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On the Financial Brink, Germany: 5000 Marks (Weimar Republic, 1922)-Article

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

This Weimar-era banknote represents the 1st denomination of the 4th Issue Papiermark (Paper Mark). 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 1 November 1920, making it relatively early 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 observe depicts the portrait "Merchant Imhof", by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). This portrait is off-set right of center and forms its focal point. Opposite of this portrait is the note's primary text, framed by a mirrored header/footer. Identifying it as an Imperial Banknote valued at "5000" Marks, as repeated by the main text title.

The note's "5000" mark value is reinforced by its underprint. Above this "5000" is extensive instructions to the note's bearer. It states, "The Reichsbank Main Branch in Berlin will pay the holder of this note five thousand marks". Although if recalled after "1st of April 1923", it can be "exchanged for other legal tender".

This is followed by additional text, partially hiding a Reichsadler (Imperial Eagle). The text states the note was issued by the Imperial Bank Directorate in Berlin, on 2 December 1922. Below are signatures representing various bank officials. These signatures are flanked by a pair of Imperial Bank Directorate seals.

Toward the far left is the note's vertical serial number. The serial number reads "Oa 075413 P", both its end are bookmarked a pair of Reichsadler

Full Translation

"Imperial Bank Note"
"Five Thousand Mark"
"The Reichsbank Main Branch in Berlin will pay the holder of this note five thousand marks.
Beginning the 1st of April 1923 this note may be recalled and collected in exchange for other legal tender."
"Berlin, The 2 December 1922"
"Imperial Bank Directorate"
-Primary Text-
"Imperial Bank Directorate"


The ornate reverse is relatively light on text, listing the note's "Five Thousand Mark" value. Which is reinforced by a number "5000" on the underprint and each of the reverse art's corners. Below is some fine print text, it provides a warning to would be counterfeiters. Threating no less than 2 years of hard labor (Zuchthaus).

Just as the observe, there is a mostly unprinted area with a pair of Reichsadler.

Full Translation

"Imperial Bank Note"
"Five Thousand Mark"
-Primary Text-
“Anyone who counterfeits or falsifies banknotes, or distributes counterfeit or falsified banknotes, will be imprisoned for no less than two years.
-Sub Text-

Additional Notes

  • This note's dismissions are 130 x 90 mm or 5.12 x 3.54 in, larger than a US Dollar.

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