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Weimar Germany Reichsbanknote, 10000 mark

Object | Accession Number: 2003.413.108

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    Weimar Germany Reichsbanknote, 10000 mark


    Brief Narrative
    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.
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Forman
    face, upper center, printed, red ink : K·00687537
    face, center, printed, blue ink : Reichsbanknote / Zehntausend Mark / zahlt die Reichsbankhauptkasse in Berlin / gegen diese Banknote dem Einlieferer. / Berlin, den 19. Januar 1922 / Reichsbankdirektorium / (12 illegible signatures) [Reichsbank note Ten thousand mark The Reichsbank’s head office in Berlin pays the consignor against this banknote. Berlin, January 19, 1922 Reichsbank directorate]
    face, left & right of signatures, inside seals, printed, blue ink : REICHSBANKDIREKTORIUM [Reichsbank directorate]
    face, center left margin & center underprint, printed, tan ink : 10000
    face, lower right, printed, blue ink : 10000
    back, above Reichsadler, printed, green ink : Zehntausend Mark [Ten thousand mark]
    back, over Reichsadler, printed, green ink : R*B*D / 10000 / Mark
    back, under Reichsadler, printed, green ink : Wer Banknoten nachmacht oder verfälscht, oder nachge= / machte 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]
    back, right margin, printed, green ink : 10000
    Issuer: Reichsbankdirektorium

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Physical Description
    Reichsbanknote printed in blue ink on lightweight, rectangular, cream-colored paper with a repeating grid and X patterned watermark. On the face, there is a wide margin to the left of a rectangle with a geometric blue border and an overlapping, wavy tan and blue backprint. The rectangle includes a framed portrait of a man in the upper right corner, and an oval medallion bearing the denomination in the lower right corner. German text is printed on the left in fraktur-style font, and there are 12 signatures centered underneath, flanked by the Reichsbankdirektorium seal bearing a left-facing Reichsadler surrounded by German text, on both sides. The denomination is printed in tan ink as part of the backprint underneath the German text. The serial number is printed in red ink above the text. The left margin includes an elaborate, tan, geometric medallion with the denomination at the center. The back is printed in green ink, with a thick, central band of orange paper fibers embedded into the paper. The denomination is printed vertically on the right, and over a left-facing Reichsadler left of the center. German text in fraktur-style font is above and below the Reichsadler, and an elaborate geometric medallion is printed on either side. The note is lightly worn around the edges.
    overall: Height: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm) | Width: 7.125 inches (18.098 cm)
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name

    Administrative Notes

    The currency was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Joel Forman.
    Record last modified:
    2023-06-30 08:48:14
    This page:

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