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L- 520 City of Thale im Harz (Saxony-Anhalt) Aluminum 2 Mark Coin Depicting a Cat Playing with a Crown.

This was minted for the town of Thale in the district of Harz. located in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. The coin was minted by L. Christian Lauer of Nuernberg (Nürnberg), one of the many private minting companies involved in striking notgeld coins at this time. Lauer is a family who had been engaged in independent minting for generation. Best known for minting Jetons and toy coins, they later they became prolific producers of wertmarken, mostly generic tokens to be used by businesses.

On the obverse, this coin depicts a cat and a crown on an oak branch, surrounded by oak leaves and acorns. Close to the edge it is signed L. CHR LAUER NUERNBERG. The reverse continues the oak leaf and acorn theme, with a large 2 and the city and district name below.The imagery could be in reference to two German folk tales that took place around Thale.

Thale is near the Brocken which is highest mountain in the Harz, and that is known to be a place where, in the night before 1 May, witches gather and dance (Hexentanzplatz). The evil witch Watelinde once turned into a cat to lure Hilda, an innocent virgin from Thale. But before she could get control over the girl, Hilda made the sign of the cross, and a storm came and smashed Watelinde against a rock.

The crown could be a reference to the Rosstrappe, also near Thale. The story goes that once upon a time cruel character wanted to marry a king's daughter. She objected and fled on a horse but he pursued her. She arrive at a canyon and while crossing she dropped her crown. She reached the other side safe and sound but her crown was lost in the canyon. The man who would force her to marry him attempted the same crossing but fell into the canyon and died. The legend states he still sits in that river somewhere, holding the crown of the woman he could not get.

With a population of almost 13,000, Thale sits in the lush, wild pine forest of the Bode Valley near the river Bode. These forests attract a healthy tourist trade as they are ideal for camping and hiking. Founded some time in the early middle ages in connection with a monastery that stood in the area, it later became known for its rich mines and is still home today to a well established iron, and steel working industry. From 1916, Thale produced a large number of steel helmets and held a monopoly on them during the second world war. Thale is also noted for the calcium chloride spring of the Hubertusbad, which has been used for medicinal purposes since 1836.