From The Ashes, German Loan Currency: 2 Mark (Weimar Republic, 1920)-Article

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

This Weimar Republic-era banknote represents the 2nd version of the 2 Mark Darlehenskassenscheine (1920). Darlehenskassenscheine (lit. Loan-Cash Certificate) were a special currency, that paralleled the German Goldmark. The notes were backed by loans on industrial and agricultural goods. In accordance with the Loan Fund Act of August 4, 1914 (RGBl. P. 340).


They were issued during WW1 (1914-1918) and the early Weimar Republic (1919-1933). For most Germans they were considered the de-facto currency. Until the introduction of the Papiermark (Papermark), in 1923. Which itself was replace by the Retenmark in November 1923. (Read our article "On the Financial Brink, Germany", for additional details on Papiermark.)


Observe

The observe's header roughly translates to "Debt Note * Two Marks", or in the literal sense "Loan-Cash Certificate * Two Mark". The observe's center text lists the the note's "2 Mark" value, with additional subtext below. This subtext lists the note as being issued on the 1st of March 1920, in Berlin. Unfortunately the signatures below (footer), currently can't be interpreted.


The note's print and underprint are fairly elaborate, practically for an alternative currency. The under print appears to be a fractal-based microprint, made of interlinked circles. The main print (excluding burgundy center) uses a white on blue "curling leaf" pattern, with burgundy flowers. While neighboring header and footer utilize a blue on white "snowflake" microprint pattern.


The observe utilizes a pair of authentication stamps, representing the Imperial Debt Administration. The left stamp is a simple seal, while right stamp features a easily recognized raised/textured design.

The observe also features wrap-around text, which outlines a list of legal warnings. Threating imprisonment for either creating, obtaining, and/or distributing falsified/counterfeit versions of this note.


Translation

"Debt Note"
-Header Text-
“2 Marks"
"Berlin, 1 March 1920"
-Main Text-
"Whoever falsifies or counterfeits debt notes, procures falsified or counterfeit debt notes, and bring them into circulation, will be imprisoned."
-Wrap-Around Text-
"Imperial Debt Administration"
-Left/Right Stamps-

Reverse

The reverse's center features the note's "2 Mark" value, flanked by two Reichsadler (German Imperial Eagle). This is surrounded by an ornate wrap-around frame, resembling embroidery. The note's value is reinforced by a stylized number 2, on each corner. In addition to a under printed of number 2s, clustered into groups of 4, and spaced by "cross-like" symbols.


Translation

"Debt Note"
"2 Two Mark 2"
-Primary Text-

Size Comparison

A 2 Mark Darlehenskassenscheine note with a US Dollar for scale.
A 2 Mark Darlehenskassenscheine note with a US Dollar for scale.

Additional Notes

  • The note's dimensions are 99 mm × 66 mm or 3.90 in × 2.60 in.

  • The note's text is printed in a type of Gothic script, known as Fraktur.

  • Fraktur can be difficult to read for some people, due to its stylized letters.

  • Darlehnskassenschein were based on earlier Prussian notes, issued from 1848 to 1851.

  • Prussian Darlehnskassenschein were exchangeable for silver Thalers, from 1852-1855.

  • German Darlehnskassenschein were legally not exchangeable for Goldmarks.

  • This prohibition extended to all other alternative German currencies.

  • While not formal banknotes, all state treasuries were obligated to accept them.


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