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20 Mark 1948, East Germany

in Krause book Number: 13b
Years of issue: 24.07.1948
Edition: --
Signatures: no signature
Serie: 1948 Issue
Specimen of: 24.07.1948
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 163 х 83
Printer: VEB Wertpapierdruckerei der DDR, Leipzig

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20 Mark 1948




Stylized flower design in rhombuses.


20 Mark 1948


Denominations in numerals are 6 times repeated, in words centered.


20 Mark 1948


Inscription: "Wer Banknoten nachmacht oder verfälscht oder nachgemachte oder verfälschte sich verschafft und in Verkehr bringt, wird laut Gesetz bestraft".

In English: "Who imitates banknotes or falsified or forged or falsified procures and markets it, will be punished according to the law".

Denominations in numerals are 5 times repeated, in words centered.


The German central bank, the central bank was in the Soviet occupation zone (GDR) from 1948 to 1968. It was founded on July 20, 1948 as a successor of the German emission and clearing bank. In the West Zone and the Federal Republic of Germany, the Bank of German countries from 1957 the Bundesbank took over all tasks.

The seat of the Bank was in East Berlin. The "Law on the German central bank" of 31 October 1951 gave the German central bank the sole right to issue banknotes and to manage the cash transactions of the state budget. The Bank was understanding as a non-independent institution, but supervised by the Ministry of Finance.

A number of financial institutions at the country level have been integrated into the German central bank. For example, the Saxon State Bank and the Issuing Bank of Saxony in 1950 were incorporated into the German central bank.

On 1 January 1968, the German central bank was renamed in State Bank of the GDR.

Legal basis for the work of the German central bank was the "Law regarding the German central bank" from October 31, 1951.

The Presidents of the German central bank:

Willy Huhn (1948–1950)

Greta Kuckhoff (1950–1958)

Martin Schmidt (1958–1961)

Rolf Wetzel (1961–1964)

Helmut Dietrich (1964–1967)

Margarete Wittkowski (1967)

On 18 June 1948 a currency reform was announced for the western zones. Subsequently on 20 June 1948, the Reichsmark and the Rentenmark were abolished in the western occupation zones and replaced with the Deutsche Mark issued by the Bank deutscher Länder (later the Deutsche Bundesbank). Because the Reichsmark was still legal tender in the Soviet occupation zone, the currency flooded into the east from the west, where it was worthless. This caused sudden inflation, which caused privately held cash in the Soviet zone to become worthless overnight. As an emergency measure, many thousands of employees in the district offices started to affix adhesive coupons to those Reichsmark and Rentenmark banknotes for which the owners could prove their origin, up to a limit of 70 Reichsmark per person. Only such banknotes could be exchanged when the Deutsche Notenbank (the East German counterpart of the Bundesbank) issued the new Deutsche Mark with the subsequent currency reform.

Although the Soviets expressed on 19 June 1948 their surprise about the western currency reform, the German Economic Commission, per consultation with the Soviet Military Administration had already made preparations for this case. The adhesive coupons had already been printed and, with logistic assistance by the Soviets, distributed among the district offices. First affixings of the coupons started immediately, already on 19 June 1948. On 23 June 1948, the official starting day of the action, a considerable store of primed banknotes was already available. This enabled to reduce waiting times and to accelerate the process by exchanging these notes for unprimed banknotes.".

On 24 July 1948, a completely new series of banknotes were issued. It maintained the official name Deutsche Mark von der Deutschen Notenbank until 1964, but it was known, especially in the west, as the Ostmark, or East Mark.