The foundation of the German monetary Union was a political decision by the German monarchs, dukes and free cities. The dominant power among these allies was Prussia. Accordingly, the Prussian taler became the basis for national currency. However, since the allies considered it wise to create a standard coin of the approximate value of the French franc, it was not the taler that was made the unit of value, but its third. The new currency was called mark. A currency by the name of mark had existed in some German lands already in the 16th century. What was new, however, was that the new currency was divided decimally: One mark equaled 100 pfennigs, while the old union taler had been worth 105 kreuzers. Another innovation was that the mark was based on the gold standard; in the years of 1877 and 1878, gold coins at five mark were issued. The new silver coins, on the other hand, were token coins and had to be accepted only up to a sum of 20 mark.