1921 Preetz 25 pfennigs Notgeld hobo note

German stamps, coins and paper money 1919-1945.
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Troy Tempest
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1921 Preetz 25 pfennigs Notgeld hobo note

Post by Troy Tempest » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:24 pm

I was very lucky to come across this. This is one of the most recognized and popular examples of German Notgeld. Notgeld was hard times "small change" currency issued in lieu of coins by struggling towns and villages in the period immediately following WW1. The denomination of 25 Pfennigs was equal to about 6 or 7 Cents at the time. The bill measures 2.5" x 3" (about the size of a trade card or playing card) and is dated 1921. It's beautifully engraved on bank note paper in black, dark beige and red. The front of the bill displays the city shield of the town of Preetz surmounted by a large fish, which is befitting the town's location on the North Sea.

The reverse shows a rail thin hobo striding across a bridge over one of the town's canals, with all his earthly belongings in his knapsack. He wears red clogs without socks. His tie has been clipped almost all the way up to the knot, a theme seen elsewhere on Notgeld (times were so bad that people cut down their ties to sell the silk for a few Pfennigs, but oddly enough kept sporting the shortened versions). The fellow is muttering to himself, no doubt cursing his fate. Indeed, the motto overhead reads "Ick will dat Schnauzen leern". This heavy slang phrase translates roughly as "I could give lessons in snapping (bitching)". Probably the closest thing in English would be "life's a bitch and then you die".

The stoic humour conveyed by this German everyman represented the plight of the whole nation, which was enduring a severe economic depression due to many causes, including its defeat in WWI. As such, this bill (which actually circulated!) will forever remain a numismatic classic. Absolutely terrific uncirculated condition with crisp clean paper and not a single fold, split, stain or other blemish!
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Hello from sunny Port Macquarie

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