G.R. writes: What might the value be on a 1923 German Reichs bank note for 1,000,000 marks? ‘Just curious.
High denomination German notes are from the great inflation of 1922-23. Money depreciated so quickly that the mark became completely worthless. (a 1 Million mark note was about enough for a nice lunch. A few months later this note wouldn’t buy you a postage stamp). By November 1923, 1 pound of bread cost 3 billion (Millarden in German) marks and a glass of beer cost 4 billion marks. The last notes of this period were one trillion mark notes that were roughly equivalent to one United States Dollar.
Today these notes are historically interesting and have a large collector base. Some notes are common and exist in dealer’s stocks in large numbers. At one point, workers were being paid each hour, with their salaries increasing exponentially. People carried their money in stacks in wheelbarrows (and worried that someone would steal the wheelbarrow). Many notes of this era survive today and are quite inexpensive and easy to acquire. Some issues existed for such a short time that they are scarce or rare.
There are two different “Eine Million Mark” Reichsbanknotes dated 25.7.1923. The first issue is dark blue on lilac with a light brown underprinting. This type has a printed back. Value Range, depending on grade (condition): $1 – $30.
The second issue is printed black on white with a yellow tint at right and is uniface. Value range: 10 cents – $6.00.
Some of the later higher denomination notes were issued for such a short time that they are genuinely rare. For example the 100 Billionen (German for Trillion) mark note brings close to $5,000 in uncirculated condition. (At the time this equaled US $100.)