With over 300,000 bank notes, the HVB Stiftung Geldscheinsammlung (HVB foundation: collections of bank notes) belongs to the most important collections of its kind in the world. The general collection contains paper money from every country and of all times. As a collection "in progress", it is continuously updated, i.e. any new issues worldwide are routinely acquired for the collection. It is the ambition and the aim to be able to document the entire development in the field of paper money.
Today's Geldscheinsammlung goes back to the collection of Albert Pick (1922–2015). In 1930, the eight-year-old Albert Pick discovered his passion for collecting German emergency currency. This passion soon encompassed all fields of paper currency. Finally, during the 1960s, his private collection arrived at a scale of more than 180,000 bills. In 1964, the Bayerische Hypotheken- und Wechsel-Bank, München (Bavarian Mortgage and Exchange Bank, Munich) took over this collection and, in turn, employed Albert Pick as curator.
In his role as curator of the collection, Albert Pick became very active. The bank vouchsafed a yearly budget, with which to increase the collection even further. He also started to write books and catalogues about his field of collecting. In 1964, he commenced his publications with a standard work that has retained its validity to this day. Entitled Papiergeld (Paper Money), it offered for the first time a historical survey of this special area of expertise. The publication that will forever remain linked to Pick's name, is the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money of 1975, which has since been republished in many editions. In this catalogue, every money bill ever issued received its so-called "Pick-Nummer" (Pick number), i.e. for every country the bank notes put in circulation were numbered in the order of their being issued. By the combination "country/P-number" every bank note circulated worldwide bears a valid signature.
Even after Albert Pick's retirement in 1985, the collection continued to be looked after and expanded. In 2003, the HypoVereinsbank established a foundation entitled "HVB Stiftung Geldscheinsammlung". It is the declared aim of the foundation to preserve and develop this collection, to analyse it scientifically and to make it available to the public. The Geldscheinsammlung has been listed since 2010 in the national register of cultural heritage.
The collection is actively promoted by means of temporary exhibitions in collaboration with diverse partners. In addition to the exhibitions, numerous essays, articles and dedicated publications deal with the topic of paper money. The HVB Stiftung Geldscheinsammlung as a centre of documentation for the history of bank notes is available to scholars and other interested parties.
As general collection, it contains the historical issues of bank notes from all countries and periods, starting with Chinese bills of the Ming-dynasty dated to the fourteenth century up to the bank notes issued today worldwide. The main inventory comprises the paper money put into circulation worldwide by states, governments and licensed banks as well as the emergency money, floated in times of crisis when the national supply with money no longer functions. Among the most substantial is the stock of the German, Austrian, Russian and Netherlandish emergency money. Over the course of time, many special interest collections have been integrated.
The inventory includes for example parts of the collections of King Farouk I of Egypt (1920–1965). The very rare bills of the Netherlandish East India Company are present as well. In addition, there is a large collection of Japanese Hansatsu bills and the famous Kardakoff collection of Russian emergency money. Among the rare and valuable collectibles are also Rabaul notes from German New Guinea.
The stock is complemented by adjacent areas such as, for example, stamp money, POW camp money or regional currency. Next to paper bills there exist smallish collections of objects bearing currency symbols made from other materials such as cloth, leather or wood.