Bielefeld borders

The scan below, depicts a yellow 1000m piece made of linen with a lovely orange border. The top part of the note shows the 'animal concert' the music hall was also going to be used as a cattle market! (The Rudolf Oetker-Halle concert hall in Bielefeld, was famous for its excellent acoustics). When you turn the note over, there are some beautiful graphics there as well, with the top part showing the 'flying birds' (usually)!! The piece with black border (below) is 'upside down' and catalogued as 'kopfstehend' - quite scarce, so with the lovely black border as well, catalogue value is 100 euros.


Some scans of similar pieces, but with different coloured borders.



A close-up of the bottom right hand corner of the above scan shows the different numbers of crosses that the collector should look out for.....12, 13 or 14!. These only appear to exist of the yellow 1000m note and not the green 1000m varieties. Same with the borders - most, you will only find on the yellow 1000m notes. Green 1000m pieces with borders can be seen as rare, cataloguing at 300 euros.

The text and pictures on the reverse side of the 1000m stoffgeld piece, are also very interesting!

Black writing round the edge : Germany paid for enemy occupation in the Rhineland 1¾ : 14, 000 drawing rooms, 2,000 gentlemen’s studies, 5,000 dining rooms, 10,300 bedrooms, 10,000 kitchens, 2,000 club chairs, 14,000 armchairs. Enemy occupation expenditure in the Rheinland 1920-21 : 800 ladies’ writing desks, 500 dressing tables, 16,000 clothes irons, 18,000 carpets, furthermore 72,000 glasses for white wine, 51,000 for red wine, 15,000 for sparkling wine, 58,000 for liqueurs, 26,000 for beer, 9,000 wine carafes etc.

This would appear to be a bitterly humorous estimate of the good things in life enjoyed by the Allied occupiers of the Rhineland after the Great War, in terms of the rooms and furniture they occupied, the items they used and the drinks they poured into themselves. I doubt very much that these are well-founded statistics, they serve rather to make a political point about the burden of occupation, requisitioning and confiscation.

Red writing round inner edge : Peace Treaty of Versailles on 10th January 1920 * O curse and shame on such little men, such tiny Satans standing on their heads, the fat ones doing cartwheels tumbling arse-wards into Hell, let them get their blessings from the hot baths there! (Faust, Part the Second)

On 20th January 1920 the Treaty of Versailles came into effect. A curse is placed upon the treaty-makers and the occupiers, seen as so many vultures and ghouls flying towards Germany in the top sequence of silhouettes. Germany is depicted as a group of figures on the right (and labelled Deutschland) raising their fists in protest at the carpet-bagging that is descending upon them. Goethe’s Faust, the most famous German play ever written, is essentially a story of the epic battle between Good and Evil, and the occupiers are characterised as hell-bound petty demons (for pedants, the text is misquoted; it should read stürzen instead of a repetition of schlagen).

Red writing along inner upper scalloped edge :

Generals (?) + James 1 verse 16 (see bible reference) Letter of James 3 verse 14 Letter of Jude verse 11 ++ Peace Treaty 10 Jan 1920 + The evil conscience of France + Hebrews chapter 3 verse 18 (Woe! Woe! You are being lied to!)

James 1 : 16 “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”

James 3 : 14 “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.”

Jude 11         “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit,

                     and perished in the rebellion of Korah.”

Hebrews 3 : 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?”

The initial word is fragmented and could equally be Generale or (less likely, in terms of sense) Zentrale. It may refer to the German generals of the lost war or the Allied generals of the lost peace. However, the exhortation to read the bible verses quoted gives a clear message of angry lament. The occupiers are propagandists, murderers such as Cain, corrupters of God’s people such as Balaam and rebels against God’s will such as Korah (Cain of course was the first murderer – and first liar – in the Bible, whereas Balaam was a sorcerer, false-prophet, donkey-abuser and all-round bad guy of the Book of Numbers, and Korah was one of the triumvirate which attempted to usurp Moses in the Book of Exodus). Once again the promise of exclusion from Heaven is levelled at the enemy.

Red writing along inner lower scalloped edge :

Donkey cramp your muscles! German war reparations / Koch’s Eagle Sewing Machine Works Ltd. The Cradle of Bielefeld’s Sewing Machine Industry / The Wishing Table : The Cudgel in the Sack ++

Three features from a fable of the Brothers Grimm are referenced and indeed depicted here. The Donkey that Shat Gold Ducats is being used by the occupiers (a Tommy in the undress cap of the British Army on the left, a Poilu in the kepi of a French officer receiving the donkey’s rear-end blessing on a plate) to extract reparations. The Wishing Table that magically set itself is being enjoyed by a French officer in a kepi and the characteristic Napoleon III pointed beard. The Cudgel in the Sack is released by the formula “Cudgel out of the sack!” and is being used to beat a German worker and his wife, above which group are the words Besetzung des Rheins Occupation of the Rhine). Just in case of difficulty in understanding, the donkey is labelled “Germany” and the table is labelled “France”.

Words on left in miniature, four using the initial letters of the word MARK

Frankreichs Mächte Arbeiten mit Roher Kraft (“France’s powers work with brute force”)

Words on right in miniature, using the initial letters of the word MARK

Mancher Andern Recht Kann (= Recht Kann Mancher Ändern) (Laws can be changed when many work together”)

Because the word Mark begins upside down on this side of the topsy-turvy note (only the central Stadtsparkasse Bielefeld allows orientation as to which way is up), the order of the words needs to readjusted to get sense, and the A of MARK has to reinterpreted as an Ä for a grammatical reading.

Kochs Adler

This refers to the Eagle (Adler) model of sewing machine made by the Bielefeld firm Koch & Co. (now Dürkopp Adler), which really took off (pardon the pun) in 1920 to the extent that the company renamed itself in the same year Kochs Adler Nähmaschinenwerke AG (Koch’s Eagle Sewing machine Works Ltd.). An appropriate advertisement for a note made of material. Two guardian angels watch and rock the cradle upon which the sewing machine lies, just above the words “The Cradle of Bielefeld’s Sewing Machine Industry”. Beneath the cradle is a chamber pot.


I managed to collect 6 different coloured borders of the yellow 1000m material piece.