120 x 60 mm (4-11/16” x 2-3/8”)
HISTORY: At the close of World War II, Germany was divided among its conquerors: the British, French, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Many of the economic controls were removed by the Allies, and Germany was not allowed to issue new currency. However, acting against orders, the Deutsche Mark was introduced on Sunday, June 20, 1948, by Ludwig Erhard (1897–1977), who became Germany’s Chancellor from 1963 to 1966. He did this to help protect West Germany from a second wave of hyperinflation. It gets much more interesting from here, leading shortly to the icy standoff between the Allies and the Soviet Union during the Berlin Blockade. This 5-mark banknote helped create quite a turn in history.
OBVERSE: A shadowed “5” at the center is surrounded by a roiling abstract of waves out of which the pagan goddess Europa, holding a rising sun, rides a bull (a transformed Zeus). He then plunges her into the sea and rapes her. Beneath the “5” is the word “Fünf” followed by “BANK DEUTSCHER LANDER FRANKFURT A.MAIN 9.12.1948.” A signature is at the bottom of the banknote, and a watermark is at left center.
REVERSE: Dynamic graphic of a swirling sea with a shadowed “5” at its center dominates the reverse of this banknote. Another “5” is decorated at the bottom right, above which is a watermark.