Notgeld Categories, Vol. 7: ‘Fixed Value’ Notes / Wertbeständige, 1923 - 1924

This is the seventh in a series of seven posts where we will describe each primary category of notgeld, provide some historical context, share some examples, and provide some tips on how to identify and differentiate one category from another.

‘Fixed Value’ Notes / Wertbeständige, 1923 - 1924

The notgeld in this category began to be issued in the latter half of 1923. Their most distinctive characteristic is the unique denominations they were issued in: Goldpfennings, Goldmarks, and Dollars.

In addition, there are a subset of these ‘fixed value’ notes that are issued in a number of different commodities such as coal, wood, sugar, honey, margarine, wheat, rye, oats, potatoes, tar, natural gas, cubic meters of water, kilowatt-hours of electricity and even shoes!

Even though these notes were named “Goldpfennig” and “Goldmark”, they were not backed by gold. These names of these denominations were chosen specifically to be misleading. The face values of these notes are based on the ‘4.2 mark to the dollar’ exchange rate from 1914, just before WWI began.

Another interesting subcategory of Wertbeständige are notes that feature denominations that are typically used by other countries like the dollar, cent, franc, and centime.

Similarly to many of the other categories of notgeld, the practice of overprinting new information atop older banknotes was still in use.

Wertbeständige can be a very fun and rewarding category of notgeld to collect. There are enough common notes to get started, and plenty of scarce notes to keep hardcore collectors satisfied. The two main books to check our are Das wertbeständige Notgeld der deutschen Inflation 1923/1924 by Manfred Müller, and Das wertbeständige Notgeld von 1923/24 by Kai Lindman.

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