The Summer Olympics were held in Munich, Germany in 1972. The games were overshadowed by the Munich massacre in which eleven Israeli athletes and coaches, and a German police officer, were killed by rebels.
Before the massacre and in commemoration of the games, Germany issued many different 10 mark silver coins with different patterns, legends, mint marks, and edge lettering. Most of these coins are unremarkable, and are worth only their silver value of 0.311 troy ounces. At $30 US dollars per troy ounce, that's about 0.311 x 30 = $9 US dollars. Proof versions were issued for collectors, and these usually command a little more than silver value. Be sure to look up the current value of silver (click to kitco.com) because it changes every day.
However, there is one specific variety of these coins which is quite valuable, and we describe here how to determine if you have the *good* one or not.
To find out if you have the valuable coin, run through this checklist:
First: The coin must bear the spiral pattern in our main picture. It must not bear any of the other 1972 patterns in the secondary picture with the blue background. The coins in the blue picture are all German 10 mark coins dated 1972, and they are all made of 0.311 troy ounces of silver, but they are not special and they are not worth much more than bullion value.
Second: The coin must bear the inscription IN MUNCHEN, not IN DEUTSCHLAND, on the side with the spiral ray design. The coin in our main picture has the IN MUNCHEN inscription.
Third: The coin must have arabesque symbols on its edge, not dots or periods. Coins with these arabesque symbols are elusive, and some of the other patterns (coins in picture with blue background) have them as well. But only coins with the spiral design in our main picture with IN MUNCHEN and arabesques are special, rare, and valuable. CoinQuest thanks Munzen Muller in Lüneburg, Germany for use of their image of the arabesque edge.
If your coin meets all three criteria above, congratulations! It is a special error coin and is worth a bunch of money. All other coins are worth their silver value, as outlined in the first paragraphs above.
DO NOT CLEAN YOUR COIN. CLEANING RUINS VALUE.
There is one final step to determine the value of the special coin: the mint mark D, F, G, or J. According to this Numista page, the mintage of 1972J 10 mark coins (with the J mint mark on the side with the eagle as in our main picture) is only 600 coins. The mintage of D, F, and G mint marks is not precisely known, but is probably less than 600. So, here are CoinQuest estimates of catalog value:
SPECIAL 1972J 10 MARK:
circulated: $200 US dollars approximate catalog value
fully uncirculated: $1000
SPECIAL 1972D, 1972F, or 1972G 10 MARK:
circulated: $500 US dollars approximate catalog value
fully uncirculated: $3000
These are catalog values and must be converted to actual buy and sell values by applying the concepts presented on our Terminology page. Hope you have the *good* one!