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Weimar Germany Reichsbanknote, 10000 mark

Object | Accession Number: 2003.413.108

Reichsbank note, valued at 10,000 marks, distributed in Germany from January 1922 to November 1923. The front medallion depicts German artwork, Portrait of a Young Man, created by Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer. German efforts to finance World War I sent the nation into debt. Following their defeat, the Treaty of Versailles obligated Germany to pay reparations, which increased the nation’s financial struggles. The German government attempted to solve this problem by printing more money, which led to severe inflation. When issued this note bore the highest denomination the state had ever printed. It is often called the Vampire note because the unknown engraver altered Dürer’s original portrait slightly so that when turned sideways, the face of a vampire is visible in the shadows on the man’s neck. The vampire represented France sucking the blood out of Germany because of the heavy reparations they were forced to pay. The inflation grew to critical levels between 1922 and 1923 when the exchange rate of the mark to the United States dollar went from 2,000 marks per dollar to well over a million in a matter of months. The government printed higher and higher denominations, but was unable to keep up with the plunging rates. In order to stabilize the economy, the German government established the Rentenbank. The new Minister of Finance, Hans Luther, created the Rentenmark, which was backed by mortgages on all real property in Germany, rather than gold. The Rentenmark was valued at 4.2 marks to one U.S. dollar, and its introduction on November 16, 1923, successfully ended the inflation crisis.

issue:  1922 January 19
publication/distribution:  1922 January 19-1923 November 16
issue: Germany.
Exchange Media
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Forman
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:30:11
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