header Notes Collection

5 Mark 1950. II Serie, Germany

in Krause book Number: 13e
Years of issue: 22.03.1950
Signatures: Präsident Bank deutscher Länder und der Deutschen Bundesbank: Herr Wilhelm Vocke (in office from 20.05.1948 till 31.12.1957), Vizepräsident des Direktoriums der Bank deutscher Länder: Herr Wilhelm Könneker
Serie: Bank deutscher Länder
Specimen of: 09.12.1948
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 120 х 60
Printer: TDLR (Thomas de la Rue & Company), London

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

5 Mark 1950. II Serie



5 Mark 1948


In Greek mythology Europa (Εὐρώπη Eurṓpē) was the mother of King Minos of Crete, a woman with Phoenician origin of high lineage, and for whom the continent Europe was named. The story of her abduction by Zeus in the form of a white bull was a Cretan story; as classicist Károly Kerényi points out, "most of the love-stories concerning Zeus originated from more ancient tales describing his marriages with goddesses. This can especially be said of the story of Europa".

Europa's earliest literary reference is in the Iliad, which is commonly dated to the 8th century BC. Another early reference to her is in a fragment of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, discovered at Oxyrhynchus. The earliest vase-painting securely identifiable as Europa dates from mid-VII century BC.

Greek Εὐρώπη Eurṓpē contains the elements εὐρύς (eurus), "wide, broad" and ὤψ/ὠπ-/ὀπτ- (ōps/ōp-/opt-) "eye, face, countenance". Broad has been an epithet of Earth herself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion.

It is common in ancient Greek mythology and geography to identify lands or rivers with female figures. Thus, Europa is first used in a geographic context in the Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo, in reference to the western shore of the Aegean Sea. As a name for a part of the known world, it is first used in the VI century BC by Anaximander and Hecataeus.

An alternative suggestion due to Ernest Klein and Giovanni Semerano (1966) attempted to connect a Semitic term for "west", Akkadian erebu meaning "to go down, set" (in reference to the sun), Phoenician 'ereb "evening; west", which would parallel occident (the resemblance to Erebus, from PIE *h1regʷos, "darkness", is accidental, however). Barry (1999) adduces the word Ereb on an Assyrian stele with the meaning of "night", "[the country of] sunset", in opposition to Asu "[the country of] sunrise", i.e. Asia (Anatolia coming equally from Ἀνατολή, "(sun)rise", "east"). This proposal is mostly considered unlikely or untenable.


5 Mark 1950. II Serie

5 Mark 1948

The Abduction of Europa.

Sources differ in details regarding Europa's family, but agree that she is Phoenician, and from a lineage that descended from Io, the mythical nymph beloved of Zeus, who was transformed into a heifer. She is generally said to be the daughter of Agenor, the Phoenician King of Tyre; the Syracusan poet Moschus makes her mother Queen Telephassa ("far-shining") but elsewhere her mother is Argiope ("white-faced"). Other sources, such as the Iliad, claim that she is the daughter of Agenor's son, the "sun-red" Phoenix. It is generally agreed that she had two brothers, Cadmus, who brought the alphabet to mainland Greece, and Cilix who gave his name to Cilicia in Asia Minor, with the author of Bibliotheke including Phoenix as a third. So some interpret this as her brother Phoenix (when he is assumed to be son of Agenor) gave his siblings' name to his three children and this Europa (by this case, niece of former) is also loved by Zeus, but because of the same name, gave some confusions to others. After arriving in Crete, Europa had three sons fathered by Zeus: Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon, the three of whom became the three judges of the Underworld when they died. In Crete she married Asterion also rendered Asterius and became mother (or step-mother) of his daughter Crete.

There were two competing myths relating how Europa came into the Hellenic world, but they agreed that she came to Crete (Kríti), where the sacred bull was paramount. In the more familiar telling she was seduced by the god Zeus in the form of a bull, who breathed from his mouth a saffron crocus and carried her away to Crete on his back—to be welcomed by Asterion, but according to the more literal, euhemerist version that begins the account of Persian-Hellene confrontations of Herodotus, she was kidnapped by Cretans, who likewise were said to have taken her to Crete. The mythical Europa cannot be separated from the mythology of the sacred bull, which had been worshipped in the Levant. In 2012, an archaeological mission of the British Museum led by Lebanese archaeologist, Claude Doumet Serhal, discovered at the site of the old American school in Sidon, Lebanon currency that depicts Europa riding the bull with her veil flying all over like a bow, further proof of Europa's Phoenician origin.

Europa does not seem to have been venerated directly in cult anywhere in classical Greece, but at Lebadaea in Boeotia, Pausanias noted in the 2nd century CE that Europa was the epithet of Demeter - "Demeter whom they surname Europa and say was the nurse of Trophonios" - among the Olympians who were addressed by seekers at the cave sanctuary of Trophonios of Orchomenus, to whom a chthonic cult and oracle were dedicated: "the grove of Trophonios by the river Herkyna ... there is also a sanctuary of Demeter Europa ... the nurse of Trophonios.

Denominations in numerals are in all corners, in numeral and words - centered.


5 Mark 1950. II Serie


Denominations in numeral and words - centered, in numeral - in lower right corner.


Withdrawn from circulation: 01.08.1966

Invalid from 01.01.1967

Designer: Max Bittrof (27.11.1890 - 15.05.1972).

The Bank deutscher Länder (Bank of the German States), abbreviation BdL, was the forerunner of the Deutsche Bundesbank. It was founded on 1 March 1948.

The main task of the BdL was to manage currency policy in the American and British occupation zones in Germany (Bizone). On 21 June 1948 the Bank deutscher Länder introduced the Deutsche Mark currency in the three western zones of occupation. On 1 November 1948, state central banks in the French zone, which had adopted Deutsche Mark in June too, joined the BdL. In May 1949 the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was founded, however, the BdL remained subject to the control of the three Western Allied powers - the United States, the United Kingdom and France until 1951. Later, BdL became an independent agency of the West German states, similar to the concept of independence displayed by the Federal Reserve System in the United States.

In the process of introducing the Deutsche Mark in 1948, the states' central banks (German: Landeszentralbanken, LZB), then entities of the individual German states, founded the Bank deutscher Länder as their subsidiary for the central purpose of issuing the new currency, avoiding thus conflicts among the states.

The capital stock of the BdL, 100,000 Deutsche Mark, was given by the LZB. When the BdL was established, 300 people worked there, but by 1949, their number had already increased to 1,450. The headquarters of the BdL was located in Frankfurt am Main.

Institutions of the BdL were the board of directors and the Zentralbankrat (Central banking council), consisting of the nine presidents of the Landeszentralbanken. These officials elected the president of the board of directors, who then chose the other members of the board. The board's task was to enforce the resolutions of the Zentralbankrat.

Effective 1 August 1957, the BdL and the central banks of the German states were merged in the new Deutsche Bundesbank with the Landeszentralbanken transformed into mere subsidiaries of the Bundesbank in accordance with the Federal law establishing the Bundesbank.