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 It was superseded by this design honouring Max Planck, which was issued between 1957 and 1971.
Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck (1858 - 1947), known as the father of quantum physics, was a German theoretical physicist whose discovery of energy quanta won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. He made many contributions to theoretical physics, but his fame as a physicist rests primarily on his role as the originator of quantum theory, which revolutionized human understanding of atomic and subatomic processes. In 1948, the German scientific institution the Kaiser Wilhelm Society (of which Planck was twice president) was renamed the Max Planck Society in his honour.
This type is called "2 Deutsche Mark II. Ausgabe" ("second issue") in German by the Deutsche Bundesbank; it was struck by four different mints:
- Munich Mint - mint mark D
- Stuttgart Mint - mint mark F
- Karlsruhe Mint - mint mark G
- Hamburg Mint - mint mark J
The diameter of these coins was slightly larger than the earlier type. They were made of copper-nickel with composition Cu (copper) 75%, Ni (nickel) 25%, similar to many other coins issued by other countries - which caused vending machines to confuse other (cheaper) foreign coins with them and accept those coins as 2 Marks. For this reason, this coin type was demonetised in 1973 and was superseded with three-layered coins with a Nickel core (making them magnetic).
The newer coins are known as the "politicians series", because on their obverses they featured portraits of German politicians:
- Konrad Adenauer, 1969 - 1987
- Theodor Heuss, 1970 - 1987
- Kurt Schumacher, 1979 - 1993
- Ludwig Erhard, 1988 - 2001
- Franz Josef Strauß (Strauss), 1990 - 2001
- Willy Brandt, 1994 - 2001
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.