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During and after the First World War, money, especially small change, was in short supply. Metal was being used in the war efforts and people's natural tendancy to hold onto something of value, (ie) coins and banknotes, furthered the shortage. Eventually to get over this problem, the state bank (Reichbank) appears to have agreed to allow towns, villages and municipalities to issue their own money. These issues were emergency issues. The word not means emergency or necessity and geld means money, so notgeld means emergency money....... These highly collectable 'German gems', interesting old banknotes, with their different colourful motives and designs, can usually be found at flea markets etc. and will fascinate the collectors out there!!

Notgeld was issued by several countries, but this website is primarily interested in the notgeld issues of Germany.


The note above tells of a 'miracle' - the ploy of an abbey to get its coffers full again! (Full translations are available for my GNCC members)

('Notgeld'.....awaryjne pieniadze" i ich niemieckie wydania sa z lat 1914-1923. Wydawane byly glownie z powodu braku drobnych. Wiekszosc jest bardzo kolorowa i pieknie zaprojektowana. Kolekcjonerzy doceniaja ich rozmaitosc (serienscheine). Sa rozsadne w cenie, dlaczego wiec nie rozpoczac ich kolekcjonowania czy rozszerzyc dodatkowo kolekcji? Obecnie uzywam niemieckich nazw miast z ktorych pochodza, ale z czasem bede dodawal takze polskie nazwy miast.)


As time went on, more and more towns and villages jumped on the band wagon to print their own money, so that eventually, individual towns were able to produce notes that depicted their town's buildings or things that were important to their identity. If the town produced a commodity, eg) silk (Bielefeld), then the notes quite often depicted these manufacturing processes. In the above example, several of the Bielefeld notgeld issues were actually printed on silk and linen. Local 'heroes' could be depicted as could scenes from round and about. I am fascinated by the opportunity the local artists had to design money not burdened by the rules applied in designing official banknotes (with all the anti currency-fakers devices and tricks they need nowadays). Thus, the notgeld issues were also official documents, signed by the Burgermeister, commissioned by the city - they were not an individual artistic gesture, but a collective expression of feelings, fears, love for places and peoples, hatred against some ethnic groups or professions.....


So many of these notgeld were so colourful, that it was inevitable that collectors would soon become interested in them - investing time and effort in research and cataloguing and better understanding why they came about and why their issues were so prolific. Slight variants in the pieces make notgeld collecting so interesting!! (Can you spot the differences?)


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