*The German ‘Mark’

………. Deutsche mark, Silbermark, Goldmark, papiermark, Rentenmark, Festmark, Reichsmark……………..

Collectors of German banknotes and notgeld issues, will see the face value denominations on these German notes in ‘marks’, but they will differ, depending on the date of issue.

Since 1871, the date of original German unification, the mark has been the currency of Germany. It replaced the Thaler and also the South German gulden (state currencies used in Bavaria, Baden and Wuerttemberg) and, funnily enough, the Hamburg mark.The first mark, known as the Goldmark, was introduced in 1873, but with the outbreak of WWI, the mark was removed from the gold standard. The currency at this time became known as the ‘Papiermark’ and all the inflationary and hyper-inflationary notes of 1922 & 1923 were exclusively made of paper – the paper banknotes that we all collect. The Papiermark was replaced by the Rentenmark from November 1923……and then the Reichsmark in 1924. There was of course, also, the so-called ‘Silbermark’, a name for the 1 mark coins of the Second Empire issued from 1873 to 1916, that were 90% silver.


A 20m banknote issued in August 1914.


A notgeld issue from Donaueschingen, for 10m, issued in 1918.


3 sets of 3 notgeld from Soest, issued in 1922, for 10m, 20m & 50m. The different colours were printed for the collector market demand of that time!


A Reichsbanknote with face value of 20,000,000m, issued in Juli 1923.


A Reichsbanknote with face value of 5,000,000,000m, issued in September 1923


A private notgeld issue from Auerbach/Leipzig, dating from August 1923.


A hyper-inflationary notgeld issue, dating from August 1923, but unusually with a face value denoted in ‘Reichsmark‘.


A Reichsbanknote from August 1923 with face value of 2 millionen mark…..but subsequently overprinted to raise the face value up to 2 Billionen mark (2,000,000,000,000m)!


A very high face valued notgeld issue from Duesseldorf, issued in November 1923, for 100 Billionen mark (100,000,000,000,000m)!!!

Berlin 2 Copy

Above is a ‘wertbestaendige’ notgeld issue from Berlin of November 1923, with face value of 1.05 Goldmark /.25 dollar US (where the mark had, nominally at least, been linked back to gold…………..to try and manage and stabilize the hyper-inflation of the period.

Another private ‘wertbestaendige’ notgeld issue, can be seen below, but this time the face value is for an actual commodity, rye (roggen). The term ‘Roggenmark‘ is very interesting to a collector of these different German ‘mark’ pieces!

Bremen Roggenmark

The next piece illustrated is from Bremen – a piece of wertbestaendige notgeld issued by the Festmark Bank A.G and with a face value of 4 Festmark!! (‘strong mark’ ,……. after the collapsed mark of 1923).

Bremen 4Festmark
An unusual face value
Another ‘Festmark’ piece but this time from Rendsburg.

Grundmark‘ – Berlin B038 wertbestaendige

A 5 ‘Rentenmark‘ banknote dated ‘2 Januar 1926’.

I recently stumbled upon this fascinating postcard from the period which has a lovely verse and story on it:

Three German Reichsmarks

Three marks I want to give you today,

Keep them safe as a memorial,

One day they'll be able to tell you much

About the days of Germany's terrible currency emergency!


The first is made of simple paper,

Sadly you won't be able to get much for that,

Its exchange rate changes daily in a merry way,

It often goes up, but more often goes down!


The second is made of porcelain,

You'll never have seen one of these before!

They get minted fresh in Meissen

And soon will be available all over Germany.


The third is actually made of silver,

And wasn't in circulation last year!

You won't see another one of these again

For another hundred years!


*German-Polish town names

Issues (German) – basic

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