South German gulden

The Gulden was the currency of the states of southern Germany between 1754 and 1873. These states included Bavaria, Baden, Württemberg, Frankfurt and Hohenzollern. This specific Gulden was based on the Gulden or florin used in the Holy Roman Empire during the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern period.

Shortly after the introduction of the Conventionsthaler in 1754, various southern German states introduced the Kreuzer Landmünze. The originally planned Kreuzer (also called the Conventionskreuzer), was to have been worth ​1120 of a Conventionsthaler (see Austro-Hungarian Gulden), whereas the Kreuzer Landmünze was worth ​1144 of a Conventionsthaler (​56 of a Conventionskreuzer), allowing the states to adopt a more debased currency. For accounting purposes, there was a Gulden of 60 Kreuzer Landmünze which was worth ​512 of a Conventionsthaler. This Gulden (equivalent to ​124 of a Cologne mark of silver) was used for accounting in southern German states and appeared on banknotes but was not issued as a coin.

This Conventionsthaler, containing 23.39 g fine silver and valued at 2.4 gulden (or 9.73 g per gulden), was superseded between 1807 and 1837 by the minting of Kronenthaler coins containing 25.71 g fine silver but valued at 2.7 gulden (or only 9.52 g per gulden), in a competitive currency depreciation between the various South German states; explained under Kronenthaler.

The situation above was only resolved by the German Customs Union and currency union of 1837 which redefined the Gulden at ​124.5 Cologne mark or 9.545 g of silver. This allowed for an exchange rate of ​1 34 Gulden to 1 Prussian Thaler. Coins were issued in denominations of ​12 Gulden and 1 Gulden; as well as 1 Thaler and 2 Thaler (the latter also denominated as ​3 12 Gulden), together with smaller pieces.

In 1857, the Vereinsthaler was introduced with a silver content fractionally smaller than the Prussian standard. This led to a change of design for the thaler coins of southern Germany, but no changes were made to the other denominations.

Following the Unification of Germany in 1871, the newly formed German Empire adopted the Goldmark in 1873 as it began to standardise to a single currency within its borders, and chose to decimalise. One Mark, (written as 1 ), was subdivided into one-hundred Pfennig (written as 100 ), with the mark having an exchange equal to 35 Kreuzer, as the South German Gulden began to be withdrawn over the next three years.

From 1 January 1876 the Gulden and the Kreuzer, along with all other forms of currency which existed previously in what was now the German Empire, were abolished.

(The decimal Goldmark became the only legal tender, until 4 August 1914 when the link between the Mark and gold was abandoned with the outbreak of World War I, and replaced by the Papiermark).


  • Krause, Chester L.; Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0873411501.
  • Pick, Albert (1990). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: Specialized Issues. Colin R. Bruce II and Neil Shafer (editors) (6th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-149-8.
Preceded by
South German currency
Succeeded by
German Goldmark