Founded in 1852 by Hermann Giesecke and Alphonse Devrient, the firm initially specialized in high-quality printing, notably currency and securities printing. From the 1850s to the 1870s the firm printed some of the important biblical editions of Constantin von Tischendorf. The partnership's reputation for quality work was confirmed at the 1867 international exhibition in Paris.
Giesecke+Devrient supplied currency during the inflation in the Weimar Republic in the 1920s, one of the most prominent cases of hyperinflation. It also printed tickets to the 1936 Olympics in Germany and did business with Spain under Franco. Its role in facilitating the destruction of the economy of Zimbabwe through another printers' breeding of hyperinflation under Mugabe is well-known.
In the modern period, G+D has expanded operations to include banknote processing, smart cards, identification systems, and e-payments. The firm is the world's second largest supplier of banknotes, with annual revenues of $2.45 billion. They have over 11,600 employees, and some 50 subsidiaries and joint ventures around the world. The company operates printing facilities in Germany (Munich and Leipzig), as well as Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. G+D currently supplies euro notes for the German Bundesbank; and the company supplies banknotes for many other nations.
In addition to Germany, Giesecke+Devrient has printed banknotes for other various countries through the years, including Cambodia, Croatia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Jamaica, Lithuania, Peru, Zaire, and Zimbabwe. In Japan, G+D is active in the fields of cards and banknotes.
In October 2002, Giesecke+Devrient, along with the Information Security Group, Royal Holloway, University of London and Vodafone set up the Smart Card Centre, which is part of the ISG at Royal Holloway.
In November 2009 Giesecke+Devrient announced plans to form a new company with SAP AG and Nokia Corp., named Original1, to deliver product authentication and anti-counterfeiting services globally. The headquarters is in Frankfurt, Germany. Original1 offers security solutions for the entire value chain, including user authentication, end-to-end encryption of the information flow and database encryption. Original1 On-Demand is an online product providing a complete solution for brand product protection.
As of August 2012, Original1 is in liquidation. The supervisory board (40% SAP, 40% Nokia, 20% Giesecke+Devrient) dismissed the 3 managing directors with 6 months notice and 6 months severance. The remaining employees were dismissed with 3 months notice and no severance.
Giesecke+Devrient have a history of doing business with Rhodesia and its successor state Zimbabwe going back to 1965, and they have been supplying security paper for banknotes, passports and other instruments to the government of Zimbabwe throughout the hyperinflation in Zimbabwe.
In June 2008 U.S. officials announced they would not take any action against the firm. It was reported that on 1 July 2008 company's Management Board decided to cease delivering banknote paper to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe with immediate effect. The decision was in response to an "official request" from the German government and calls for international sanctions by the European Union and the United Nations. Dr. Karsten Ottenberg, CEO and Chairman of the G+D Management Board, explained:
"Our decision is a reaction to the political tension in Zimbabwe, which is mounting significantly rather than easing as expected, and takes account of the critical evaluation by the international community, German government and general public."
- G&D: "1852: "Officin für Geld- und Werthpapiere." 2009.
- Faulman, Karl. (1882). Illustrirte Geschichte der Buchdruckerkunst, pp. 575-576.
- "Zimbabwe Can't Paper Over Its Million-Percent Inflation Anymore; Under Pressure, German Company Cuts Off Shipments of Blank Bank Notes to Mugabe," Wall Street Journal. July 2, 2008.
- "U.S. won't punish Giesecke+Devrient over Zimbabwe aid," Los Angeles Times. June 19, 2008.
- G&D: "Profile," 2007.
- G+D: Printing
- Bener, Klaus W. The Moneymakers, p. 77.
- G&D: "Japan: A Country Portrait; Reforms bear fruit." 2009.
- Cable, Josh. "SAP, Nokia and Giesecke & Devrient to Establish Brand-Protection Service," 'IndustryWeek (Cleveland, Ohio). November 13, 2009.
- Original1 GmbH "What is Original1 On-Demand?".
- Ohlden, Anna. "Giesecke+Devrient Halts Deliveries to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe," PRNewswire. July 1, 2008.
- Bender, Klaus W. (2006). Moneymakers: the Secret World of Banknote Printing. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag. ISBN 978-3-527-50236-3; OCLC 69326754
- (in German) Faulmann, Karl. (1882). Illustrirte Geschichte der Buchdruckerkunst: mit besonderer Berücksichtigung ihrer technischen Entwicklung bis zur Gegenwart. Vienna: A. Hartleben. OCLC 2847445.