World Coins

Money scales bearing ornate designs used by early German merchants

Scales were required for merchants to detect counterfeit and clipped gold coins. This set consists of a beam and a set of standard weights.

Image courtesy of Howard M. Berlin.

Money scales housed in ornately designed boxes were used by merchants to detect counterfeit and clipped gold coins. Examples of these money scales are just one of the many numismatic displays visitors to the Hamburg History Museum can examine.

Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city after Berlin and lays claim to the world’s second oldest bank. The city is located along the River Elbe and it served as a major center for medieval fairs.

Museum offerings

The Hamburg History Museum was established at its current location in 1922 in the St. Pauli neighborhood. As a history museum that chronicles the birth of Hamburg to the present, it highlights the city’s role in shipping and banking.

The major numismatic exhibition is on the first floor (second level) in Das Jahrhundert der Reformation (The Century of the Reformation) wing, which leads to the Hamburg in der frühen Neuzeit (Hamburg in the Early Modern Period) area.

How to get there

The museum is at Holstenwall 24, and is easily reached either from the St. Pauli stop on the U3 U-Bahn (Yellow) line a block around the corner, or via the No. 112 bus at the Hamburgmuseum stop in front of the museum.

Like most European venues, it is closed on Monday, as well as Jan. 1, May 1, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31.

The museum is handicap accessible, has a cafe, book shop and library, and photography (without flash) is permitted. The English website is

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