Notgeld coins: emergency money (coin substitute)


Notgeld coin — 10 pfennig, 1917: City of Hagen (Germany)

Notgeld coin — 10 pfennig, 1917: City of Hagen (Germany)

KRIEGSGELD 1917: War Money (German "Kriegs" — "War" + German "Geld" — "Money": kriegsgeld is a type of notgeld — emergency money, minted in times of national stress when the government could not meet the demand for coinage to support commerce; the demonstrated notgeld was produced during the World War I).

10 PFENNIG: of all known notgelds (we are talking about notgelds specifically in the format of coins), the most common among numismatists are the German notgeld coins of the period between the two world wars — WW1 and WW2; almost all of them contain a denomination expressed in pfennigs.

STADT HAGEN: city of Hagen.

Coat of arms of Hagen: a stylized golden five-branched, eleven-leaved oak.

Mint: Heinrich Kissing (Menden, Germany) — the enterprise was created in the year 1850; under the name of the firm founder, company acquired an excellent reputation within the range of the engraving and coining technology as well as the manufacturing of host baking machines.

Mintage: 250.000.

  • Zinc: 20.5 mm - 1.9 g
  • Reference price: 4$

NOTGELD COINS — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  • MANY COUNTRIES AND STATE ENTITIES IN DIFFERENT HISTORICAL ERAS (however, coin-like substitutes for the coins of Germany, France, and Spain of the interwar period are most often called notgelds — the first half of the 20th century)

About the name of the notgeld coins: the name "notgeld" means "emergency money" in German. In fact, notgeld coins are not strictly speaking coins. These are only their substitutes that are maximally similar in appearance.
The concept of notgeld coins as temporary payment instrument is nearly as old and widespread as coins itself (we are talking about the emission of a substitute for coins). However, in the description of notgelds, you can often find a mention that these are tokens. In fact, it is very difficult to separate these two concepts — different sources spread different interpretations.
Personally, for the sake of simplification, I decided to consider the following statements to be true (however, I realize that many will disagree with me, referring to numerous numismatic catalogs and Wikipedia articles in different languages that use this or that terminology indiscriminately):
  1. "Notgeld coins" and "Token coins" are not coins, although they are of interest to many numismatists.
  2. Historically, the term "notgeld" most often refers to substitute coins issued on the territory of modern Germany during the years 1914-1924. Although in the catalogs there are many references to notgelds not only from other years of the 20th century, but also from other historical eras. In this context, it would be very interesting to know whether the term "notgeld" is used in printed sources from earlier centuries...
  3. Both notgelds and tokens exist in the form of coins (not always metal, by the way). I decided for myself: notgeld coins always contain an indication of the denomination customary for one or another country (pfennig, centime, céntimo...), token coins — on the contrary, no. Tokens often had inscriptions on them indicating the equality of certain products, for example, bread.
  4. Notgelds were used as standard coins for circulation (although issued by various local authorities, as well as non-governmental organizations — but not the state). Token coins is less useful and issued by a private entity.