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On the Financial Brink, Germany: 10 Million Mark (Weimar Republic, 1923)-Founder's Article

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

This Weimar-era banknote represents the 6th denomination of the 5th Issue “Papiermark”, or Paper Mark. Formally known as either the “Republic Treasury Notes” or the “Weimar Republic Reichsbanknote”. Papiermark were first issued on 4 August 1914 and have their origin in World War I (1914-1918) Imperial Germany (Kaiserreich, 1871–1918). This particular note was first issued on the 22 Aug 1923, ending with the abolition of the Papiermark.

On 15 November 1923 Rentenmark was introduced and in theory replaced the Papiermark. Although the last Papiermark were issued, as late as 15 Mar 1924. In 1924, the Weimar Papiermark was fully replaced by the Reichsmark. The Reichsmark circulated from 1924 until 20/23 June 1948, in East and West Germany respectively. (Note: The Rentenmark continued to circulate along side the Reichsmark, throughout its entire history.)

The note is a single-sided “coupon” style leaflet, its reverse is left bare. The note prominently displays the note's “10 Million Mark” value. The primary text list instructions regarding how to redeem the note. Listed is an option to redeem the note in “exchanged for other means of payment”.

Below the main text is the note's issuing body, the “Imperial Bank Directorate”. Further below is the signatures of the directorate's administrative staff. The signatures are flanked by 2 Imperial Bank Directorate seals. To the note's left is secondary text, a warning to counterfeits and illicit distributors of counterfeit currency. It explicitly states a minimum of 2 years of imprisonment for offenders. The background features an engraving of the note's value (10 Million Marks), faced on a zickzack (zigzag) pattern.


"Imperial Bank Note"
"The Imperial Bank head office in Berlin, pays 10 million marks against the banknote to the consignor. From 1 October 1923 the banknote can be called up and exchanged for other means of payment. Payment withdrawable from Berlin, on the 22 August 1923."
"Imperial Bank Directorate"
-Primary Text-
“Anyone who counterfeits or falsifies banknotes, or distributes counterfeit or falsified banknotes, will be imprisoned for no less than two years.”
-Secondary Text-

Size Comparison

A 20 Million Mark note with a US Dollar for scale.
A 20 Million Mark note with a US Dollar for scale.

Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 125 mm × 80 mm (4.9 in × 3.1 in), making it moderately large.

  • It's advisable to use large note protectors, when preserving this note.

  • The German word 'Reich' directly translates to “realm”, although can be translated to “empire”. This article uses the empire definition, as it best fits the given context.

  • The majority of Papiermark feature only text, with some traditional engraving. Although some notes feature more intricate artwork, with portraits of historical German figures.

  • The highest Papiermark denomination was a 100 Trillion Mark note, issued on 15 Feb 1924. It features Renaissance-era humanist Willibald Pirckheimer (1470-1530).

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