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50 Pfennig 1921, Königsberg, Germany

Manfred Mehl. Deutsche Serienscheine Number: 723.1
Years of issue: 23.05.1921 - 31.12.1922
Signatures: Unknown signature
Serie: Notgeld of East Prussia (today Russia)
Specimen of: 23.05.1921
Material: Dirt-resistant cotton paper with Anti Soil Treatment
Size (mm): 100 х 65
Printer: E, Günther, Gera, R.

* 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.

50 Pfennig 1921, Königsberg




50 Pfennig 1921, Königsberg

Gutschein (the gift certificate) for 50 Pfennig from the firm "Markenhaus des Ostens, Eluka GmbH", based in Königsberg in Preußen (Königsberg). This firm was engaged, according to the inscription on the reverse, in trade of postal stamps and various Notgeld (temporary German money issued in inflation time, in 1920-1923).

Königsberg (until 1946 officially: Königsberg in Preußen) was a city in the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights, the Duchy of Prussia, the Kingdom of Prussia and Germany until 1946. After being largely destroyed in World War II and annexed by the Soviet Union thereafter, the former city was renamed Kaliningrad, and few traces of the former Königsberg remain today.

The literal meaning of Königsberg is "King's Mountain". In the local Low German dialect, spoken by many of its German former inhabitants, the name was Königsbarg. Further names included Russian "Кёнигсберг" Old Prussian: Kunnegsgarbs, Knigsberg, Lithuanian: Karaliaučius, Polish: Królewiec, and the modern Russian and current official name, Kaliningrad.

Königsberg was founded in 1255 on the site of the ancient Old Prussian settlement Twangste by the Teutonic Knights during the Northern Crusades, and was named in honour of King Ottokar II of Bohemia. A Baltic port, the city successively became the capital of their monastic state, the Duchy of Prussia (1525-1701) and East Prussia (until 1945). Königsberg remained the coronation city of the Prussian monarchy though the capital was moved to Berlin in 1701. It was the easternmost large city in Germany until it was captured by the Soviet Union on 9 April 1945, near the end of World War II.

A university city, home of the Albertina University (founded in 1544), Königsberg developed into an important German intellectual and cultural centre, being the residence of Simon Dach, Immanuel Kant, Käthe Kollwitz, E. T. A. Hoffmann, David Hilbert, Agnes Miegel, Hannah Arendt, Michael Wieck and others.

Between the thirteenth and the twentieth centuries, the inhabitants spoke predominantly German, but the multicultural city also had a profound influence on the Lithuanian and Polish cultures. The city was a publishing centre of Lutheran literature, including the first Polish translation of the New Testament, printed in the city in 1551, the first book in Lithuanian language and the first Lutheran catechism, both printed in Königsberg in 1547. Under Nazi rule, the Polish and Jewish minorities were classified as Untermensch and persecuted by the authorities. The city housed thousands of interned people of the Jewish faith who were forced to undertake tasks under the most deplorable conditions during the Second World War.

By the end of the war, Königsberg was heavily damaged by Allied bombing in 1944 and during its siege in 1945. The city was captured and annexed by the Soviet Union. Its German population was expelled, and the city was repopulated with Russians and others from the Soviet Union. Briefly Russified as Kyonigsberg (Кёнигсберг), it was renamed "Kaliningrad" in 1946 in honour of Soviet leader Mikhail Kalinin. It is now the capital of Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast, an area completely cut off by land from the rest of Russia.

Now about the pictures in the upper corners:

The figure to the left, top, shows a rooster pecking worm and crying sun. The figure on the right, respectively, laughing sun (joyful) and worm crawls from a rooster.

The text under the pictures are written in Plattdeutsch (Low German), which is very different from High German, which officially says the whole country.

The basis of a popular phrase was taken in East Prussia saying that I found in an old German book "Ostpreussische Sprichwörter. Redewendungen - Weisheiten (Proverbs of East Prussians - Wisdoms).

The original proverb sounds so: "Dat ös en Äwergang, säd die Hoahn tom Regenworm on freet em op" or in English ("It's just a jump to the other side, said the rooster to earthworm and ate it").

On banknote, the inscription under top left picture saying so: "Nur keine Angst nich seggt de Hoahn tom Regenworm und frätt em gierig opp" or in English "Do not be afraid, said the rooster to the worm and greedily devoured it."

The inscription under top right picture saying so: "Bange machen gilt nich, seggt de Regenworm und kröppt hinde wedder rut" or in English "I am not afraid, said worm to rooster and crawled out through rooster's ass".

I was looking for a clue, that prompted Mr. Krause portray these pictures on this gift certificate. Regarding this picture is very hard to find something in web, but that's what I was able to relate to the meaning by some scattered facts - this is only my assumption!

Then Europe was excited by consequences of recently ended First World War. Germany have lost this war and that, by itself, bothered all, politically active, German population.

This political cartoon (on this gift crtificate) shows Gallic rooster (or France). Cartoonists often represented France in the form of a rooster, alluding to the enthusiasm, allegedly a French national trait.

The worm (a little self-criticism, but also is the meaning behind it) - is Germany. As soon realize, that the worm means Germany, is quite heavily, the artist depicted near the worm a little letter D. (Deutschland - Germany).

That rooster (France in particular) "did nasty things" to Germany - there were no doubts. Germany ceased to be a monarchy, it was reduced territorially and economically weakened by Treaty of Versailles (reparations, etc..). And, of course, moved its national humiliation spawned revanchist sentiments, that have become a prerequisite for coming the Nazis to power and World War II. Among other things, that Memelland (Lithuania Minor) was annexed, which Germany has always considered its own territory, and in this case, France has played an important role.

So, the picture on the left makes an allusion to the fact that "we will not disappear and will unscrew from this unhappiness again". On this occasion, the sun (symbolizing the German society) on left is weeping, and on the right is happy.

Now about inscriptions in lower corners.

Below, on the left shield, is an inscription: "Nehmt hin nehmt hin den ganzen plunder und saugt euch satt am letzten blut" or in English "Take out the whole plunder and sucks all from you, tired, till the last drop of blood".

Below, on the right shield, is an inscription: "uns bleibt das letz - te grosse wunder der deutsche geist die heil'ge gut" or in English "We left the last - a great miracle - the German spirit, which is well heals wounds".

At the bottom is an inscription in German: "This gift certificate will be accepted by us or in our branches till December 31, 1922".

Denomination is centered.


50 Pfennig 1921, Königsberg


Top, centered, is the coat of arms of Königsberg in Preußen (this version without eagle of Prussia).

The historical coat of arms shows three Konigsberg, formerly independent district - Old Town (Altstadt), Löbenicht and Kneiphof, united under the Prussian eagle. This version of the coat of arms were, in 1724, adopted by Frederick William I as a seal, and in 1906 it was declared as the emblem by the city magistrate.

On top of it is the main royal crown of Prussia.

In the middle is the coat of Old Town (Altstadt): on a silver background red crown, lower in red field (bared) - a silver cross;

On the right side is the coat of arms of the former city Löbenicht: between the two white six-pointed stars (on a blue background) - a golden crown;

On the left side, the coat of arms of the former city Kneiphof: On green background from sea water rises hand with a golden crown (hands sleeve is made in sea color). On both sides of the hand are two gold bugles (horns).


In the left medallion is the Königsberg Castle.

The Königsberg Castle (German: Königsberger Schloss, Russian: Кёнигсбергский замок) was a castle in Königsberg, Germany (since 1946 Kaliningrad, Russia), and was one of the landmarks of the East Prussian capital Königsberg.

The site of the castle was originally an Old Prussian fort known as Tuwangste near the Pregel River at an important waypoint in Prussian territory. Nearby were three Prussian villages, later known as Löbenicht, Sackheim, and Tragheim. After conquering the area in 1255, the Teutonic Knights constructed a provisionary wooden and earthworks fort in place of the Prussian one. By 1257 a new stone Ordensburg castle was being constructed. The castle was greatly enlarged and refortified in several stages during the XVI to XVIII centuries.

The fortress, later designated a castle, was the residence of the Grandmasters of the Teutonic Order and later residence for Prussian rulers.

The 1815 Encyclopaedia Britannica refers to "the magnificent palace in which is a hall 83.5 m. long and 18 m. broad without pillars to support it, and a handsome library. The gothic tower of the castle is very high (100 m.) and has 284 steps to the top, from where a great distance can be seen". This extensive building, enclosed in a large quadrangle and situated almost in the center of the city, was formerly a seat of the Teutonic Order. It was altered and enlarged from the XVI to XVIII centuries. The west wing contained the Schloßkirche, or palace church, where Frederick I was crowned in 1701 and William I in 1861. The arms emblazoned upon the walls and columns were those of members of the Order of the Black Eagle. Above the church was the 83 m. long and 18 m. high Moscowiter-Saal, one of the largest halls in the German Reich.

Until the latter part of World War II, the apartments of the Hohenzollerns and the Prussia Museum (north wing, German: Prussia-Sammlung) were open to the public daily. Among other things, the museum accommodated 240,000 exhibits of the Prussian collection, a collection of the Königsberg State and University Library, as well as many paintings by the artist Lovis Corinth. In 1926 Friedrich Lahrs led an excavation of the castle courtyard. During World War II, various pieces of captured Russian art were stored there, possibly including parts of the Amber Room. An extensive collection of provincial archives was also housed there. Also the Blutgericht, a wine selling tavern, was situated within the castle. An image of Hans von Sagan was used as the castle's weathervane.

Following the bombing of Königsberg by the Royal Air Force in the Second World War in 1944, the castle completely burnt down. However, the thick walls were able to withstand both the aerial bombing and Soviet artillery, as well as urban fighting in April 1945, allowing the ruins of the castle to stay standing. The largely demolished Königsberg became part of the Soviet Union and was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946.

Kaliningrad was to be rebuilt as a model town on the remains of Königsberg, without reminders of the German past left standing. Leonid Brezhnev consequently ordered that the remains of the castle be disposed of so they would no longer stand as a reminder of "Prussian militarism." Despite protests from students and intellectuals from Kaliningrad, the ruins of the castle were blown up on Brezhnev's personal orders in 1968.


In the right medallion is the Königsberg Cathedral.

Königsberg Cathedral (German: Königsberger Dom; Russian: Кафедральный собор Кёнигсберга) is a Brick Gothic-style cathedral in Kaliningrad, Russia, formerly Königsberg, Germany. The cathedral is dedicated to Virgin Mary and St Adalbert. It is located on Kant Island, formerly Kneiphof, in the Pregel (Pregolya) River. Königsberg was the capital of East Prussia from the Late Middle Ages until 1945, and the easternmost large German city until it was conquered by the Soviet Union near the end of World War II. In 1946 the city was renamed Kaliningrad.

The cathedral was built to replace a smaller cathedral, after Johann Clare, bishop of Samland, insisted on the construction of a bigger building. The smaller cathedral, situated in Altstadt, was subsequently demolished and materials from it were used to build the new cathedral on Kneiphof.

Koenigsberg Koenigsberg

The construction of the cathedral on Kneiphof is considered to have begun in 1333. The soil on which the cathedral was built was marshy, and so hundreds of oak poles were put into the ground before the construction of the cathedral could begin. After the relatively short period of almost 50 years, the cathedral was largely completed by 1380. Work on the interior frescoes lasted until the end of 14th century.

The choir contained murals from the XIV and XV centuries, late Gothic wood carvings, and medieval monuments in the Renaissance style, the chief of which was a statue of Albert, Duke of Prussia, carved by Cornelis Floris de Vriendt in 1570.

The cathedral originally had two spires. The spires (one north and one south) overlooked the entrance (west side) of the cathedral. In 1544 the two spires were destroyed by fire. The south spire was rebuilt, but the north spire was replaced by a simple gable roof. In 1640 a clock was built underneath the rebuilt spire, and from 1650 the famous Wallenrodt Library, donated by Martin von Wallenrodt, was situated underneath the gable roof.

In 1695, an organ was installed in the cathedral. In the 19th century, the organ was restored and then renewed.


On 27 September 1523, Johann Briesmann gave the first Lutheran sermon in the cathedral. From then on, until 1945, the cathedral remained Protestant.

Albert, Duke of Prussia, and some of his relatives, as well as other dignitaries, were buried in the cathedral.

In late August 1944, British bombers carried out two night raids on Königsberg. The first raid, on 26/27 August, largely missed the city, but the second raid, on 29/30, destroyed most of the old part of Königsberg (including Kneiphof), and the cathedral was hit. Amongst many others in the city, about a hundred people, mostly children, who had gathered inside the part of the cathedral directly underneath the spire to find safety from the air raid, were killed.

After the war, the cathedral remained a burnt-out shell and Kneiphof was made into a park with no other buildings. Before the war, Kneiphof had many buildings. One of the buildings was the first Albertina University building, where Immanuel Kant taught, which was situated next to the east side of the cathedral.

Koenigsberg Koenigsberg

Shortly after Kaliningrad was opened to foreigners in the early 1990s, work began to reconstruct the cathedral. In 1994 a new spire was put in place using a helicopter. In 1995 a new clock was put in place. The clock has four bells (1,180 kg, 700 kg, 500 kg & 200 kg), all cast in 1995. The clock chimes every quarter of an hour. On the hour, the clock chimes by playing the first notes of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, followed by monotonic chiming to indicate the hour. Between 1996 and 1998, work was done to construct the roof. Work was also done to put in stained glass windows.

One problem during the reconstruction was the subsidence of the cathedral which had happened over time. Even during German times, the subsidence had been evident.

Today, the cathedral has two chapels, one Lutheran, the other Russian Orthodox, as well as a museum. The Lutheran chapel is where the people under the spire died during the second air raid of August 1944. The cathedral is also used for concerts.

The tomb of the philosopher Immanuel Kant, the "Sage of Königsberg", is today in a mausoleum adjoining the northeast corner of the cathedral. The mausoleum was constructed by the architect Friedrich Lahrs and was finished in 1924 in time for the bicentenary of Kant's birth. Originally, Kant was buried inside the cathedral, but in 1880 his remains were moved outside and placed in a neo-Gothic chapel adjoining the northeast corner of the cathedral. Over the years, the chapel became dilapidated before it was demolished to make way for the mausoleum, which was built on the same spot, where it is today.

Denominations are in lower corners.


Designer: Max Krause. He also signed up on this Gutschein, lower (on left side).

There are 4 types of these 50 Pfennig Gift certificates existt. They all made just in different color.

From August 1984 to September 1991 I lived in the city of Kaliningrad (Russia). In the spring of 1987, I lived just 400-meters away from the Cathedral, on the Island (so today called today by people of Kaliningrad former German Kneiphof), on the Oktyabrskaja street. I saw the cathedral in ruins in the 1980s and then at the beginning of the recovery - in winter 1997, when visited Kaliningrad. And later, in its current form, in 2008, 2014 and 2018.