Spending Money to Save Money

Beautiful Notgeld Example

From 1914 until the mid-1920s, the population of Germany and Austria were faced with a crisis of sorts: the value of the materials used to make coins was now higher than the value of their denominations. Understandably, the public began refusing to hand over said currency to purchase goods and its distribution slowed to a a virtual stop. In response, makeshift banknotes – not legal tender but used as such in local circles – were produced by local authorities and some companies, and quickly began to circulate.

An unintended side-effect was that the majority were beautifully and uniquely designed, and as a result many people were so enamoured by the colourful ‘Notgeld‘ (‘emergency money’) that they began to save them and pay for goods with their legal currency instead, thus recirculating the genuine coins; by 1930 the distribution of these notes (fashioned from all manner of materials including paper, wood, leather, photographs, coupons) had ceased and instead spawned a collectors’ market.

After the jump, view a round-up of some of the most eye-catching examples…

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