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Germany/Notgeld

Notgeld was a form of currency widely used in Germany during World War I and the interwar period. It was issued by various institutions and was available in different materials, including paper banknotes as well as coins, leather, silk, wood, and more. While it primarily functioned as a locally accepted means of payment, it could also circulate beyond its original region. Some forms of Notgeld resembled scrip, which were coupons redeemable only at specific businesses. Collectors categorize Notgeld based on region and era rather than the issuing authority due to the vast number of issues produced across Germany during that time. 

Dr. Arnold Keller played a vital role in the classification of German Notgeld. He published "Das Notgeld" magazine and compiled catalogs, establishing the foundation for collecting Notgeld. It was first released prior to World War I to address coin hoarding. The shortage continued, leading to a new phase of issuance in 1916, categorized as Kleingeldscheine and Grossgeldscheine.

Camp money used by prisoners of war is often collected alongside Notgeld. As collectors emerged, the production of Notgeld became more professional. In 1920, notes were issued even without economic necessity. These colorful notes depicted various subjects and were released in series, telling stories through whimsical illustrations. Dr. Keller's magazine provided release information and criticized excessive pricing. 

Hyperinflation in 1922 resulted in higher denominations of Notgeld. By November 1923, it was denominated in trillions and transitioned to commodities or other currencies. The introduction of the Rentenmark stabilized the currency temporarily, with related denominations of Notgeld issued until local authorities was prohibited from interfering.

During the interwar period, municipalities issued "Building Blocks" certificates for fundraising. After WWII, coin scarcity led to the reintroduction of Notgeld by municipalities. The Currency Reform of 1948 marked the end of issuance, except for sporadic commemoratives, with the introduction of the Deutsche Mark.

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