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Guide to the Deutsches Notgeld currency album, 1914-1928 MS 084
This Notgeld (German for “emergency money”) collection is tangible representation of how German and Austro-Hungarian citizens dealt with one of the worst inflationary periods ever experienced in the west, during the period of World War I. It came about because of the punitive damages demanded of governments by the Treaty of Versailles. Citizens who did not convert bank savings to tangible assets lost value almost completely. Bank accounts even as large as 100,000 pre-war Marks were closed because values plunged to what could buy a postage stamp. The middle class was reduced to poverty; pensions became worthless. Thus, to make regional commerce possible, local authorities like city banks and town governments ordered the printing of Notgeld as exemplified in this collection.
This album of emergency paper currency measures 14-5/8”x11-5/8”x1-7/8” album with the printed title “Notgeld 1914-1924.” It contains approximately 640 separate pieces of the paper currency (Notgeld) issued by regional institutions in Germany and Austria-Hungary, primarily around the end of the World War I. Not issued by a central bank, Notgeld was not legal tender but rather an accepted means of payment in a particular locale.
The individual pieces on the 46 pages of the album are in excellent condition. They appear to have been acquired strictly for collecting, rather than having been preserved following circulation. Except for some of the items labeled Reichsgeld, they are printed front and back, and in at least three colors, including red, gold, black, green, blue, and shades of each. The size of a typical individual item is 3-9/16”x2-5/16”. The complexity of design in pieces of this small size reveals a high standard of printing.
Not all of the pieces are dated. Of those that are, the earliest are from 1921. Most are from the early 1920’s. The latest is a Reischesgeld dated 1928.
This material was assembled and arranged by a collector and was later acquired by the Fondren Library, pre-1969. Library records do not indicate the exact custodial history of the material such as the name of the collector or terms of transfer to Fondren.
Conditions Governing Access note
This material is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use note
Permission to publish from this material must be obtained through the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University. email@example.com - 713.348.2586
This material was acquired by Fondren Library pre-1969 and records do not indicate their exact provenance.