German Banknotes

Here at Littlehampton Museum, we have a number of exciting items which we are uncovering as part of our Documentation Project. We wanted to share with you some of these highlights, in a bite sized way...

This week we are looking at our small collection of Weimar Republic era German Banknotes. There are six of them in the collection and they date from between June 1919 and August 1923.

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What makes these banknotes particularly interesting is that they cover the period of rampant hyperinflation between 1921 and 1923, where the value of the German Reichsmark collapsed compared to the American Dollar.

This can be seen by the massive jump in valve from the printing of the 500,000 Mark note (Funfhunderthausand) in May 1923, to the 2 million Mark note issued in August 1923!

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The 500,000 Mark Note of May 1923

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The 2 million Mark Note issued in August 1923 - can you see how the design has been simplified? (it's also only one sided which is different compared to the other notes.)

By the end of 1923, the German economy stabilised with the introduction of the Rentenmark, which removed twelve zeroes from the price of goods. The old Marks became collectors items across the world as a reminder of this tragic historic episode.