Actual Gold Content: .2304 troy ounce
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The Friederich III 'Longbeard' 20 mark gold coin is difficult to obtain in any state of preservation and an exceptional opportunity in the brilliant uncirculated grade. This is the first time in our more than a decade of handling pre-1933 European gold coins that we have had the privilege of offering the legendary 'Longbeard' to our clientele. It was minted one year only - in 1888 - and the mintage of 5.364 million is very small when compared to the Wilhelm II issue of roughly 115 million.
As the nearby portrait illustrates, Friederich III, German Emperor, was an imposing figure with his full beard and military regalia. He came to maturity under a strict Prussian father who taught him the military art. 'Fritz,' as he is known to historians, distinguished himself on the battlefield in the Franco-Prussian War, though, his revulsion for conflict belied the heroic bearing. His political life, however, was less fulfilling. Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck distrusted the liberalism of Friederich and his wife, 'Vicky', the daughter of Britain's Queen Victoria, and worked ceaselessly to keep them at arm's length from the levers of power.
By the time Friederich finally did ascend the throne of the German empire, he had incurable cancer of the larynx and ruled for only 99 days, hence the single issue of the 1888 20 mark gold coins bearing his personage. Many studied in late 19th-century European affairs consider his early death at 57 years of age, and the accession of his son, the war-like Wilhelm II, as a critical turning point in European history