October 27, 2016
It has been a while since the last update. I have taken more of an approach of leaning more toward paper notes and non-metalic coins although the Mermaid coin is still on the table.
Recently I have been studying Notgeld. As you already know, Notgeld became a thing because there was a small denomination coin shortage. Paper notes became the way to fill the void of coins. It became a profit center for cash-strapped municipal governments. If they could create a design that was 'collectible', then they could turn a profit as well. Generally speaking the Notgeld was backed by actual currency and print runs matched that reserve set aside. This was all well and good except the currency was not stable. In the end, the paper Notgeld notes were not as valuable as the paper they were printed on.
If you are like me, you want details. How many were printed, for example. It is not easy to find but many of the more unusual releases are known. On rare instances, the municipality stated on the note itself the total in circulation or should I say printed.
I really could care less for the Notgeld created to sell to collectors. Granted I am the odd man out and most Notgeld served that purpose by hiring printers and artists to create a certain theme or personality for their small change paper money. The true Notgeld in my book was created to supplement the coin shortage. In other words, the thought collectors would buy some was not the reason to create the notes.
There is some interesting stuff out there, printed on almost anything available at the moment be it wood, aluminum foil, cotton fabric, leather, ledger paper, parchment and so on. Lots of what I call 'recycled' paper that was printed on one side became Notgeld. The fact notes were printed on anything available is an indication it was true emergency money designed to meet the need for small change.
Interesting to me were notes printed on postcards, for example. Mauerkirchen had notes on hand torn slips of paper, some recycled. Some notes were handwritten. Some just rubber stamped. Others were typed with the indentation of the paper evident. Some look mimeographed. Almost all lack artistic design. These are the true Notgeld releases. The beautiful multi-color artist renderings were less for actual usage and more for the new collector's market where a community government might add to the town's financial holdings. In fact there are towns that have stated it cost 14,000 Krone to create an issue of 187,500 notes totaling 50,000 Krone and produced a profit of 12,000 Krone or more. In fact, a few towns sold bonds to fund a printing!.
Small towns usually had the more crude and smaller runs. Towns of maybe 250 to a couple of thousand might do a run of 100 sets, some 300 sets or maybe as many as 6,000 sets but rarely would the full value of the notes exceed a few thousand Krone.
But the denomination "Krone" begs to be described in value against other currencies at the point of release. In other words, I am still researching. Significant was why most towns released 10, 20 and 50 Heller notes in Austria. Why so few of other denominations? I will try to chart values over time, paying attention to the release date. Not only do I want to clearly understand what a note would buy, but of a town did 32,000 Krone of notes in October 1920, how many US Dollars is that?
New designs and such are now being started. I expect to be placing orders for stamps and maybe a few wood cuts in the coming couple of weeks and I might write up some new places for some of the notes..