German papiermark
The name Papiermark is applied to the German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 currency from the 4th August 1914 when the link between the Mark
German gold mark
The Goldmark was the currency used in the German Empire from 1873 to 1914.-History:Before unification, the different German states issued a variety of different currencies, though most were linked to the Vereinsthaler, a silver coin containing 16⅔ grams of pure silver...

 and gold was abandoned, due to the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. In particular, the name is used for the banknotes issued during the hyperinflation
In economics, hyperinflation is inflation that is very high or out of control. While the real values of the specific economic items generally stay the same in terms of relatively stable foreign currencies, in hyperinflationary conditions the general price level within a specific economy increases...

 in Germany of 1922 and especially 1923 (see Inflation in the Weimar Republic
Inflation in the Weimar Republic
The hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic was a three year period of hyperinflation in Germany between June 1921 and July 1924.- Analysis :...

), which was a result of the German government's decision to pay its war debt by printing banknotes.


From 1914, the value of the Mark fell. The rate of inflation rose following the end of World War I and reached its highest point in October 1923. The currency was stabilized in November, 1923 after the announcement of the creation of the Rentenmark
German rentenmark
The Rentenmark was a currency issued on 15 November 1923 to stop the hyperinflation of 1922 and 1923 in Germany. It was subdivided into 100 Rentenpfennig.-History:...

, although the Rentenmark did not come into circulation until 1924. When it did, it replaced the Papiermark at the rate of 1 trillion Papiermark = 1 Rentenmark. Later in 1924, the Rentenmark was replaced by the Reichsmark
German reichsmark
The Reichsmark was the currency in Germany from 1924 until June 20, 1948. The Reichsmark was subdivided into 100 Reichspfennig.-History:...


In addition to the issues of the government, emergency issues of both tokens and paper money, known as Kriegsgeld (war money) and Notgeld (emergency money), were produced by local authorities .


During the war, cheaper metals were introduced for coins, including aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

, zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 and iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

, although silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 ½ Mark pieces continued in production until 1919. Aluminium 1 Pfennig were produced until 1918 and the 2 Pfennig till 1916. Whilst iron 5 Pfennig, both iron and zinc 10 Pfennig and aluminium 50 Pfennig coins were issued until 1922. Aluminium 3 Mark were issued in 1922 and 1923, and aluminium 200 and 500 Mark were issued in 1923.

First World War issues

In 1914, the State Loan Office began issuing paper money known as Darlehnskassenscheine (loan fund notes). These circulated alongside the issues of the Reichsbank
The Reichsbank was the central bank of Germany from 1876 until 1945. It was founded on 1 January 1876 . The Reichsbank was a privately owned central bank of Prussia, under close control by the Reich government. Its first president was Hermann von Dechend...

. Most were 1- and 2-Mark notes but there were also 5-, 20-, 50- and 100-Mark notes.

Post War issues

The victor nations in World War I decided to assess Germany for their costs
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 of conducting the war against Germany. With no means of paying in gold or currency backed by reserves, Germany ran the presses, causing the value of the Mark to collapse. Many Germans literally carted wheelbarrows of cash to pay for groceries.

During the hyperinflation, ever higher denominations of banknotes were issued by the Reichsbank
The Reichsbank was the central bank of Germany from 1876 until 1945. It was founded on 1 January 1876 . The Reichsbank was a privately owned central bank of Prussia, under close control by the Reich government. Its first president was Hermann von Dechend...

 and other institutions (notably the Reichsbahn railway company). The Papiermark was produced and circulated in enormously large quantities. Before the war, the highest denomination was 1000-Mark, equivalent to approximately 50 British pounds or 238 US dollars. In early 1922, 10,000-Mark notes were introduced, followed by 100,000- and 1 million-Mark notes in February 1923. July 1923 saw notes up to 50 million-Mark, with 10 milliard (1010)-Mark notes introduced in September. The hyperinflation peaked in October 1923 and banknote denominations rose to 100 billion (1014)-Mark. At the end of the hyperinflation, these notes were worth approximately 5 pounds or 24 dollars.

Note on numeration

In German, Milliarde is 1,000,000,000, or one thousand million, while Billion is 1,000,000,000,000, or one million million. See Long and short scales
Long and short scales
The long and short scales are two of several different large-number naming systems used throughout the world for integer powers of ten. Many countries, including most in continental Europe, use the long scale whereas most English-speaking countries use the short scale...


External links

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