Doug M. writes: My brother-in-law found a 1744 2 Kreutzer piece while metal detecting in rural Ventura, California. It appears to be a silver piece a bit smaller than an U. S. small cent and thinner than a dime. The obverse is plain, just containing the inscription: 2 KREUTZER, 1744,AK within a wreath. The reverse contains a shield embossed with a lion with a double tail, standing on its rear legs and facing left, also contained within a wreath. The inscription H.D lies over the shield. Both the obverse and reverse are surrounded by what appears to be hand stamped reeding (off-center to the right). I estimate the coin to be in very fine condition. My questions:
1. What do A.K and H.D. mean?
2. How would you speculate the coin appeared in California-could it be associated with a 1768 colonizing expedition for the San Buenaventura Mission, located about 4 miles from the site, or with an independent German or Austrian traveler?
3. Any idea of the coin’s value? Thank you. Doug
You have a 1744 2 Kreuzer from the German State of Hesse-Darmstadt (The H.D. above the Lion Shield), located in south western Germany. “A.K” are the assayers initials, Andreas Koch, who was Mintmaster from 1744-1771. The coin is Billon, that is, a base metal coin, probably copper, with a silver wash. Value range depends on condition: about $5 – $25 in average circulated condition.
The 2 Kreuzer (8 heller=4 pfennige=1 Kruezer) was a very small amount of money (approximate buying power of a U.S. 5c piece today) and I suspect that the coin was a souvenir of the homeland. The date of the coin is not necessarily an indication of the time of immigration as the coin could have been a family keepsake. You could easily speculate that the coin was lost at the time of the California gold rush when many immigrants arrived to work the gold fields.