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50 Pfennig 1921, Tilsit, Germany

Manfred Mehl. Deutsche Serienscheine Number: 1324.1
Years of issue: 12.11.1921
Signatures: Oberbürgermeister: Herr Eldor Pohl (in ofice 1900-1924), Verantwortlichen Vertreter: Herr Ernst Adolf Louis Schroeder
Serie: Notgeld of East Prussia (today Russia)
Specimen of: 12.11.1921
Material: Dirt-resistant cotton paper with Anti Soil Treatment
Size (mm): 93 х 63
Printer: Unknown printer

* 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, Tilsit




On banknote is watermark type Hermann-Stimmgabel.


50 Pfennig 1921, Tilsit


Centered, left, is the building of the Town Hall of Tilsit.

The inscription centered, right: "City Savings Bank will pay to the bearer of this coupon the amount of 50 Pfennig".

In the city Memorandum of 1552 ("Fundation und Privilegium der Stadt Tilsit") the space for the first town hall in Tilsit already was determined, which was in the former "Langen Gasse" (Long Alley), later "Deutsche Straße" (German street). It was built there in 1565. This first building in the city of the Renaissance period, built in half-timbered town hall was demolished in 1752, due to disrepair. At the same place on 05.06.1753, the foundation stone was laid for the new town hall, where a 8x14 inch copper plate engraved with the Latin script (content is not known) was added.

Tilsiters had chosen the day, the cornerstone was laid, with consideration and in the hope of participation in ceremony of the King of Prussia, Frederick the Great, who at this time was holding military maneuvers in Königsberg (Pr.). According to contemporary reports, however, the King was not present at the groundbreaking ceremony of Tilsit Town Hall.

From 1752 to 1755 the town hall of Tilsit was built by the country Baumeister Bergius, from Prussian district government of Gumbinnen. The cost of construction of the town hall were 8023 Thalers.


This new Town Hall building in Baroque style came first in Tilsit, the 32 meters long and 16 meters wide hall and stood with his Baroque tile roof, its high, picturesque staircase and the clock on the tower "Glockkenturm", which bore at the top the Prussian eagle, in stately appearance. This beautiful building was destroyed In World War II, in 1944-1945. As the most significant Baroque architecture group in Tilsit were the town hall with its curved roof and the two corner buildings on Schenkendorfstraße (market square), the "Blaurocksche house" at Deutsche Straße 68 and the "Falk Pharmacy", Deutsche Straße 69. ( ger.)


Centered, on the right side (background) in the coat of arms of Tilsit.

The coat of arms was awarded to city by the Duke Albrecht in 1552.

In the center is the shield of two silver and two black fields. That's is the sign of Hohenzoller family.

also on the coat are water waves (river Memel/Neman as way to Baltic sea) and the fortress in baroque style (in red color).

Long time city used the coat of arms, similar to the image on the picture with a pretty naturalistic image of the fortress: the teeth and a central tower. Escutcheon has a characteristic shape in Baroque style. In 1896 was introduced a variant of the emblem, designed by O. Hupp, in so-called neo-Gothic style, which originally had been the red roofs replaced by blue, and the coat of arms himself was a highly stylized.

The inscription centered, on the right side: "City Savings Bank will pay to the bearer of this coupon the amount of 50 Pfennig".

On the edges of the banknote are the ears of wheat.

Denominations in numerals are in all corners.


50 Pfennig 1921, Tilsit


Centered is Tilsit cheese (Tilsiter). Nearby are two bees or wasps, probably enjoying the taste of cheese:).

The inscription on top: "50 Pfennig gilt der Zettel Heute ist das nur ein Bettel" or in English "50 Pfennig price of this paper, today it worth nothing."

The inscription at the bottom: "Früher gab's dafür man lese: 1 St. Tilsit's fetten käse" or in English "And before you had to read it: it was 1 piece of fat Tilsit cheese".

Tilsit cheese or Tilsiter cheese is a light yellow semi-hard smear-ripened cheese, created in the mid-XIX century by Prussian-Swiss settlers, the Westphal family, from the Emmental valley. The original buildings from the cheese plant still exist in Sovetsk, Russia, formerly Tilsit, on the Neman River in the former German province of East Prussia.

The same ingredients to make the cheese were not available as in their home country and the cheese became colonized by different molds, yeasts, and bacteria in the humid climate. The result was a cheese that was more intense and full flavoured. The settlers named the cheese after Tilsit, the Prussian town in which they had settled.

Tilsiter has a medium-firm texture with irregular holes or cracks. Commercially produced Tilsiter is made from pasteurized cow's milk, ranges from 30 to 60 percent milk fat and has a dark yellow rind. After the main part of its production, the cheese needs to rest for an additional 2 months. Often flavoured with caraway seed and peppercorns, Tilsiter is a complement to hearty brown/rye breads and dark beers. It is a common table cheese, yet versatile. Tilsit can be eaten cubed in salads, melted in sauces, on potatoes, flans, or burgers.

Using the re-imported recipe, Tilsiter has been manufactured in Switzerland since 1893. Swiss Tilsiter is mainly produced in three varieties. A mild version (green label) is made from pasteurized milk, a more strongly flavoured one from fresh, unpasteurized milk (red label), and the yellow-labeled "Rahm-Tilsiter" is produced from pasteurized milk with added cream.

After World War II, when Tilsit and the rest of northern East Prussia became the Soviet Kaliningrad Oblast district, Tilsiter-style cheeses were produced in Switzerland and Germany.

Denominations in numerals are in all corners.


Notgeld (German for "emergency money" or "necessity money") refers to money issued by an institution in a time of economic or political crisis. The issuing institution is usually one without official sanction from the central government. This occurs usually when sufficient state-produced money is not available from the central bank. Most notably, notgeld generally refers to money produced in Germany and Austria during World War I and the Interbellum. Issuing institutions could be a town's savings banks, municipality and private or state-owned firms.

Notgeld was mainly issued in the form of (paper) banknotes. Sometimes other forms were used, as well: coins, leather, silk, linen, postage stamps, aluminium foil, coal, and porcelain; there are also reports of elemental sulfur being used, as well as all sorts of re-used paper and carton material (e.g. playing cards). These pieces made from playing cards are extremely rare and are known as Spielkarten, the German word for "playing card".

Notgeld was a mutually-accepted means of payment in a particular region or locality, but notes could travel widely. Notgeld is different from occupation money that is issued by an occupying army during a war.