Etymology

OLD MONEY

When I was in West Berlin in the '70s, I bought in an antique shop a stack of old German World War I-era currency. You could get it by the fistful, out of a cardboard box, for, I think, 5 for the Mark or something (about a quarter apiece). I have kept them as fascinating specimens of the engraver's art.

Here are a few of them. Click for larger views.

The fact that most are well-worn and creased from folding down to wallet size only makes me appreciate them more and imagine where they've been. Perhaps Joseph Roth peeled off this bill for admission to the theater or the steam bath.

For a history lesson, note the change in design sensibility between Wilhelmine and Weimar.

Others are reading

Advertisement

Latest stories