The Two Marks coin, abbreviated 2 DM and known in English as 2 German Marks, was a relatively large circulating denomination of the Deutsche Mark (German mark), which was the official currency of West Germany from 1948 until 1990 and later of unified Germany from 1990 until 2002.
The initial design was similar to the 1 Mark coin and was only issued in 1951. It was superseded by a design honouring Max Planck, which was issued between 1957 and 1971.
Those earlier coins were made of CuproNickel and were confusing to vending machines (which mistakenly accepted cheap foreign coins instead of 2 DM), so were demonetized in 1973 and replaced by a new series of coins called the "politicians series" because it depicts portraits of German politicians on the obverse. These coins are three-layered: CuproNickel with a Nickel core, which makes them magnetic unlike the earlier ones.
This fourth type of new coins honours Prof. Dr. Ludwig Erhard (1897 - 1977), a German politician who was the second Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) from 1963 until 1966. He is often famed for leading the West German postwar economic reforms and economic recovery (Wirtschaftswunder, German for "economic miracle") in his role as Minister of Economic Affairs under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer from 1949 to 1963. During that period he promoted the concept of the social market economy (soziale Marktwirtschaft), on which Germany's economic policy in the 21st century continues to be based.
This type is called "2 Deutsche Mark VI. Ausgabe" ("sixth issue") in German by the Deutsche Bundesbank; it was struck between 1988 and 2001 by five different mints:
- Berlin Mint - mint mark A (from 1991; Berlin was in a different country - the German Democratic Republic - before that)
- Munich Mint - mint mark D
- Stuttgart Mint - mint mark F
- Karlsruhe Mint - mint mark G
- Hamburg Mint - mint mark J
Other coins of the "politicians series" include:
- Konrad Adenauer, 1969 - 1987
- Theodor Heuss, 1970 - 1987
- Kurt Schumacher, 1979 - 1993
- Franz Josef Strauß (Strauss), 1990 - 2001
- Willy Brandt, 1994 - 2001
Note that the introduction of new designs did not supplant the previous ones; older designs continued to be issued and used in parallel.
The edge inscription was the same throughout the history of the denomination: Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit, meaning "Unity and Justice and Freedom".
In 1999, the Deutsche Mark was replaced by the Euro; its coins and banknotes remained in circulation, defined in terms of euros, until the introduction of euro notes and coins on 1 January 2002. The Deutsche Mark ceased to be legal tender immediately upon the introduction of the euro - in contrast to the other eurozone nations, where the euro and legacy currency circulated side by side for up to two months. Mark coins and banknotes continued to be accepted as valid forms of payment in Germany until 28 February 2002.