I have four German coins minted by cities in wartime, all dated
1917. I cannot send pictures, but will tell you what is on them:
1. STADTGMEINDE ARZBERG KREIGS-NOTGELD 5
2. STADTGEMEINDE CHAM KRIEGS-NOTMUNZE 10
3. STADTGEMEINDE LAUF 5
4. KRIEGS NOTGELD D.M. GEMEINDE
How can I get some idea of their value?
Though Coin World does not authenticate numismatic items,
the descriptions Mr. Watkins provides leads “Readers Ask” to believe
he may have four German “notgeld” coins. The legends, dates and
denominations are all consistent with these pieces.
Coin number 1 is likely a 5-pfenning piece from the city of
Arzberg in Bavaria and is either composed of zinc or iron.
Coin number 2 is either a zinc or iron 10-pfenning piece from the
Bavarian city of Cham.
Coin number 3 is probably a zinc 5-pfennig coin from Lauf, also a
city in Bavaria.
Coin number 4 could be a 5-, 10- or 50-pfennig piece from Weiler, Bavaria.
“Notgeld” is the German term meaning “emergency money” and refers
to money produced to fill gaps caused by money shortages during and
after World War I. Notgeld can refer to paper money or metallic coins,
and some pieces are even made of cardboard, silk or porcelain.
As opposed to the coins and paper money issued by the Imperial
German government, notgeld was produced by German states,
municipalities, banks, businesses and private individuals.
Notgeld is a specialized niche within the collecting community.
Literally thousands of different pieces can be collected. This is an
advantage for interested collectors, however, as most notgeld remains
very reasonably priced and the collecting challenge never gets old.
A number of helpful guides are available for notgeld, some
illustrated and in English, others not. One helpful illustrated guide
in English is Catalogue of German War Tokens by Robert A. Lamb.
Using the Lamb book, identifying Mr. Watkins’ pieces is a
relatively easy task. The values Lamb provides are from 1974, but the
reference is still potentially useful in judging an item’s relative rarity.
Ultimately, just like U.S. coins, rarity and condition are the key
factors in determining value. Searching for current retail pricing
through print ads, auction and dealer websites or dealer tables at a
coin show will be as good a determinant as any in discovering the
coins’ current market value.
Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins
or other items for examination without prior permission from staff
member Erik Martin. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety
coins. Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be
returned unexamined. Please address all Readers Ask inquiries to email@example.com or call
800-673-8311, Ext. 274.