Reichsmark

  (Redirected from Reichmark)

The Reichsmark (German: [ˈʁaɪ̯çsˌmaɐ̯k] (About this soundlisten); sign: ℛℳ or RM) was the currency of Germany from 1924 until 20 June 1948 in West Germany, where it was replaced with the Deutsche Mark, and until 23 June 1948 in East Germany, where it was replaced by the East German mark. The Reichsmark was subdivided into 100 Reichspfennigs (rpf[1] or ℛ₰). The Mark is an ancient Germanic weight measure, traditionally a half pound, later used for several coins; whereas Reich (realm in English), comes from the official name for the German state from 1871 to 1945, Deutsches Reich.

Reichsmark
2ReichsMark.JPG Reichsmark2.jpg
2 ℛℳ—coin with Paul von Hindenburg5 ℛℳ—banknote with a German youth
Denominations
Subunit
1100Reichspfennig
PluralReichsmark
ReichspfennigReichspfennig
SymbolRM (before numerals), ℛℳ (after numerals)
Banknotes5 ℛℳ, 10 ℛℳ, 20 ℛℳ, 50 ℛℳ, 100 ℛℳ, 1,000 ℛℳ
Coins1 ℛ₰, 2 ℛ₰, 5 ℛ₰, 10 ℛ₰, 50 ℛ₰, 1 ℛℳ, 2 ℛℳ, 5 ℛℳ
Demographics
Date of introduction1924
ReplacedGerman Rentenmark
Date of withdrawal
  • June 20, 1948 (West Germany)
  • July 28, 1948 (East Germany)
Replaced by
User(s)
Issuance
Central bankReichsbank
Valuation
Pegged byBelgian franc, Bohemian and Moravian koruna, Bulgarian lev, Danish krone, French franc, Italian lira, Luxembourg franc, Dutch gulden, Norwegian krone, Polish złoty, Serbian dinar, Slovak koruna, Ukrainian karbovanets in World War II as similar rates
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

HistoryEdit

The Reichsmark was introduced in 1924 as a permanent replacement for the Papiermark. This was necessary due to the 1920s German inflation which had reached its peak in 1923. The exchange rate between the old Papiermark and the Reichsmark was 1 ℛℳ = 1012 (one trillion in American English and French, one billion in German and other European languages and British English of the time; see long and short scale). To stabilize the economy and to smooth the transition, the Papiermark was not directly replaced by the Reichsmark, but by the Rentenmark, an interim currency backed by the Deutsche Rentenbank, owning industrial and agricultural real estate assets. The Reichsmark was put on the gold standard at the rate previously used by the Goldmark, with the U.S. dollar worth 4.20 ℛℳ.

Dummy company currency expansionEdit

A number of companies were created with inadequate capital for their operations and authorized to issue bonds exchangeable at a 1:1 rate for Reichsmarks and sold at a discount. The Reichsbank rediscounted the bills of these companies, creating a monetary expansion without formally renouncing the link to gold.[citation needed]

ÖffaEdit

Deutsche Gesellschaft für öffentliche Arbeiten AG (English: German Society for Public Works plc), founded 1 August 1930, ended up issuing 1.26 billion Reichsmarks of Öffa bills to finance public construction.

MEFOEdit

MEFO was a dummy company that was formed with relatively small amounts of capital that was used to finance German rearmament off the books. It issued bills without backing by its own resources but which were guaranteed redeemable at 1:1 for Reichsmarks for five years by the government. The MEFO bills amounts were considered a state secret and were an important element in the impression that Hitlerian economics was a success. This company essentially created a large amount of Reichsmarks off the books, inflating the currency in secret. Payment was about to come due, giving Hitler the option of shifting the German economy to export goods to pay the bills or going to war and paying the debts off by looting profits extracted from conquered states.[citation needed]

World War IIEdit

With the unification of Germany and Austria in 1938, the Reichsmark replaced the Schilling in Austria. During the Second World War, Germany established fixed exchange rates between the Reichsmark and the currencies of the occupied and allied countries, often set so as to give German soldiers and civilian contractors economic benefits. The rates were as follows:

Currency Date set Value per 10 ℛℳ
Belgian franc May 1940 100 fr.
July 1940 125 fr.
Bohemian and Moravian koruna April 1939 100 K.
Bulgarian lev 1940 333.33 лв.
Danish krone 1940 10 kr.
French franc May 1940 200 Fr.
Italian lira 1943 L.100
Luxembourg franc May 1940 40 fr.
July 1940 100 fr.
Dutch guilder 10 May 1940 ƒ6.66
17 July 1940 ƒ7.57
Norwegian krone 1940 13.33 kr.
? 17.50 kr.
Polish złoty 1939 20 zł.
Pound sterling (Channel Islands) 1940 17s. 4½d.
Independent State of Croatia kuna April 1941 200 kn.
Slovak koruna 1939 100 Sk.
1 October 1940 116.20 Sk.
Ukrainian karbovanets 1942 100 крб.

Post-warEdit

After the Second World War, the Reichsmark continued to circulate in Germany, but with new banknotes (Allied Occupation Marks) printed in the US and in the Soviet Zone, as well as with coins (without swastikas). Inflation in the final months of the war had reduced the value of the Reichsmark from 2.50 ℛℳ = $1US to 10 ℛℳ = $1US and a barter economy had emerged due to the rapid depreciation. The Reichsmark was replaced by the Deutsche Mark at a rate of 10:1 (1:1 for cash and current accounts) in June 1948 in the Trizone and later in the same year by the East German Mark in the Soviet Occupation Zone (colloquially also "Ostmark", since 1968 officially "Mark der DDR"). The 1948 currency reform under the direction of Ludwig Erhard is considered the beginning of the West German economic recovery; however, the secret plan to introduce the Deutsche Mark in the Trizone was formulated by economist Edward A. Tenenbaum of the US military government, and was executed abruptly on 21 June 1948. Three days later, the new currency also replaced the Reichsmark in the three Western sectors of Berlin. In November 1945, the Reichsmark was superseded by the Allied Military Schilling in Austria. In 1947 a local currency (the Saar Mark, later replaced with the Saar Franc) was introduced in the Saar.

CoinsEdit

 
5 Reichsmark coins without (1936) and with (1938) the Nazi swastika
 
Prewar bronze Reichspfennig (obverse)
 
Wartime zinc Reichspfennig (obverse)
 
Aluminium 50 ℛ₰ coin (obverse)

In 1924, coins were introduced in denominations of 1 ℛ₰, 2 ℛ₰, 5 ℛ₰, 10 ℛ₰, and 50 ℛ₰, and 1 ℳ and 3 ℳ. The 1 ℛ₰ and 2 ℛ₰ were struck in bronze, and depicted a wheat sheaf. The 5 ℛ₰, 10 ℛ₰, and 50 ℛ₰ were struck in aluminium-bronze and depicted wheat stocks crossed into a stylized pattern. The two highest denominations were struck in .500 fine silver and depicted the German eagle standard. In 1925, .500 fine silver 1 ℛℳ and 2 ℛℳ coins were introduced for circulation, along with the first of many commemorative 3 ℛℳ and 5 ℛℳ coins. In 1927, nickel 50 ℛ₰ coins were introduced along with regular-type 5 ℛℳ coins, followed by the 3 ℛℳ coin in 1931.

Nazi Germany had a number of mints. Each mint location had its own identifiable letter. It is therefore possible to identify exactly which mint produced what coin by noting the mint mark on the coin. Not all mints were authorized to produce coins every year. The mints were also only authorized to produce a set number of coins with some mints allocated a greater production than others. Some of the coins with particular mint marks are therefore scarcer than others. With the silver 2 ℛℳ and 5 ℛℳ coins, the mint mark is found under the date on the left side of the coin. On the smaller denomination Reichspfennig coins, the mint mark is found on the bottom center of the coin.

  • A = Berlin
  • B = Vienna
  • D = Munich
  • E = Muldenhütten
  • F = Stuttgart
  • G = Karlsruhe
  • J = Hamburg

4 ℛ₰ coins were issued in 1932 as part of a failed attempt by the Reichskanzler Heinrich Brüning to reduce prices through use of 4 ℛ₰ pieces instead of 5 ℛ₰ coins. Known as the Brüningtaler or Armer Heinrich ("poor Heinrich"), they were demonetized the following year. See Brüningtaler (in German). The quality of the Reichsmark coins decreased more and more towards the end of World War II and misprints happened more frequently. This led to an increase in counterfeiting of money.

Production of silver 1 ℛℳ coins ended in 1927. In 1933, nickel 1 ℛℳ coins were introduced, and new silver 2 ℛℳ and 5 ℛℳ coins were introduced which were smaller but struck in .625 and .900 fineness so as to maintain the amount of silver. Between 1933 and 1939, a number of commemorative 5 ℛℳ pieces were issued. Production of the 3 Reichsmark coin ceased altogether. In 1935, aluminium 50 ℛ₰ coins were introduced, initially for just the one year. In 1937, nickel 50 ℛ₰ coins were issued and continued to be produced up to 1939, before reverting to aluminum. From 1936 on, all coins except the 1 ℛℳ and the first version (1935–36) of the 5 ℛℳ coin (bearing the image of the late president Paul von Hindenburg) bore the Nazi state insignia. The eagle had two standard designs on most coin denominations, a soaring eagle and large swastika depicted on most earlier issues, and a more 'aggressive' eagle with less prominent swastika which became predominant in the 1940s.

During World War II, bronze and aluminium-bronze coins were replaced by zinc and aluminium, with the 2 ℛ₰ discontinued for potential of being too easily mistaken for the 5 ℛ₰ when struck in the same metal. The 1 ℛℳ, 2 ℛℳ, and 5 ℛℳ coins were no longer issued, replaced instead by banknotes. Aluminium 50 ℛ₰ coins were reintroduced to replace the nickel versions. This time around they had a longer run, being produced from 1939 to 1944. Lower denominations were produced in zinc from 1940 onwards. Due to their composition, these coins had poor durability and are hard to find in very good condition. The last production of coins bearing the swastika was in 1944 (1 ℛ₰, 5 ℛ₰, 10 ℛ₰, and 50 ℛ₰) and 1945 (1 ℛ₰ and 10 ℛ₰ only).

After the war, the Allies issued coins in relatively small numbers between 1945 and 1948:

  • 1945–46: 1 ℛ₰ and 10 ℛ₰
  • 1947–48: 5 ℛ₰ and 10 ℛ₰

These coins were issued with designs very similar to those minted in 1944–45, with the eagle changed to the pre-1935 die.

10 ReichspfennigEdit

10 Reichspfennig
Value10 Reichspfennig
Mass3.52 g
Diameter21 mm
Thickness1.5 mm
EdgePlain
Composition100% Zn
Years of minting1940-1945
Obverse
 
DesignReichsadler with swastika.
Lettering:
Deutsches Reich 1940
Reverse
 
DesignDenomination and two oak leaves. Mintmark below the denomination and between leaves.
Lettering:
10 Reichspfennig J

The zinc 10 Reichspfennig coin was minted by Nazi Germany between 1940 and 1945 during World War II, replacing the aluminium-bronze version, which had a distinct golden colour. It is worth 1/10 or .10 of a Reichsmark. Made entirely of zinc, the 10 ℛ₰ is an emergency issue type, similar to the zinc 1 ℛ₰ and 5 ℛ₰, and the aluminium 50 ℛ₰ coins from the same period.

Mint marksEdit

Mint mark Mint location Notes
A[2] State Mint Berlin, Germany Capital of Germany
B Austrian Mint Vienna, Austria Capital of Austria
D Bavarian Central Mint Munich, Germany Capital of Bavaria
E Muldenhütten Mint [de] near Dresden, Germany Capital of Saxony
F State Mint [de] Stuttgart, Germany Capital of Württemberg
G State Mint [de] Karlsruhe, Germany Capital of Baden
J Mint of Hamburg, Germany

MintageEdit

 
Prewar 10 Reichspfennig (1938A, obverse)
 
Prewar 10 Reichspfennig (1938A, reverse)
1940
Year Mintage Notes
1940 A 212,948,000
1940 B 76,274,000
1940 D 45,434,000
1940 E 34,350,000
1940 F 27,603,000
1940 G 27,308,000
1940 J 41,678,000
1941
Year Mintage Notes
1941 A 240,284,000
1941 B 70,747,000
1941 D 77,560,000
1941 E 36,548,000
1941 F 42,834,000
1941 G 28,765,000
1941 J 30,525,000
1942
Year Mintage Notes
1942 A 184,545,000
1942 B 16,329,000
1942 D 40,852,000
1942 E 18,334,000
1942 F 32,690,000
1942 G 20,295,000
1942 J 29,957,000
1943
Year Mintage Notes
1943 A 157,357,000
1943 B 11,940,000
1943 D 17,304,000
1943 E 10,445,000
1943 F 24,804,000
1943 G 3,618,000 Rare
1943 J 1,821,000 Rare
1944
Year Mintage Notes
1944 A 84,164,000
1944 B 40,781,000
1944 D 30,369,000
1944 E 29,963,000
1944 F 19,639,000
1944 G 13,023,000
1945[3]
Year Mintage Notes
1945 A 7,112,000 Rare
1945 E 4,897,000 Rare

BanknotesEdit

The first Reichsmark banknotes were introduced by the Reichsbank and state banks such as those of Bavaria, Saxony and Baden. The first Reichsbank issue of 1924 came in denominations of 10 ℛℳ, 20 ℛℳ, 50 ℛℳ, 100 ℛℳ, and 1,000 ℛℳ. This was followed by a second issue in the same denominations, dated between 1929 and 1936. The second issue commemorated persons who made contributions to German agriculture, industry, economy, science, and architecture: 10 ℛℳ issued in 1929 commemorated agronomist Albrecht Thaer; 20 ℛℳ issued in 1929 commemorated engineer, inventor, and industrialist Werner von Siemens; 50 ℛℳ issued in 1933 commemorated Prussian politician and banker David Hansemann; 100 ℛℳ issued in 1935 commemorated chemist and "father of fertilizer industry" Justus von Liebig; 1,000 ℛℳ issued in 1936 commemorated Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel.

A newer version of 20 ℛℳ note was introduced in 1939, using a design taken from an unissued Austrian S100 banknote type. 5 ℛℳ notes were issued in 1942. Throughout this period, the Rentenbank also issued banknotes denominated in Rentenmark, mostly in RM 1 and RM 2 denominations.

In preparation for the occupation of Germany, the United States issued occupation banknotes dated 1944, printed by the Forbes Lithograph Printing Company of Boston. These were printed in similar colours with different sizes for groups of denominations. Notes were issued for 12 ℳ, 1 ℳ, 5 ℳ, 10 ℳ, 20 ℳ, 50 ℳ, 100 ℳ, and 1,000 ℳ. The issuer was the Alliierte Militärbehörde ("Allied military authorities") with In Umlauf gesetzt in Deutschland ("in legal circulation in Germany") printed on the obverse.

These notes were convertible to US dollars at a rate of 10:1. Seeing an opportunity to procure foreign hard currency, the Soviet Union demanded copies of the engraving plates, ink, and associated equipment in early 1944, and on 14 April 1944 Henry Morgenthau and Harry Dexter White of the U.S. Treasury Department authorized the air transfer of these to the USSR. Using a printing plant in occupied Leipzig, the Soviet authorities printed large runs of occupation marks to fill Soviet coffers with dollars causing inflation and financial instability. An investigation by the United States Congress (Occupation Currency Transactions Hearings before the Committee on Appropriations, Armed Services and Banking and Currency, U.S. Senate, 1947) found that about $380,000,000 "more currency than there were appropriations for" had been circulated.

In 1947 Rhineland-Palatinate issued 5₰ and 10₰ notes with Geldschein on them.

Occupation ReichsmarkEdit

 
2 Reichsmark of the occupied territories

Coins and banknotes for circulation in the occupied territories during the war were issued by the Reichskreditkassen. Holed, zinc coins in 5 ℛ₰ and 10 ℛ₰ denominations were struck in 1940 and 1941. Banknotes were issued between 1939 and 1945 in denominations of 50 ℛ₰, 1 ℛℳ, 2 ℛℳ, 5 ℛℳ, 20 ℛℳ, and 50 ℛℳ. These served as legal tender alongside the currency of the occupied countries.

The coins were originally planned in great numbers of 100 million and 250 million each of the 5 ℛ₰ and 10 ℛ₰ coins respectively. The first embossing order, which was issued in April 1940, was about 40 million × 5 ℛ₰ and 100 million × 10 ℛ₰. The total amount was divided between each of the seven German mints after the embossing key of 1939. The contract was stopped in August 1940 as the Wehrmacht, which had requested the coins for Belgium and France, had no more need of it. When the embossing stopped, only Berlin ("A") and Munich ("D") produced significant quantities, but they still came to only a small extent of original production plans. The majority were melted down due to the limited supply of metal and thus, most mint marks are now quite rare (except for 1940 5 A and D, and 1940 10 A).

Military Reichsmark currencyEdit

 
Both sides of a "5 Mark" banknote, issued as "Allied Military Currency" for use within the Allied forces in Germany

Special issues of Reichsmark currency were issued for use by the German Armed Forces from 1942 to 1944. The first issue was denominated in 1 ℛ₰, 5 ℛ₰, 10 ℛ₰, and 50 ℛ₰ and 1 Reichsmark, but was valued at 1 military Reichspfennig = 10 civilian Reichspfennig. This series was printed on only one side. The second issue notes of 1, 5, 10, and 50 Reichsmark were equal in value to the ordinary German Reichsmark and were printed on both sides.

The 5 Mark note pictured, front and back, is Allied military currency ("AMC") printed at Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing Company in Boston for occupied Germany. There were different AMCs for each liberated area of Europe.[4]

Concentration camp and POW Reichsmark currencyEdit

 
Prisoner of war camp issue of Lagergeld [de]

Various special issues of Reichsmark currency were issued for use in concentration and prisoner of war (POW) camps. None were legal tender in Germany itself. From 1942 to 1943 tokens were struck for use within the Łódź Ghetto.[5]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Reichspfennig, der" [Digital German Dictionary]. DWDS – Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache (Digital German Dictionary) (in German). Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Nazi Germany Coin Mint Marks". Retrieved 2013-01-16.
  3. ^ "10 Reichspfennig - Germany - 1871-1948 - Numista". Numista. Retrieved 2013-01-16.
  4. ^ "Allied Military Currency". Strictly G.I. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Lodz Ghetto Token Coinage". www.pcgs.com. Archived from the original on 2018-03-01. Retrieved 2018-03-01.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Rentenmark
Reason: hyperinflation
Ratio: 1 Rentenmark = 1,000,000,000,000 Papiermark, and 4.2 Rentenmark = US$1
Currency of Germany
(Weimar Republic borders)

1924 – 1948
Note: In parallel with Rentenmark
Succeeded by:
East German Mark
Reason: reaction to the changeover in Trizone (later West Germany and West Berlin)
Ratio: 1 Mark = 7 Rentenmark on the first 70 Rentenmark for private individuals, otherwise 1 Kuponmark = 10 Rentenmark
Succeeded by:
Deutsche Mark
Reason: intended to protect West Germany from the second wave of hyperinflation and stop the rampant barter and black market trade
Ratio: 1 Deutsche Mark = 1 Rentenmark for first 600 ℛℳ, 1 Deutsche Mark = 10 Rentenmark thereafter, plus each person received 40 Deutsche Mark
Succeeded by:
Polish złoty
Reason: Transfer of the "Recovered Territories" to Poland
Ratio: None
Succeeded by:
Soviet ruble
Reason: Transfer of modern Kaliningrad Oblast to Soviet Union
Ratio: None
Preceded by:
French franc
Reason: annexation to Germany
Ratio: ?
Currency of Saarland
1935 – 1947
Note: In parallel with Rentenmark
Succeeded by:
Saar mark
Reason: creation of the protectorate
Ratio: ?
Preceded by:
Austrian schilling
Reason: annexation to Germany
Ratio: 1 Mark = 1.5 Schilling
Currency of Austria
1938 – 1945
Note: In parallel with Rentenmark
Succeeded by:
Austrian schilling
Reason: restoration of independence
Ratio: 1:1 for first 150 Schilling
Preceded by:
Czechoslovak koruna
Reason: annexation to Germany
Ratio: ?
Currency of Sudetenland
1938 – 1945
Note: In parallel with Rentenmark
Succeeded by:
Czechoslovak koruna
Reason: re-integration to Czechoslovakia
Ratio: ?
Preceded by:
Lithuanian litas
Reason: annexation to Germany
Ratio: 1 Mark = 2.5 litas
Currency of Klaipėda (Memel)
1939 – 1945
Note: In parallel with Rentenmark
Succeeded by:
Soviet ruble
Reason: re-integration to Soviet Union
Ratio: ?
Preceded by:
Danzig gulden
Reason: annexation to Germany
Ratio: 1 Mark = 1.43 Gulden
Currency of the Free City of Danzig
1939 – 1945
Note: In parallel with Rentenmark
Succeeded by:
Polish złoty
Reason: annexation to Poland
Ratio: ?
Preceded by:
Polish złoty
Reason: annexation to Germany
Ratio: 1 Mark = 2 złote
Currency of Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany
1939 – 1945
Succeeded by:
Polish złoty
Reason: re-integration to Poland
Ratio: ?
Preceded by:
Belgian franc
Reason: annexation to Germany
Ratio: 1 Mark = 12.5 franc
Currency of Eupen-Malmedy
1940 – 1945
Note: In parallel with Rentenmark
Succeeded by:
Belgian franc
Reason: re-integration to Belgium
Ratio: 1 Mark = 12.5 franc
Preceded by:
Luxembourgish franc
Reason: annexation to Germany
Ratio: 1 Mark = 10 Franc
Currency of Luxembourg
1940 – 1945
Note: In parallel with Rentenmark
Succeeded by:
Belgian franc
Luxembourgish franc

Reason: restoration of independence
Ratio: ?
Preceded by:
French franc
Reason: annexation to Germany
Ratio: ?
Currency of Alsace-Lorraine
1940 – 1945
Note: In parallel with Rentenmark
Succeeded by:
French franc
Reason: re-integration to France
Ratio: ?
Preceded by:
Yugoslav dinar
Reason: annexation to Germany
Ratio: 1 Mark = 20 dinars
Currency of North Slovenia
1941 – 1945
Note: In parallel with Rentenmark
Succeeded by:
Yugoslav dinar
Reason: re-integration to Yugoslavia
Ratio: ?
Preceded by:
Italian lira
Reason: annexation to Germany
Ratio: ?
Currency of South Slovenia
1943 – 1945
Note: In parallel with Rentenmark
Succeeded by:
Yugoslav dinar
Reason: re-integration to Yugoslavia
Ratio: ?
Preceded by:
Soviet ruble
Reason: annexation to Romania
Ratio: ?
Currency of Transnistria
1941 – 1945
Succeeded by:
Soviet ruble
Reason: re-integration to Soviet Union
Ratio: ?