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German Reichsbank, 5 Reichsmark note

Object | Accession Number: 2003.413.93

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    German Reichsbank, 5 Reichsmark note


    Brief Narrative
    Reichsbank note, valued at 5 Reichsmark, distributed in Germany from August 1942 to 1948. The Reichsmark became the national currency of Germany in 1924, replacing the Rentenmark, which had been issued as temporary currency in 1923. The Rentenmark was created to address the economic hyperinflation that had been brought on by Germany’s actions following World War I, and smooth the transition from the worthless Papiermark to the Reichsmark. Originally, the Reichsmark was backed by the gold standard, but was taken off that and stood alone following the 1929 market crash. It was initially issued in values of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 1000, but in 1942, the 5 Reichsmark note was introduced. It was designed to replace the silver, 5 Reichsmark coins that people were hoarding for the perceived value of the silver. The note includes multiple examples of imagery and symbolism valued by the Nazi party. The front features a young, German man with the idealized Aryan features, and the Reichsbank seal with the Reichsadler gripping a swastika in the center. The back includes an image of the Brunswick Cathedral (Dom St. Blasii) and Brunswick Lion statue, symbols of Germany’s long history. The image is flanked by depictions of an agrarian woman representing farming and a male laborer representing industry, two aspects of society that the Nazi party viewed as the basis for economic prosperity. The Reichsmark was officially replaced by the Deutsche Mark in 1945, when Germany was placed under allied occupation, but it remained legal tender until 1948.
    issue:  1942 August 01
    publication/distribution:  1942 August 01-1945
    issue: Germany.;
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Forman
    face, top left & bottom right corners, printed, red ink : C·17887790
    face, center, printed, brown ink : Reichsbanknote / Fünf / Reichsmark / Ausgegeben auf Grund Des Gesetzes über / die Deutsche Reichsbank vom 15, Juni 1939 / Berlin, den 1. August 1942 / Der Präsident / der Deutschen Reichsbank / (illegible signature) [Reichsbanknote five Reichsmark Issued on the basis of the remarks on the German Reichsbank of 15 June 1939 Berlin, 1st Aug 1942 the President of the German Reichsbank]
    face, lower left, printed, brown ink : 5
    face, lower left, inside seal, printed, brown ink : DER PRÄSIDENT DER DEUTSCHEN REICHSBANK [The President of the German Reichsbank]
    back, top rectangular medallion, printed, brown ink : 5 Reichsmark 5
    back, bottom rectangular medallion, printed, brown ink : 5 Reichsbanknote 5
    back, bottom, printed, burnt orange & blue-green ink : WER BANKNOTEN NACHMACT ODER VERFÄLSCHT ODER NACHGEMACHTE ODER VERFÄLSCHTE SICH / VERSCHAFFT UND IN VERKEHR BRINGT, WIRD MIT ZUCHTHAUS NICHT UNTER ZWEI JAHREN BESTRAFT [Anyone who imitates or falsifies banknotes or counterfeits or falsifies procures and places them on the market is punished with a term of imprisonment of not less than two years]
    Issuer: Deutsche Reichsbank

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Physical Description
    Reichsmark bank note printed in brown ink on lightweight, rectangular, cream-colored paper. On the face, is a rectangle with a brown, geometric backprint of overlapping ovals and swirls, with a blue streak over the center and a wide margin to the left. The rectangle has an ornate border, and a framed portrait of a young man on the right. German text is printed over an elaborate, oval medallion and several smaller circles on the left. The serial number is printed in red ink underneath the portrait and on the upper left margin. The denomination and the Deutsche Reichsbank seal bearing a Reichsadler and swastika are printed on the lower left margin. Overall, the margin is colored a light brown shade with flecks of blue and red-brown throughout. The color bleeds through lightly on the back. On the back is a rectangle with a burnt orange and blue, overlapping geometric backprint that fades into a blue-green streak in the center and a wide margin to the right. Depicted within the rectangle is a central, rectangular border framing a lion statue on a tall pedestal and a cathedral in the background. The frame is flanked by images of a woman on the left holding a sickle and a man on the right holding a wood plane printed over patterned, burnt orange medallions. Long, rectangular banners with wavy tapered ends are printed above and below the images. German text is printed in brown at the center of each, and the denomination is outlined with brown at the ends. Along the bottom of the rectangle are two lines of German text within a line border.
    overall: Height: 2.750 inches (6.985 cm) | Width: 5.500 inches (13.97 cm)
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The currency was donated to the United Sates Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Joel Forman.
    Record last modified:
    2023-06-30 08:50:21
    This page:

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