Design – Formal Components, Denominations and Motifs

Inflation led to a steady currency decline and loss in value. An important factor for the acceptance of the emergency money was therefore its appearance. The design of emergency money provides important information on its functioning and on the acceptance by the population.

The plainest emergency notes only provide the formal information, without textual or pictorial motifs. This is particularly true for the year of inflation in 1923. The rapid devaluation of money caused notable time pressure during its production. During this phase even the imperial banknotes were no longer of high quality.

Motifs depicted on emergency money were divided into three groups: coats of arms and cityscapes were often on emergency money issued by public authorities. Other regional motifs such as local personalities as well as local history and cultural motifs such as clothing, myths or the use of dialects could also be found. Emergency money issued by businesses and industries showed the company or motifs of the corresponding industry sector. War and inflation were also depicted.