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German Paper Money

The German government does not issue currency anymore, and it hasn't since 2002 when the Euro became the currency for the European Union. However, the German currency dates back to 1754. Since 1754, up until 2002, there have been various changes made to their coins and paper money.

What are some types of German money?

Before the first official German coins, there was the Hamburg mark and the Bremen thaler. However, it is unknown when these were printed. It is uncertain when the first German money was printed but the first official coins were created in 1754. Since then, there have been quite a few types of German coins and banknotes, including:

  • South German Guldens: printed 1754-1873
  • Vereinsthalers - printed 1857-1873
  • German Gold Marks - printed 1873-1914
  • Papiermarks - printed 1914-1923
  • Rentenmarks - printed 1923-1924
  • Reichsmarks - printed 1924-1948
  • Saar Marks - printed in 1947 only
  • Saar Francs - printed in 1947-1959
  • East German Marks - printed in 1948-1990
  • Deutsche Marks - printed in 1948-2002 in West Germany, and 1990-2002 in East Germany
  • Euro - used in Germany but minted outside its borders
Where was each type of German money circulated?

While some of the paper banknotes were circulated throughout the area that is now Germany, this paper money was circulated in a specific region of Germany or areas outside of its modern day borders:

  • South German Guldens: These notes were exclusive to southern Germany.
  • Vereinsthalers: They were only circulated in northern Germany.
  • Saar Marks and Francs: These notes were exclusive to Saarland. This region is located near the border with France.
  • Reichsmarks: They were circulated throughout the country, including regions that were taken over by Nazi forces.
  • East German Marks: These notes were exclusive to communist East Germany.
  • Deutsche Marks: These notes were circulated exclusively in West Germany prior to the fall of the iron curtain.
What is military currency?

Military currency was used by Allied troops who took control of certain regions of Germany during World War II. This currency was created to control the economy of occupied areas of Germany during those turbulent economic times. The United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing would usually issue this form of paper money. However, they were often referred to as marks.

What is notgeld?

Notgeld were banknotes that were issued by organizations other than the central bank during the nation's period of hyperinflation. However, they were frequently referred to as marks. Organizations that were used to issue emergency marks and other forms of currency included town governments. private firms, state-owned firms and town banks. The denominations of these banknotes were large. For instance, there is a 100 million mark banknote that still exists. These emergency banknotes often have scenes printed on them that tell a story.

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