What is Notgeld?

Views 16 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful

Notgeld is the German word for "emergency money" and pronounced "NOTE GELT"

To explain in depth about the various types of German Notgeld would require more space than is provided here, but I will try to offer a quick rundown of the different types.

The first Notgeld of the 20th century appeared at the start of the first world war in 1914. Although very simple and plain in design these particular notes command quite a high price on todays market.

The next lot appeared from 1916 until 1922 these notes are called "Verkehrsausgaben" and are more pleasing to the eye with their carefully designed appearance. They were provided by many towns and indeed companies who were given permission to print and issue these notes to make up for the lack of small denomination coins. The coins were taken out of circulation because the metal was needed for the war effort. The idea, although a good one was not very successful for two reasons.

1. The population prefered to feel coins in their pockets.

2. The notes were so nice that people started to collect them.

So zinc and iron "Notmuenzen" (emergency coins) were produced. This seemed to work much better although the notes were still produced.

Next came the "Serienscheine" these were a spin off from the "Verkehrsausgaben" notes. Local authorities had seen how people collected the previously mentioned notes and so produced sets solely for collectors as a way of making some extra revenue. Even though these notes were called "Notgeld" they were never intended and never were legal currency. These notes are of wonderful design and themes and are much sort after by collectors from around the world and can be obtained from just a few euros up to hundreds of euros for the more seldom sets.

After this period came the hardest time in German history "the inflation period" Where the previous notes were all small denomination, these notes during this period started from just a few Mark but eventually ran into Billions of Mark. Again these notes were issued by Counties, Towns and Firms alike. Once again these notes are highly collectable today and much sort after, with prices ranging from just a couple of euros, to hundreds of euros for the rare notes.

After the second world war there was a short period where more Notgeld were produced from 1945 to about 1949. These notes in the main were issued by companies and shops such as bakers and butchers where people could exchange them for goods. These notes are probably the more seldom of all the emergency notes and quite expensive to buy.

I hope this short guide helps you to understand a little better the complexities of German Notgeld. I have tried to keep it as simple as possible and it is in no way a complete and concise account of German Notgeld. If you have any further questions I would be more than happy to help where I can.

Happy collecting.

Shaun Aspinall


Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides