The Info List - Deutsche Mark

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The DEUTSCHE MARK (German: ( listen ), " German mark "), abbreviated "DM" or "D-Mark" (help ·info ), was the official currency of West Germany from 1948 until 1990 and later the unified Germany from 1990 until 2002. It was first issued under Allied occupation in 1948 to replace the Reichsmark , and served as the Federal Republic of Germany 's official currency from its founding the following year until the adoption of the euro . In English, but not in German, it is commonly called the "DEUTSCHMARK" (/ˈdɔɪtʃmɑːrk/ ).

In 1999, the mark was replaced by the Euro ; its coins and banknotes remained in circulation, defined in terms of euros, until the introduction of euro notes and coins in early 2002. The Deutsche Mark ceased to be legal tender immediately upon the introduction of the euro — in contrast to the other eurozone nations, where the euro and legacy currency circulated side by side for up to two months. Mark coins and banknotes continued to be accepted as valid forms of payment in Germany until 28 February 2002.

The Deutsche Bundesbank has guaranteed that all German marks in cash form may be changed into euros indefinitely, and one may do so in person at any branch of the Bundesbank in Germany. Banknotes and coins can even be sent to the Bundesbank by mail. In 2012, it was estimated that as many as 13.2 billion marks were in circulation, with polls showing a narrow majority of Germans favouring the currency's restoration.

On 31 December 1998, the Council of the European Union fixed the irrevocable exchange rate, effective 1 January 1999, for German mark to euros as DM 1.95583 = €1.

One Deutsche Mark was divided into 100 Pfennige .


* 1 Before 1871 * 2 1873–1948 * 3 Early military occupation

* 4 Currency reform of June 1948

* 4.1 Economics of 1948 currency reform * 4.2 Currency reform in the Soviet occupation zone * 4.3 _Bank deutscher Länder_ and the _Deutsche Bundesbank_ * 4.4 Currency Union with the Saarland * 4.5 German reunification * 4.6 Stability

* 5 Coins

* 5.1 Colloquial expressions

* 6 Banknotes

* 6.1 Banknotes of the fourth series

* 7 Spelling and pronunciation * 8 Reserve currency * 9 See also * 10 Annotations * 11 References * 12 External links


A mark had been the currency of Germany since its original unification in 1871. Before that time, the different German states issued a variety of different currencies, though most were linked to the Vereinsthaler , a silver coin containing  16 2⁄3 grams of pure silver. Although the mark was based on gold rather than silver, a fixed exchange rate between the Vereinsthaler and the mark of 3 marks = 1 Vereinsthaler was used for the conversion.


The first mark, known as the Goldmark , was introduced in 1873. With the outbreak of World War I , the mark was taken off the gold standard. The currency thus became known as the _Papiermark _, especially as high inflation , then hyperinflation occurred and the currency became exclusively made up of paper money. The _Papiermark_ was replaced by the _Rentenmark _ (RM) from November 15, 1923, and the _ Reichsmark _ (RM) in 1924.


During the first two years of occupation the occupying powers of France, United Kingdom, United States, and the Soviet Union were not able to successfully negotiate a possible currency reform in Germany. Due to the strains between the Allies each zone was governed independently as regards monetary matters. The US occupation policy was governed by the directive JCS 1067 (in effect until July 1947), which forbade the US military governor "to take any steps to strengthen German financial structure". As a consequence a separate monetary reform in the U.S. zone was not possible. Each of the Allies printed its own occupation currency.


The Deutsche Mark was officially introduced on Sunday, June 20, 1948 by Ludwig Erhard . The old Reichsmark and Rentenmark were exchanged for the new currency at a rate of DM 1 = RM 1 for the essential currency such as wages, payment of rents etc., and DM 1 = RM 10 for the remainder in private non-bank credit balances, with half frozen. Large amounts were exchanged for RM 10 to 65 Pfennig. In addition, each person received a per capita allowance of DM 60 in two parts, the first being DM 40 and the second DM 20.

A few weeks later Erhard, acting against orders, issued an edict abolishing many economic controls which had been originally implemented by the Nazis, and which the Allies had not removed. He did this, as he often confessed, on Sunday because the offices of the American, British, and French occupation authorities were closed that day. He was sure that if he had done it when they were open, they would have countermanded the order.

The introduction of the new currency was intended to protect western Germany from a second wave of hyperinflation and to stop the rampant barter and black market trade (where American cigarettes acted as currency). Although the new currency was initially only distributed in the three western occupation zones outside Berlin, the move angered the Soviet authorities, who regarded it as a threat. The Soviets promptly cut off all road, rail and canal links between the three western zones and West Berlin, starting the Berlin Blockade . In response, the U.S. and Britain launched an airlift of food and coal and distributed the new currency in West Berlin as well.


Since the 1930s, prices and wages had been controlled, but money had been plentiful. That meant that people had accumulated large paper assets, and that official prices and wages did not reflect reality, as the black market dominated the economy and more than half of all transactions were taking place unofficially. The reform replaced the old money with the new Deutsche Mark at the rate of one new per ten old. This wiped out 90% of government and private debt, as well as private savings. Prices were decontrolled, and labor unions agreed to accept a 15% wage increase, despite the 25% rise in prices. The result was the prices of German export products held steady, while profits and earnings from exports soared and were poured back into the economy. The currency reforms were simultaneous with the $1.4 billion in Marshall Plan money coming in from the United States, which primarily was used for investment. In addition, the Marshall plan forced German companies, as well as those in all of Western Europe, to modernize their business practices, and take account of the wider market. Marshall plan funding overcame bottlenecks in the surging economy caused by remaining controls (which were removed in 1949), and opened up a greatly expanded market for German exports. Overnight, consumer goods appeared in the stores, because they could be sold for higher prices. While the availability of consumers goods is seen as a giant success story by most historians of the present, the perception at the time was a different one: prices were so high that average people could not afford to shop, especially since prices were free-ranging but wages still fixed by law. Therefore, in the summer of 1948 a giant wave of strikes and demonstrations swept over West Germany, leading to an incident in Stuttgart where strikers were met by US tanks ("Stuttgarter Vorfälle"). Only after the wage-freeze was abandoned, Deutschmark and free-ranging prices were accepted by the population.


In the Soviet occupation zone of Germany (later the German Democratic Republic ), the East German mark (also named "Deutsche Mark" from 1948 to 1964 and colloquially referred to as the _Ostmark_ — literally _Eastmark_) was introduced a few days afterwards in the form of Reichsmark and Rentenmark notes with adhesive stamps to stop the flooding in of Reichsmark and Rentenmark notes from the West. In July 1948, a completely new series of East German mark banknotes was issued.


Later in 1948, the _ Bank deutscher Länder _ ("Bank of German States") assumed responsibility, followed in 1957 by the Deutsche Bundesbank . The Deutsche Mark earned a reputation as a strong store of value at times when other national currencies succumbed to periods of inflation . It became a source of national pride and an anchor for the country's economic prosperity, particularly during the years of the _ Wirtschaftswunder _ in the 1950s. In the 1990s, opinion polls showed a majority of Germans opposed to the adoption of the euro; polls today show a significant number would prefer to return to the mark.


The population in the Saar Protectorate rejected in a referendum the proposal to turn it into a "European territory". Despite French pre-referendum claims that a "no" vote would mean that the Saar would remain a French protectorate it in fact resulted in the incorporation of the Saar into the Federal Republic of Germany on January 1, 1957. The new German member state of the Saarland maintained its currency, the Saar franc , which was in a currency union at par with the French franc . On July 9, 1959 the Deutsche Mark replaced the Saar franc at a ratio of 100 francs = DM 0.8507.


The Deutsche Mark played an important role in the reunification of Germany. It was introduced as the official currency of East Germany in July 1990, replacing the East German mark (_Mark der DDR_), in preparation for unification on 3 October 1990. East German marks were exchanged for German marks at a rate of 1:1 for the first 4000 marks and 2:1 for larger amounts. Before reunification, each citizen of East Germany coming to West Germany was given _Begrüßungsgeld_ (welcome money), a per capita allowance of DM 100 in cash. The government of Germany and the Bundesbank were in major disagreement over the exchange rate between the East German mark and the German mark.

France and the United Kingdom were opposed to German reunification, and attempted to influence the Soviet Union to stop it. However, in late 1989 France extracted German commitment to the Monetary Union in return for support for German reunification.


The German mark had a reputation as one of the world's most stable currencies; this was based on the monetary policy of the _Bundesbank_. The policy was "hard" in relation to the policies of certain other central banks in Europe. The "hard" and "soft" was in respect to the aims of inflation and political interference. This policy was the foundation of the European Central Bank 's present policy towards the euro. The German mark's stability was greatly apparent in 1993, when speculation on the French franc and other European currencies caused a change in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism . However, it should be remembered that "hard" is relative only if it is compared to other currencies, as in its 53-year history, the purchasing power of the German mark was reduced by over 70%.


The first Deutsche Mark coins were issued by the Bank deutscher Länder in 1948 and 1949. From 1950, the inscription _Bundesrepublik Deutschland_ (Federal Republic of Germany) appeared on the coins. These coins were issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, and 10 pfennigs. The 1- and 2-pfennig coins were struck in bronze clad steel (although during some years the 2 pf. was issued in solid bronze) while 5 and 10 pf. were brass clad steel. In 1950, cupronickel 50-pfennig and 1-mark coins were released, while a cupronickel 2 marks and a .625 silver 5 marks were released in 1951. Cupronickel replaced silver in the 5 marks in 1975. The 2- and 5-mark coins have often been used for commemorative themes, though typically only the generic design for the 5 marks is intended for circulation. Commemorative silver 10-mark coins have also been issued which have periodically found their way into circulation. Unlike other European countries, Germany retained the use of the smallest coins (1 and 2 pfennigs) until adoption of the euro.


1 pfennig 1948–2001 1948–1949: Bronze-plated steel 1950–2001: Copper-plated steel Denomination between rye stalks Oak sprig

2 pfennigs 1950–2001 1950–1968: Bronze 1968–2001: Bronze-plated steel Denomination between rye stalks Oak sprig

5 pfennigs 1949–2001 Brass-plated steel Denomination between rye stalks Oak sprig

10 pfennigs 1949–2001 Brass-plated steel Denomination between rye stalks Oak sprig

50 pfennigs 1949–2001 Cupro-nickel Denomination Woman planting an oak seedling

DM 1 1950–2001 Cupro-nickel Denomination between oak leaves German eagle

DM 2 1951-1956 Cupro-nickel Denomination between rye stalks and grapes German eagle

DM 2 1957-1971 Cupro-nickel Max Planck German eagle ,

denomination below

DM 2 1969–2001 Cupro-nickel (Cu 75 Ni 25) 1969–1987: Konrad Adenauer 1970–1987: Theodor Heuss 1979–1993: Kurt Schumacher 1988–2001: Ludwig Erhard 1990–2001: Franz Josef Strauß 1994–2001: Willy Brandt German eagle ,

denomination below

DM 5 1951–1974 Silver (Ag 625 Cu 375) Denomination German eagle

DM 5 1975–2001 Cupro-nickel (Cu 75 Ni 25) Denomination German eagle

The weights and dimensions of the coins can be found in an FAQ of the Bundesbank .

Unlike other countries (such as Australia) there was no attempt or proposal suggested for the withdrawal of the 1- and 2-pfennig coins. Both coins were still in circulation in 2001 and supermarkets in particular still marked prices to the nearest pfennig. This penchant for accuracy continues with the euro (while Finland or the Netherlands for example, price to the nearest 5 cents) with the 1-cent coin still encountered in Germany.

There were a considerable number of commemorative silver DM 5 and DM 10 coins , which actually had the status of legal tender but were rarely seen outside of collectors' circles. Obverse view of the 2001 special gold issue of the DM 1 coin

On 27 December 2000, the German government enacted a law authorizing the Bundesbank to issue, in 2001, a special .999 pure gold 1-mark coin commemorating the end of the German mark. The coin had the exact design and dimensions of the circulating cupro-nickel DM 1 coin, with the exception of the inscription on the reverse, which read "Deutsche Bundesbank" (instead of "Bundesrepublik Deutschland"), as the Bundesbank was the issuing authority in this case. A total of one million gold 1-mark coins were minted (200,000 at each of the five mints) and were sold beginning in mid-2001 through German coin dealers on behalf of the Bundesbank. The issue price varied by dealer but averaged approximately 165 United States dollars .

German coins bear a mint mark, indicating where the coin was minted. D indicates Munich, F Stuttgart, G Karlsruhe and J Hamburg. Coins minted during the Second World War include the mint marks A (Berlin) and B (Vienna). The mint mark A was also used for German mark coins minted in Berlin beginning in 1990 following the reunification of Germany. These mint marks have been continued on the German euro coins .

Between July 1, 1990 (the currency union with East Germany ) and July 1, 1991, East German coins in denominations up to 50 pfennigs continued to circulate as Deutsche Mark coins at their face value, owing to a temporary shortage of small coins. These coins were legal tender only in the territory of the former East Germany.


In colloquial German the 10-pfennig coin was sometimes called a _groschen _ (cf. groat ). Likewise, _sechser_ (sixer) could refer to a coin of 5 pfennigs. Both colloquialisms refer to several pre-1871 currencies of the previously independent states (notably Prussia ), where a groschen was subdivided into 12 pfennigs, hence half a groschen into 6. After 1871, 12 old pfennigs would be converted into 10 pfennigs of the mark, hence 10-pfennig coins inherited the "Groschen" name and 5-pfennig coins inherited the "sechser" name. Both usages are only regional and may not be understood in areas where a Groschen coin did not exist before 1871. In particular, the usage of "sechser" is less widespread. In northern Germany the 5-mark coin used to be also called "Heiermann" (etymology is unclear), whereas in Bavaria the 2-mark coin was called "Zwickl" (as the €2 coin is now).


One Deutsche Mark (1948), first series, Allied military issue .

There were four series of German mark banknotes:

* The first was issued in 1948 by the Allied military. There were denominations of  1⁄2, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 marks, with two designs of 20 and 50 Mark notes. * The second series was introduced in 1948 by the _Bank deutscher Länder_, an institution of the western occupation government. The designs were similar to the US Dollar and French franc , as the job of designing and printing the different denominations was shared between the Bank of France and the American Bank Note Company. There were denominations of 5 and 10 pfennigs, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 marks. * The third series was introduced in 1960 by the Bundesbank , depicting neutral symbols, paintings by the German painter Albrecht Dürer , and buildings. There were denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 marks. * The fourth was introduced in 1990 by the Bundesbank to counter advances in forgery technology. The notes depicted German artists and scientists together with symbols and tools of their trade. This series added a 200-mark denomination, to decrease the use of 100-mark banknotes, which made up 54% of all circulating banknotes, and to fill the gap between the DM 100 and DM 500 denominations.

The notes with a value greater than 200 marks were rarely seen.


The design of German banknotes remained unchanged during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. During this period, forgery technology made significant advances and so, in the late 1980s, the Bundesbank decided to issue a new series of Deutsche Mark banknotes. The colours for each denomination remained unchanged from the previous series but the designs underwent significant changes and a DM 200 denomination was introduced. Famous national artists and scientists were chosen to be portrayed on the new banknotes. Male and female artists were chosen in equal numbers. The buildings in the background of the notes' obverses had a close relationship to the person displayed (e.g., place of birth, place of death, place of work), as well as the second background picture (Lyra and the musician Schumann). The reverses of the notes refer to the work of the person on the obverse.

The new security features were: a windowed security thread (with the notes' denominations in microprinting), watermarks, microprinting, intaglio printing (viewing-angle dependent visibility as well as a Braille representation of the notes denomination), colour-shifting ink (on the DM 500 and 1000 denominations), a see-through register and ultraviolet-visible security features.

First to be issued were the DM 100 and 200 denominations on 1 October 1990 (although the banknote shows " Frankfurt am Main , 2. Januar 1989"). The next denomination was DM 10 on 16 April 1991, followed by DM 50 on 30 September 1991. Next was the DM 20 note on 20 March 1992 (printed on 2 August 1991). The reason for this gradual introduction was, that public should become familiar with one single denomination, before introducing a new one. The change was finished with the introduction of the 5-, 500-, and 1000-mark denominations on 27 October 1992. The last three denominations were rarely seen in circulation and were introduced in one step. With the advance of forgery technology, the Bundesbank decided to introduce additional security features on the most important denominations (50, 100, and 200 marks) as of 1996. These were a hologram foil in the center of the note's obverse, a matted printing on the note's right obverse, showing its denomination (like on the reverse of the new €5, €10, and €20 banknotes ), and the EURion constellation on the note's reverse. Furthermore, the colours were changed slightly to hamper counterfeiting.




DM 5 2.56 122 × 62 mm Yellowish-green Bettina von Arnim , Wiepersdorf estate and buildings of historic Berlin, Horn (symbolizing Des Knaben Wunderhorn_) Brandenburg Gate , Script from Bettina von Arnim's correspondence with Goethe ("Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde") As portrait 1 August 1991 27 October 1992 31 December 2001 Indefinite


DM 10 5.11 130 × 65 mm Blue-violet Carl Friedrich Gauss , Gaussian distribution , historic buildings of Göttingen Sextant , a small map showing the triangulation of the Kingdom of Hanover performed by Gauss 2 January 1989 16 April 1991

DM 20 10.23 138 × 68 mm Bluish-green Annette von Droste-Hülshoff , buildings of the city of Meersburg A quill pen and a beech-tree, referring to her work Die Judenbuche _ (the Jews' Beech), an open book 1 August 1991 20 March 1992


DM 50 25.56 146 × 71 mm Yellowish-brown Balthasar Neumann , buildings of Old Würzburg , an architect's ruler Partial view of the stairway in the Würzburg Residence , the ground plan of a famous chapel, Kreuzkapelle,_ in Kitzingen 2 January 1989 30 September 1991


DM 100 51.13 154 × 74 mm Dark blue Clara Schumann from a lithograph by Andreas Staub , buildings of historic Leipzig and a lyre Grand piano, Background: the pre-war building of the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main 1 October 1990


DM 200 102.26 162 × 77 mm Orange Paul Ehrlich , buildings of historic Frankfurt , the formula of Arsphenamine Microscope , the Rod of Asclepius surrounded by simplified cell structures

DM 500 255.65 170 × 80 mm Red-violet Maria Sibylla Merian , an insect, buildings of ancient Nuremberg Dandelion , inchworm , butterfly 1 August 1991 27 October 1992

DM 1000 511.29 178 × 83 mm Dark-brown Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm , buildings of historic Kassel The 'German dictionary' (Deutsches Wörterbuch_), the Royal library in Berlin


DM 50 25.56 As previous 2 January 1996 2 February 1998 31 December 2001 Indefinite

DM 100 51.13 1 August 1997

DM 200 102.26

For table standards, see the banknote specification table .


The German name of the currency is _Deutsche Mark_ (fem. , German pronunciation: ); its plural form in standard German is the same as the singular. In German, the adjective "deutsche" (adjective for "German" in feminine singular nominative form) is capitalized because it is part of a proper name, while the noun "Mark", like all German nouns, is always capitalized. The English loanword "Deutschmark" has a slightly different spelling and one syllable fewer (possibly due to the frequency of silent e in English), and a plural form in _-s_. In Germany, the currency's name was often abbreviated as _D-Mark_ (fem. , ) or simply _Mark_ (fem. ) with the latter term also often used in English. Like _Deutsche Mark_, _D-Mark_ and _Mark_ do not take the plural in German when used with numbers (like all names of units), the singular being used to refer to any amount of money (e.g. _eine (one) Mark_ and _dreißig (thirty) Mark_). Sometimes, a very colloquial plural form of _Mark_, _Märker_ was used as either as diminutive form or to refer to a small number of D-Mark coins or bills, e.g. _Gib mir mal ein paar Märker_ ("Just give me a few marks") and _Die lieben Märker wieder_ ("The lovely money again", with an ironic undertone).

The subdivision unit is spelled _Pfennig_ (masc. ; ), which unlike _Mark_ does have a commonly used plural form: _Pfennige_ (), but the singular could also be used instead with no difference in meaning. (e.g.: _ein (one) Pfennig_, _dreißig (thirty) Pfennige_ or _dreißig (thirty) Pfennig_). The official form is singular.


Main article: Reserve currency

Before the switch to the euro, the Deutsche Mark was the largest international reserve currency after the United States dollar .

The percental composition of currencies of official foreign exchange reserves since 1995.

US dollar Euro German mark French franc

Pound sterling Japanese yen Other

* v * t * e


* Economy of Germany * German euro coins * German Papiermark and Notgeld * German Reichsmark * List of commemorative coins of the Federal Republic of Germany


* ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia . The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory . The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement . Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 111 out of 193 United Nations member states .


* ^ " Kosovo adopts Deutschmark". _BBC_. 3 September 1999. Retrieved 22 June 2013. * ^ "Exchanging DM for euro". Bundesbank . Retrieved 2015-01-04. * ^ http://theweek.com/article/index/230830/why-are-germans-still-using-the-deutsche-mark * ^ "Determination of the euro conversion rates". European Central Bank . 1999-01-01. Retrieved 2008-02-20. * ^ _A_ _B_ Nicholas Balabkins, _" Germany Under Direct Controls: Economic Aspects of Industrial Disarmament 1945–1948"_, Rutgers University Press, 1964 p. 145 * ^ Bundesbank.de Accessed 2015-01-04 * ^ Tyler Cowen, "The Marshall Plan: myths and realities" in U.S. Aid to the Developing World, A Free Market Agenda, Heritage Foundation, p.65 * ^ Tipton, Frank B. (2003). _History of Modern Germany since 1815_. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 511–13. ISBN 0-520-24050-2 . * ^ Sauermann, Heinz (1950). "The Consequences of the Currency Reform in Western Germany". _Review of Politics _. 12 (2): 175–196. JSTOR 1405052 . * ^ Jörg Roesler: Die Stuttgarter Vorfälle vom Oktober 1948. Zur Entstehung der Sozialen Marktwirtschaft in der Bundesrepublik Deutschlands, in: Jahrbuch für Forschungen zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung , No I/2007; Uwe Fuhrmann: Stuttgart 48 und die soziale Marktwirtschaft, in: Fuhrman et. a. (eds.): Ignoranz und Inszenierung, Münster 2012 * ^ "Thatcher told Gorbachev Britain did not want German reunification". _Michael Binyon_. London: Times. September 11, 2009. Retrieved 2012-05-06. * ^ Ben Knight (2009-11-08). "Germany\'s neighbors try to redeem their 1989 negativity". _Deutsche Welle_. Retrieved 2009-11-09. * ^ "Coins of the Federal Republic of Germany". _ Coin and banknote collection_. Retrieved 2 May 2010. * ^ The sculptor Richard Martin Werner designed the woman relief after his wife Gerda Johanna Werner (in German). * ^ Sammler.com Withdrawn on 1 July 1958 over confusion with the similarly designed 1 DM * ^ " Deutsche Mark coins". _Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)_. 2007. Retrieved 30 April 2010. * ^ Linzmayer, Owen (2012). "Federal Republic of Germany". _The Banknote Book_. San Francisco, CA: www.BanknoteNews.com. * ^ _Review of the International Role of the Euro_ (PDF ), Frankfurt am Main: European Central Bank , December 2005, ISSN 1725-2210 ISSN 1725-6593 (online). * ^ For 1995–99, 2006–12: " Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER)" (PDF ). Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund . January 3, 2013. * ^ For 1999–2005: International Relations Committee Task Force on Accumulation of Foreign Reserves (February 2006), _The Accumulation of Foreign Reserves_ (PDF ), Occasional Paper Series, Nr. 43, Frankfurt am Main: European Central Bank , ISSN 1607-1484 ISSN 1725-6534 (online).


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