101796 | GERMANY. Vohwinkel 500 Million Mark Notgeld Note.

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    101796  |  GERMANY. Vohwinkel 500 Million Mark Notgeld Note. Issued 15 October 1923 (117mm x 159mm). Der Finanzen Totentanz (the Financial Dance of Death).

     

    Series G1, No. 32893. Skeleton standing facing to left, carrying stacks of notes and sprinkling them to a clamoring public; in outer border, German text revealing the grim nature of the times: "PRICES ON 15 OCTOBER 1923: a liter of water—98 thousand, a pound of salt—42 million, an egg—75 million, a liter of milk—152 million, a pound of potatoes—40 million, a herring—50 million, a pound of bread—210 million, a pound of lard—1-1/4 billion, a pair of shoe soles—6 billion, a medical death certificate—600 million, a coffin—45 billion." Cream colored paper with red and blank ink; seal embossed to upper left.

     

    Choice Very Fine. A few minor creases and folds. A rare and very interesting note from the Weimar period of hyperinflation.

     

    The post-WWI period in Germany saw massive hyperinflation and food shortages on account of the reparations forced upon the belligerent nation as well as the massive destruction that needed to be rebuilt. As such, numerous forms of "notgeld"—a pseudo-currency produced mostly on a local level—were issued, oftentimes with ridiculously high denominations that verged upon being worthless no matter the number of zeroes present. These pieces of "currency" many times attempted to convey a more humorous or light-hearted message, given all of the hardships abounding throughout. In this case, the city of Vohwinkel, now located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, produced this note in October 1923, with a skeleton rather grimly throwing out money to a needy populace. The degree to which this unrest was felt is further shown in the outer margins, with the prices of various necessities highlighted. Rather appropriately (and morbidly), the prices of a death certificate and a coffin are also pointed out.