Coins in Movies - The Great Sinner (1949) with Gregory Peck and German thalers on the table

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by willieboyd2, May 12, 2019.

  1. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    "The Great Sinner" is a 1949 film set around 1860 at the Wiesbaden casino in Germany.

    Gregory Peck meets Ava Gardner and she introduces him to gambling.

    "The Great Sinner" - Gregory Peck

    At one point he puts two coins on the roulette table:

    "The Great Sinner" - Coins on the table

    The coin showing is a Germany Prussia Vereinsthaler of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV minted 1857 to 1861.

    Naturally, I just had to get one:

    Germany Prussia Vereinsthaler 1860
    Silver, 34 mm, 18.52 gm, Berlin mint 'A'

    The film does not explicitly state what "great sin" Gregory Peck has committed but could he have killed a ...

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  3. Devyn5150

    Devyn5150 Music Maker Making Change

    Your post brought to light my own curiosity on movie coins. The movie wasn’t a blockbuster, I liked it, but the coin in it was intriguing although it was never really seen up close.


    I had to do some scrolling in my Google search to find out what it was. People asked but no one seemed to know but I think I found the answer in the book. I couldn’t find an example of the right coin by the description (added below the following photo) of it however... maybe someone knows it.

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  4. chrisild

    chrisild Coin Collector Supporter

    The odd thing is that Wiesbaden was part (and capital) of Nassau until Prussia swallowed Nassau in 1866. But it may well be, of course, that "older" Prussian coins were used there after the annexation. Great detective work anyway! :)

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  5. FooFighter

    FooFighter Just a Knucklehead Coin Hunter

    Caught the end of Indecent Proposal the other day, and wasn't even expecting it, but towards the end, I think its Robert Redford is letting Demi Moore out of the limo, and he hands her what I believe is a Walking Liberty Silver Dollar.
    I would have never picked up on that before I started getting into coins like I have. Feel free to correct me about what the coin is. I expect it.
    Thanks. Enjoy the movies, and the coins.

    Foo out
  6. Hus.thaler

    Hus.thaler Active Member

    I've never seen that movie, but the coin sure looks to me like the Wilhelm I 5 mark of 1874-1876. If I am right, it obviously does not fit for 1860s era, but it is still old and Prussian-y.

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  7. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    Another scene with a vereinsthaler obverse and three coin reverses:


    The coin reverses shown are not the reverses of vereinsthalers but are reverses of German States post 1871 unification 3 mark coins.

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  8. Hus.thaler

    Hus.thaler Active Member

    Definitely the 5 mark coins. No 3 mark coins were minted with that "small eagle" type reverse.
  9. trussell

    trussell Active Member

    No country for old men.
  10. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    In the four coin picture, the obverse vereinsthaler and the three reverses are about the same size.

    The obverse looks a little larger than the reverse next to it.

    The thaler is 34 mm and the 3-mark coin is 33 mm. The 5-mark coin is 38 mm which makes it too big.

  11. Black Friar

    Black Friar Supporter! Supporter

    I don't know about the coin, but as a small kid I fell heavily in love with Eva Gardner. Movie 1949, I was born two years before the movie, so I figure I was around 7 when my secret love affair started. She was a beautiful woman. Nice Coin.
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  12. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    What an interesting post! I love movie coins and I was unaware of this one.

    As for the coin in question, here is my impression of Gregory Peck in The Great Sinner (even my thumb isn't as good-looking as Peck's):

    Movie Coin - Prussia 5 marks 0519 (2).JPG

    That is a Prussian silver 5 mark dated 1876, Breslau Mint. Assuming my hand is about the same size as Peck's (if not as handsome), I'd say he is holding a 5 mark coin, and not a thaler or 3 mark (based on relative size of hand-to-coin). The reverse photos posted above bear this out as well - that malnourished eagle was pretty distinctive on Reich 5 marks of the 1870s-1880s.
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  13. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    Ava Gardner

    It is possible that the MGM studio needed some "German" coins for the film and had them made specifically for the film.

    Casino roulette wheel

    There is a box with stacks of coins and some are showing heads similar to the thaler.

    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  14. chrisild

    chrisild Coin Collector Supporter

    Prop money used in movies should of course not cause any raised eyebrows among the audience. So as long as bills that are supposed to be USD bills look like US dollars, all is well. And with a scene or movie at some foreign location, decades ago, you can even be more "generous" when it comes to details. How many people would, 70 years ago, have taken single images out of movies, maybe blown the image up, and analyzed the coins? ;)

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  15. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

  16. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    great chatch @willieboyd2
    I like comparing movie money to the real stuff.
  17. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    Hus.thaler wrote: I've never seen that movie, but the coin sure looks to me like the Wilhelm I 5 mark of 1874-1876.

    Thank you for the information, Hus.thaler

    The Wilhelm I 5 mark coin certainly resembles the coin in the film as both kings Friedrich Wilhelm IV and Wilhelm I look alike.

    The 5 mark coin would also solve the problem of the reverses.

    But what do I do with my Vereinsthaler?

  18. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    The plot thickens:

    Here is a picture of the film coin obverse:

    Coin on casino roulette table

    The obverse text appears to be:
    which is the text on the Vereinsthaler.

    Last edited: May 21, 2019
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  19. juris klavins

    juris klavins Well-Known Member

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  20. juris klavins

    juris klavins Well-Known Member

    A scene from John Wick, where he pays Charlie the 'cleaner' in gold coins for professional services rendered after the bloody shootout in Wick's home :cool:

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  21. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    In this scene from the 1951 film "Pandora and the Flying Dutchman" Ava Gardner is in the house of an archaeologist and numismatist and looks at some of his notes.


    Last edited: May 24, 2019
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