The following is a segment from Paul Gilkes' cover feature in the
November Monthly issue of Coin World, dealing with World War
I and the many numismatic collectibles that are related to that war.
On the homefront, soon after the outbreak of World War I,
anti-German sentiment in the United States escalated.
Many cities across the nation held large populations of German
immigrants and citizens of German ancestry.
Many of these same cities had banks chartered with “German” as part
of the registered name. The anti-German sentiment reached such a level
that it began to affect business, and many of these “German” banks
legally changed their names.
One such institution was the German National Bank of Columbus
(Nebraska). Series 1902 national bank notes in Columbus issued from
1902 into 1914 bear the “German” name. Later in 1914, Series 1902
national bank notes for the Columbus institution were introduced
bearing the firm’s new name, the Central National Bank of Columbus.
German medalist and engraver Karl Goetz is recognized as possibly
the most prolific and famous artist who generated war-themed medals
Among his contributions, illustrated on this page, is an example
from among several Christmas medals he executed during the war. The
1918 medal is more reflective of simple relief at the end of the war,
since the war was effectively over a month before Christmas.
The obverse features a trumpeting, winged figure, standing on what
appears to be a helmet, with the German inscription FRIEDE AUF ERDEN,
translating to “Peace on Earth.”
The reverse depicts Christmas greenery on which five burning candles
are placed. The inscription WEINACHT DAHEIM around translates to
English from German as “Christmas at home.”