Notgeld & Hyperinflation

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by Ramiles, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    I have one or two (hundred o_O ) Notgeld, of the Serienscheine type

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    ...that my grandfather apparently collected from a lot of various places he passed through during the war.

    There are quite a number of websites devoted to this, and collectors about, but they are not worth much, $0.2-4 but rather pretty to be sure.

    Not sure if anyone on here is a collector too?

    All the best,

    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
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  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    There's a brief(ish) 15min BBC radio doc here on Notgeld: Money in Crisis, Germany: Memories of a Nation - BBC Radio 4

    Money in Crisis
    Germany: Memories of a Nation
    Listen in pop-out player
    Neil MacGregor examines the emergency money - Notgeld - created during World War One and its aftermath. Small denomination coins began to disappear because their metal was worth more than their face value. People hoarded them or melted them down. Paper notes replaced coins, but as cities produced their own money, there was also currency made from porcelain, linen, silk, leather, wood, coal, cotton and playing cards.

    He also focuses on the crisis of hyperinflation in the early 1920s. At its peak, prices doubled every three and a half days, and in 1923 a 500 million mark note might buy a loaf of bread.

    Producer Paul Kobrak.

    For me it's quite interesting that they seem perhaps to have remained popular presumably for "tourists" in shops??? in a bombed out Germany during the latter stages of WW2.... hum...

  3. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    I have a few pieces of notgeld and more than a few hyperinflationary bank notes including a 1 billion mark (basically a 1,000 mark note with "1 Billion" stamped on it). I used to use them to teach my History class about Hyperinflation and how it helped get the Nazis into power.
  4. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    I'd imagined that this was how the German's buying them as souvenirs might have seen them (the Hyper-inflationary ones) and there are types the Nazi's made that might have lent to this.

    Though they might also have attracted those types of people that went after stamps and trade cards such as those then found in packs of cigarettes. Gd. also collected lots of silk ones of these.

    One site I found about them was called

    ...conveniently, leading me to the serienscheine type (which are the ones my gd. was after during WW2)

    serienscheine intro. | site not really meant to be used as currency as such. Hyperinflation would have made this pointless anyhow, as the series each tend to be (sometimes) 10pf, (mostly) 25pf,50pf,75pf,1M, 2M, (up to at most 3M occasionally).

    They are incredibly detailed, simple scans often don't quite do full justice to this, location related and each tells a part of a folk tale or small bit of history - so just looking at one it takes ages to take in everything and then even more time to work out the typeset and figure out to what it relates.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2022
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  5. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    It was one of my lecturers at teaching college that put the idea in my head. He used a pre WW1 note first and asked us to describe what we could learn about the country from it by looking at the design, symbols, quality of paper and so on. He then gave us notes from various stages of the hyperinflation crisis and asked if we could figure out what had happened. We did a similar exercise with old Soviet currency.
  6. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    This is an interesting addendum to the German currency crisis: BBC Radio 4 - Germany: Memories of a Nation, Out of the Rubble

    It's a BBC radio doc - 15ish mins long... in the same series as the Notgeld one linked to above.
    Out of the Rubble
    Germany: Memories of a Nation
    Listen in pop-out player
    Neil MacGregor talks to a Trümmerfrau, a woman who cleared rubble from the streets of Berlin in 1945, and focuses on a sculpture by Max Lachnit, a portrait of a Trümmerfrau made from hundreds of pieces of rubble.

    Neil also examines the role the launch of the Deutsch Mark played in the re-building of Germany.

    Producer Paul Kobrak.

    Talking from about 7mins in about the German barter economy after the war, often predominantly using cigs etc., the abolition of the Nazi reichsmark currency and its replacement with the DM of the Western allied countries vs. the Ostmark of the Russians, being the spark for the Berlin blockade.

  7. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    From the METRO (London free newspaper): Metro (British newspaper) - Wikipedia

    Saw this too, just on the recent news relating to WW2:
    Re. a rare glass (US) penny made during World War II sells for £57,300:
    Rare glass penny made during World War II sells for £57,300

    So another "odd" bit of inflation there ;)

    Had I bought it, I think I would always be wondering if "next week" another 100,000 or so might just turn up.... seemed rather expensive to me anyway :D

    WW2 related news: World War 2 - Google Search
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  8. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

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  9. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    The 50 RM notes are interesting as they were both issued a few days after WW1 broke out. However not being an expert it could mean that was just the issue date for the whole series and not that those particular notes were printed on that date (which would make more sense the more I think about it!)

    The 50 million note is only printed on one side as are some of the others.

    The last picture is of a Rentenmark which was the new currency issued after the Reichsmark had tanked in an effort to stabilise the currency - in effect they pressed the reset button.

    Pupils still have a hard time accepting that money is only paper an essentially worthless but they mostly get the idea that you needed larger amounts as prices increased at the same time as the value of the bits of paper decreased.
  10. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    BBC Radio 4 - The Great Inflation

    A hundred years ago, Germany was in the grip of the worst hyperinflation the world has ever seen. Nothing before or since has matched the speed and precipitous fall of the Reichsmark.
    It lost 99.9% of its post-war value in 1923, and this unimaginable loss of confidence in the currency left the German government and population reeling.
    We’re all familiar with the famous photographs of wheelbarrows full of cash to pay for one bus ticket, children playing with wads of notes as building blocks, families pasting trillion-mark banknotes onto their walls, more useful now as wallpaper than money. But what was it really like to live through that year of horror? Lenin reputedly said that ‘if you want to corrupt a country you must start by corrupting its currency’.
    The consequences of 1923 were not just misery, suffering and starvation but also a moral degeneration - the excesses of the tail-end of the Weimer Republic and the political catastrophe which followed.
    Allan Little goes to Germany to investigate the causes and consequences of hyperinflation. Who were the losers? Who were the winners – making fortunes out of the total collapse of the country? Allan examines how the collective memory of this traumatic experience in 1923 has shaped German fiscal, economic and social policy ever since.
    The deutschmark became the symbol of stability, pride and confidence for a nation who couldn’t celebrate its war heroes or recent history. How have generations of German policy makers, with their abhorrence of debt and stringent adherence to sound money, influenced European Union fiscal and social policy?
    The lingering effects of that cataclysmic year, a century ago, can still be felt in German society today.
    A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4
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  11. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Such notes still lie in many households today
    As children we found a bag full of such inflation money. I just remember an incredible amount of zeros on the banknotes.
    Of course, we went to the next shop to buy ice cream...
    Well, the owner was very accommodating and gave each of us a 50 Pfennig ice cream - for several billion Reichsmarks each.
    Easy come, easy go

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