Useful notgeld ‘glossary’

Word translation


  • Abbildung – illustration
  • Amtshauptmann – district administrator
  • Amtshauptmannschaft –  district administration office
  • Anteilschein – share certificate
  • Aufdruck – overprint
  • Auflage – edition
  • Ausgabe – issue or edition
  • Ausser Kurs / Ausser Kurs gesetzt – taken out of circulation (ie) no longer valid
  • mit Aussteller – with issuer (usually a stamp stating ‘stadtkasse’ – see Malchow catalogue entries as a good example)
  • Ausstellung – exhibition or show
  • Baustein – ‘building block’ – (generally) a receipt for donations made towards costs of a building or restoration
  • Bild – portrait
  • Borte – braid trimming / galloon.
  •  'mit borte umraendelt' - braided
  •  'mit spitze umraendelt' - laced
  •   kurbelstickerei - machine embroidered/embroidery
  • Briefmarken – postage stamp
  • Buettenpapier – thick rough paper
  • Druckfehler – printing error
  • Druckfirma – printing firm
  • Dunkel – dark
  • Ecke – corner
  • Ehrengabe – presentation gift
  • Ersatzschein – substitute note (see Ersatzwertzeichen below – both terms are similar).
  • Ersatzwertzeichen – replacement note (see Ersatzschein above – both terms are similar).
  • Faelschung – forgery
  • Farbe – colour
  • Fehldruck – misprint (print error)
  • Freiheit – freedom
  • Gefangenenlager – prisoner-of-war camp
  • Gemeinde – Community
  • Grossgeld – notes of 1m or over in value
  • Gueltig – valid until…..
  • Gutschein – voucher or credit note
  • Handelskammer – Chamber of Commerce
  • Hell – light (colour)
  • Heller – 1/100 Krone, so note is Austrian and not German!
  • Kassenfrisch – ‘cash register fresh’ (uncirculated, like straight from an ATM machine)!
  • Kaufmaennischer Verein – merchant society or commercial society. (Modern-day translation would be “Chamber of Commerce and Industry”).
  • Kleingeld – notes of less than 1m in value
  • Konsum- und Sparverein – this would be a Cooperative and Savings Union/Association, a bit like a Co Op store but with the added facilities of the Co-Operative Bank
  • Kuenstler – artist
  • Lebensmittelkarte – food ration card
  • Liebhaberpreis – ( value designated as ‘LP’ in the catalogues – see note at bottom of this section)
  • Mehrfarbig – multi-coloured
  • Notgeld – emergency/necessity money
  • ‘nur zur Verrechnund’ – only for settlement of invoices.

(companies would have issued notes but those stamped “nur zur Verrechnung” would not go into general circulation but be used to settle invoices from other companies, presumably for reasons of financial prudence……   Um?)

  • Papier (Wasserliniertes) – paper with lines really close together
  • Pfennig – 1/100 Mark, so similar to English penny, although not same face value
  • Rabattvereinigung – discount association
  • Rathaus – city or town hall
  • Schieber – an old-fashioned German word (not really used today) that meant a rich unscrupulous and criminal profiteer (see also ‘Wucherer’)
  • Sparkasse – savings bank
  • Spendenschein – a donation certificate
  • Spitze – lace, one kind of ‘borte’
  • Stadt – city or town
  • Stoffgeld – money made of material (silk, linen, velvet, leather etc.)
  • Ungiltig / Ungultig – no longer valid, cancelled.
  • Verein – club / society
  • Verlaengerungsstempel (Verl.-Stpl.) – a dated ‘extension stamp’
  • Wappen – coat of arms
  • Wasserzeichen – watermarked paper
  • Weschselschein – change note
  • Wucherer und Schieber‘ …….’usurers’ (moneylenders……..but specifically people who lend money at exorbitant rates)…………and rich, unscrupulous profiteers). 


  • ohne datum (o.d) – without date
  • ohne Wz – without watermark
  • ohne WZ – without a value (on the note). Could refer to the corners of a note, where the boxes either say for example ’75pf’ or are just plain boxes.
  • ohne KN – without Konto Number (account/serial number)
  • mit KN – with ” “

(In the notgeld catalogues, where most of the values in the up-to-date ones are in euros, some notes have ‘LP’ aagainst them as a catalogue value. Notes valued as ‘LP‘, a short form of the German word ‘Liebhaberpreis‘, the price for such notes is entirely up to the individual liking of the collector. This expensive category also covers trial notes, which appear very seldom on the market. All these notes can demand prices of approx. 1000 euros or higher.)

German governance:

There was considerable local variation as to titles and councils and areas of responsibility which dated back to the pre-unified German states before 1871 and which continued throughout the Second Empire and even into the Weimar Republic, as each of the German states was still nominally autonomous (and in federal terms today, this is still generally true).  So Bavaria and Baden in southern Germany have certain terms, while the Prussian and other northern provinces seem to go their own way too.  I hope the following info. is useful and helpful to all German notgeld collectors. You will come across some of these terms on the notgeld:

The District (Kriese) Council is headed by the District President (Landrat)

The Municipal Council is headed by the Mayor (Buergermeister)

The Town or City Council is the Stadtrat or Rat der Stadt which was usually located in the Town hall (Rathaus)

(The Magistrat is a group of elected people who are responsible for the administration of the town or city council…..instead of just one, the mayor.)





*The Kindelbrueck story

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