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100 Mark 1909, Germany

in Krause book Number: 38
Years of issue: 10.09.1909
Signatures: Reichsbankdirektorium: Havenestein, v. Glasenapp, Schmiedicke, Korn, Maron, v. Lumm, v. Grimm, Kauffmann, Schneider
Serie: 1909 Issue
Specimen of: 07.02.1908
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 207 x 102
Printer: Reichsdruckerei, Kreuzberger Oranienstraße 91, Berlin (from 06.07.1879 till 03.02.1945)

* 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.

100 Mark 1909




William I, German Emperor and denomination 100 with dots around.


The engraving for watermark was taken after the photo of William I, German Emperor, 1884, by German photographer Wilhelm Kuntzemüller.

William I, or in German Wilhelm I (full name: William Frederick Louis of Hohenzollern, German: Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig von Hohenzollern, 22 March 1797 – 9 March 1888), of the House of Hohenzollern was the King of Prussia (2 January 1861 - 9 March 1888) and the first German Emperor (1 January 1871 – 9 March 1888), as well as the first Head of State of a united Germany. Under the leadership of William and his Minister President Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the establishment of the German Empire. Despite his long support of Otto von Bismarck as Minister President, William held strong reservations about some of Bismarck's more reactionary policies, including his anti-Catholicism and tough handling of subordinates. Contrary to the domineering Bismarck, William was described as polite, gentlemanly and, while a staunch conservative, more open to certain classical liberal ideas than his grandson Wilhelm II.


100 Mark 1909

Here's what the German nationalist tabloid "Stürmer" wrote about this banknote:

"Selten gab es einen mit Bildern und Symbolen so überladenen Geldschein wie den blauen Hunderter von 1908. [...] Auf einer Fläche von 207 zu 112 Millimeter enthielt er nicht nur rote Seriennummern, Wertangabe und Wasserzeichen, sondern auch [...] ein politisches Programm. [...] Im Ganzen war dies weniger Kunst als eine Tour de force von Herrschaftszeichen, Bekundungen sozialen Harmoniestrebens und militärischer Kraftsymbolik. Letztere drängte sich - im Gegensatz zu früheren Geldscheinen, auf welchen Germania noch unbewaffnet erschien - so unübersehbar in den Vordergrund, dass der Betrachter nicht umhin konnte, sich des Schlachtflottenbaus und der Einkreisungsängste zu erinnern, an das Kanzlerwort vom »Platz an der Sonne« und das Kaiserwort von der »schimmernden Wehr«. Der blaue Hunderter zeigte in Wahrheit ein Niemandsland: Beschwörung einer sozialen Harmonie der Klassen und Gruppen, die es nicht gab, und Erinnerungen an eine militärische Sicherheit, die längst verloren war."

In English:

"Rarely, there was a bill of money so overloaded with pictures and symbols as the blue hundreds of 1908. On a surface of 207 to 112 millimeters, it contained not only red serial numbers, value and watermarks, but also [...] A political program ... [...] On the whole, this was less art than a tour de force of emblems, expressions of social harmony and military symbolism, which, unlike past money sheets, on which Germania still seemed unarmed, so intrude In the foreground that the viewer could not help remembering the battlefield construction and the encirclement fear, the Chancellor's words of the "place on the sun" and the imperial word of the "shimmering weir." The blue Hundred actually showed a Niemandsland: Social harmony of the classes and groups, that did not exist, and memories of a military security, that had long been lost."

On right side - head of Cerēs.

In ancient Roman religion, Ceres was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. She was originally the central deity in Rome's so-called plebeian or Aventine Triad, then was paired with her daughter Proserpina, in what Romans described as "the Greek rites of Ceres". Her seven-day April festival of Cerealia included the popular Ludi Ceriales (Ceres' games). She was also honoured in the May lustratio of the fields at the Ambarvalia festival, at harvest-time, and during Roman marriages and funeral rites.

Ceres is the only one of Rome's many agricultural deities to be listed among the Dii Consentes, Rome's equivalent to the Twelve Olympians of Greek mythology. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature.

On left side - head of Mercury.

Mercury is a major Roman god, being one of the Dii Consentes within the ancient Roman pantheon. He is the patron god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence (and thus poetry), messages/communication (including divination), travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves; he is also the guide of souls to the underworld. He was considered the son of Maia and Jupiter in Roman mythology. His name is possibly related to the Latin word merx ("merchandise"; cf. merchant, commerce, etc.), mercari (to trade), and merces (wages); another possible connection is the Proto-Indo-European root merĝ- for "boundary, border" (cf. Old English "mearc", Old Norse "mark" and Latin "margō") and Greek οὖρος (by analogy of Arctūrus/Ἀρκτοῦρος), as the "keeper of boundaries," referring to his role as bridge between the upper and lower worlds.[citation needed] In his earliest forms, he appears to have been related to the Etruscan deity Turms; both gods share characteristics with the Greek god Hermes. He is often depicted holding the caduceus in his left hand. Similar to his Greek equivalent (Hermes) he was awarded the caduceus by Apollo who handed him a magic wand, which later turned into the caduceus.

Under both gods are images of an imperial eagle with a turned head, respectively, to the right and to the left.

In the two lower corners there is an inscription: "Wer Banknoten nachmacht oder verfälscht, oder nachgemachte oder verfälschte sich verschafft und in Verkehr bringt, wird mit Zuchthaus nicht unter zwei Jahren bestraft."

In English:

"Anyone who imitates or distorts banknotes, or imitates or falsifies himself and puts them on the market, will be punished in a official house not less than two years."

Against the background of the central field is the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire, under which is a crossed sword and scepter. Below is shown the Globus cruciger (it is very stylized and, in details, does not correspond to the original) and a double symbol of victories: branches, below, on the right - laurel, on the left - oak. Below, the branches are connected by tape with each other.

From the center of the image, where are the crown, Globus cruciger, sword and scepter, emanates 30 rays, which form a kind of halo.

Against this background, in a different font size, is the inscription: "One hundred marks will be paid by the Reichsbank, in Berlin, without showing any identity card, to the bearer of this note. Berlin, April 21, 1910 Reichsbank."

Many thanks to Reinhard Jansen from Germany for the information about the crown.


In 1871 a design and a model for a new state crown were created to reflect the new German Empire. The model was based upon the Crown of the Holy Roman Empire and was kept in the Hohenzollern museum at Schloss Monbijou in Berlin, until it disappeared during World War II. It has never re-surfaced. No final crown was ever made.


However, the design was used as a heraldic device for the German Kaisers from 1871 until Kaiser Wilhelm's abdication in 1918. The crown was most used as an heraldic symbol, in the German coat of arms and the Emperor's personal standard.

A drawing of the crown is used as an emblem by a German monarchist group called "Tradition und Leben" ("tradition and life").

Crowns for the Empress and Crown Prince were also designed and wooden models made.


100 Mark 1909

The main image of the reverse is sitting Germany (female personification of Germany). On her head is the German State Crown and the laurel wreath. She is dressed in a long coronation mantle (with an imperial eagle). The left hand of Germany lies on the shield (also with the imperial eagle), with the other hand it holds the sword, at some distance from itself. As a symbol of national unity, Germany gained special popularity after the German-French war of 1870-1871, when numerous victories were won. Then the sculptures of Germany appeared on military memorials.

In the center of the banknote are two powerful, German oak trees, with wide branches and a powerful root system. The oak, dedicated to the supreme god Donar, was regarded by Germans as a symbol of strength; In the XVIII century he became a symbol of heroism in Germany. Since the beginning of the XIX century, the oak, as well as the laurel, is considered as symbol of victory.

In the foreground, on the left side, is a plow with an iron ploughshare (a symbol of agriculture), an anvil with a sledgehammer (heavy industry), a cogwheel (technical inventions) and cloth rolls (trade), to which is attached a Caduceus of Mercury.

All this carries not a decorative, but a symbolic functions.

Kaiserliche Marine Kaiserliche Marine Kaiserliche Marine

On left side is the Line of battle of German battleships - The High Seas Fleet.

The High Seas Fleet (Hochseeflotte) was the battle fleet of the German Imperial Navy and saw action during the First World War. The formation was created in February 1907, when the Home Fleet (Heimatflotte) was renamed as the High Seas Fleet. Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz was the architect of the fleet; he envisioned a force powerful enough to challenge the Royal Navy's predominance. Kaiser Wilhelm II, the German Emperor, championed the fleet as the instrument by which he would seize overseas possessions and make Germany a global power. By concentrating a powerful battle fleet in the North Sea while the Royal Navy was required to disperse its forces around the British Empire, Tirpitz believed Germany could achieve a balance of force that could seriously damage British naval hegemony. This was the heart of Tirpitz's "Risk Theory," which held that Britain would not challenge Germany if the latter's fleet posed such a significant threat to its own.

At the stern of the leading ship, you can even see the flag of the Imperial Navy.

The Imperial German Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine, "Imperial Navy") was the navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy (from 1867 the North German Federal Navy), which primarily had the mission of coastal defence. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded the navy, and enlarged its mission. The key leader was Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, who greatly expanded the size and quality of the navy, while adopting the sea power theories of American strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan. The result was a naval arms race with Britain as the German navy grew to become one of the greatest maritime forces in the world, second only to the Royal Navy. The German surface navy proved ineffective during World War I; its only major engagement, the Battle of Jutland, was indecisive. However, the submarine fleet was greatly expanded and posed a major threat to the British supply system. The Imperial Navy's main ships were turned over to the Allies, but then were sunk at Scapa Flow in 1919 by German crews.

All ships of the Imperial Navy were designated SMS, for Seiner Majestät Schiff (His Majesty's Ship).

Kaiserliche Marine

I tried to find out - what kind of ship is leading in the Line of battle. This is just my guess, based on the information of those years.

Leading ship of the Line of battle is "SMS Deutschland".

SMS Deutschland (His Majesty's Ship Germany)[a] was the first of five Deutschland-class pre-dreadnought battleships built for the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy). The ship was armed with a main battery of four 28 cm. (11 in.) guns in two twin turrets. She was built at the Germaniawerft shipyard in Kiel, where she was laid down in June 1903 and was launched in November 1904. She was commissioned on 3 August 1906, only a few months before HMS Dreadnought was commissioned, the latter ship, armed with ten large-caliber guns, being the first of a revolutionary new standard of "all-big-gun" battleships that rendered Deutschland and the rest of her class obsolete.

Deutschland served as the flagship of the High Seas Fleet until 1913, when she was transferred to the II Battle Squadron. With the outbreak of World War I in July 1914, she and her sister ships were tasked with defending the mouth of the Elbe and the German Bight from possible British incursions. Deutschland and the other ships of the II Battle Squadron participated in most of the large-scale fleet operations in the first two years of the war, culminating in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May – 1 June 1916. Late on the first day of the battle, Deutschland and the other pre-dreadnoughts briefly engaged several British battlecruisers before retreating.

After the battle, which highlighted the fact that pre-dreadnoughts were too vulnerable in the face of more modern battleships, Deutschland and her three surviving sisters were assigned to coastal defense duties. By 1917, they had been withdrawn from combat service completely, disarmed, and tasked with auxiliary roles. Deutschland was used as a barracks ship in Wilhelmshaven until the end of the war. She was struck from the naval register on 25 January 1920, sold to ship breakers that year, and broken up for scrap by 1922.


Annulled on June 5, 1925.

Banknotes of the first (1908) and second issues (1909) were printed with two red seals, which meant free exchange for gold. Since 1918, after the First World War, the exchange for gold was canceled and green stamps were placed on banknotes.

The Bundesbank notes, that in 1922 they, temporarily and shortly, again printed banknotes with red seals.