins were the only method of payment, counterfeiting presented a serious problem, one which ­– at worst – could lead to a destabilisation of the economy. The question of whether Frederick the Great was a counterfeiter and where exactly the border between voided currency and counterfeit lies are among the topics tackled by this exhibition.

From the Disappearance of Coins to the Challenges of Identifying Counterfeits

The diminishing significance of coins as currency means that counterfeit coins are now a much rarer occurrence. At the same time, it has become increasingly difficult for collectors to identify ever-more sophisticated counterfeit coins. A substantial portion of the exhibition is devoted to the techniques used by counterfeiters. The exhibition uses both historic and modern counterfeiting tools loaned from the Münzkabinett, the Deutsche Bundesbank, the KfW banking group and private owners to help illustrate how these criminals carried out their activities. Visitors to the exhibition can test out the methods used to detect counterfeits themselves. The various punishments dealt out to counterfeiters throughout the ages are also covered in detail.

Coin-Related Crimes

The exhibition also touches on other crimes and their connection to coins. Theft, robbery and offences relating to the protection of cultural assets are not specifically numismatic problems. However, the fact that coins and medallions are easy to carry makes them particularly susceptible to these criminal acts. The Münzkabinett’s own collection has been repeatedly hit by thefts, beginning from the time of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) through to the “Big Maple Leaf” that was stolen from the Bode-Museum in 2017.

The Münzkabinett: A Treasure Trove of Deception

The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s Münzkabinett currently houses around 540,000 objects related to monetary history, including thousands of counterfeit coins that have been deliberately collected since the 19th century. With objects from some of history’s most famous coin counterfeiters, such as Nicolaus Seeländer (1682–1744) and Carl Wilhelm Becker (1772–1830), the Münzkabinett looks after a unique set of archives and holdings that also encompass many tools used for counterfeiting.

Curator

This exhibition was curated by Christian Stoess, research associate at the Münzkabinett.

Publication

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication through Battenberg-Gietl Verlag titled Falschgeld und Münzfälschungen, featuring 15 contributions by renowned academics on the topics explored by the exhibition.


A special exhibition by the Münzkabinett – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Opening hours,

  • Monday-Tuesday closed
  • Wednesday-Friday 10:00 - 17:00
  • Saturday-Sunday 10:00 - 18:00

Please refer to the information bundled on this page to plan your visit.

Special arrangement: Open on Tuesdays for registered school classes with a guided tour.

  • 1. January 12:00 - 18:00
  • 8. March 10:00 - 18:00
  • 1. May 10:00 - 18:00
  • 3. October 10:00 - 18:00
  • 24. December closed
  • 25. December 10:00 - 18:00
  • 26. December 10:00 - 18:00
  • 31. December closed

Location,

Bode-Museum
Am Kupfergraben, 10178 Berlin

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Telephone,

+49 (30) 266 42 42 42

Website,

www.smb.museum/en/exhibi…

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Prices,

Admission price 12,00 €

Museum Island + Panorama: 24,00 €

Reduced price 6,00 €

Museum Island + Panorama: 12,00 €

Children and young people up to the age of 18 are admitted free of charge.

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Museum Island + Panorama: 24,00 €

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6,00 €

Museum Island + Panorama: 12,00 €

Children and young people up to the age of 18 are admitted free of charge.

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