World Coins

German inventor, ‘dandy horse’ are on silver commem

Germany’s commemorative coin program in 2017 is slated to include a silver €20 coin honoring the bicentennial of inventor Karl Drais’ dandy horse, a precursor to the bicycle.

Coin images courtesy of the German Federal Ministry of Finance; background image in the public domain.

The dandy horse (also known as velocipede) is the precursor to the bicycle.

Germany will celebrate the invention and its inventor, Karl Drais, with a commemorative silver €20 coin in 2017.

Drais termed the invention a Laufmaschine, which in German means “running machine.”

Connect with Coin World:  

Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

The invention incorporated the two-wheeler principle of the bicycle and motorcycle and was the beginning of mechanized personal transport. Users of the dandy horse used their feet to propel the two-wheeled machine when needed, and coasted when possible.

The coin celebrating the creation and its creator is due for release in July.

The reverse design, by artist Friedrich Brenner of Diedorf, includes in the background some historical context: a volcanic eruption representing the eruption in 1815 in Indonesia that caused abnormal weather patterns for 1816, now referred to as the Year Without a Summer. The bad weather, which caused worldwide crop failures, prompted Drais to seek a means of transportation that could replace the horse; the result was his invention.

The dandy horse and its rider appear in the foreground, with an inscription in German referring to Drais and his invention.

The obverse carries the standard federal eagle, along with the G Mint mark of the State mints of Baden-Württemberg, the Karlsruhe Mint, and notation of the coin’s .925 silver composition, framed within a circle of the 12 stars of Europe, while the nation’s name, the year 2017 and the coin denomination encircle the rim.

Edge lettering on the coin marks the anniversary of Drais’ invention. 

The coin will weigh 18 grams and measure 32.5 millimeters in diameter. 

Uncirculated examples will be available at post offices for face value. Proof versions will be sold for a higher price, which will be established right before the launch.

Community Comments