A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Currencies from 1784 to 1945

by Peter Lang
Translation by Brad Schwebler

          In the year 1784 the Gulden (guilder) was the means of payment and indeed the guilder was Viennese currency (W.W.) or Austrian currency (÷.W.). In addition it is also noticed that at the time almost all of the larger cities minted their own money.  (The second most well-known guilder was called Rhine currency.)  The guilder currency was subdivided: 1 guilder = 60 Kreuzer (abbreviated kr or x); 1 Kreuzer = 4 Denar (not Dinar).  One guilder corresponds to two thirds Reichstaler.  One Taler = 32 and later 30 Groschen.  The guilder was always worthless from about the year 1796 in connection with the Turkish wars and above all with the Napoleonic wars.  At the time  there were 1,060,798,750 paper guilders in circulation, which in the year 1811 were exchanged for redemption certificates.  One received 250 guilders in redemption certificates for 1250 guilders, and one year later one received anticipation certificates for 100 guilders for the 250 redemption certificates.  So it remained worth at a high of 8 percent of its former worth.  At the same time the wheat price rose about 5 times, so that the actual inflation rate of a money’s worth caused by under 8 percent of the former worth.  The second inflation for the mother community was in 1848/1849 as the rebel government Kossuth issued its own paper money which was worthless after the rebellion was crushed.

          After the Kossuth rebellion the Serbian autonomous region of Vojvodina issued its own money, which after the dissolution of Vojvodina the guilders were exchanged one for one.  The old guilders were exchanged for new Austrian guilders in the year 1857 and the exchange rate was 100 to 105.  The new Austrian Florentiner (n.÷.fl.) no longer contained 60, but 100 Kreuzer.  Four new Austrian florints weighed 3.22 grams, of which 2.90 grams was fine gold.  In December 1968 a gram bar of fine gold cost 5.12 Deutsch Mark so that the gold’s worth of the guilders amounted to 3.712 DM.  The total worth of the guilders was naturally far above that.

          In the year 1900 the guilder currency was changed to Kronen (crown).  The crown was subdivided into 100 Heller.  The name Heller comes from the city Schwńbisch Hall where the Heller (Haller) was formerly minted.  However long after the introduction of the crown the farmers still calculated in guilders in which one simply divided the crown’s worth in half.  The 10 crown piece was the smallest gold money.  It strongly resembled the Heller which is why it was changed slightly so that one could most likely be quickly changed.  The value of the paper money was printed in all languages of the Danube monarchy.  In World War I the gold crown piece was hoarded.  But the paper money did nevertheless keep considerable value.  I could pay for my quarters with 1000 crowns from fall to Christmas 1919.  In November 1919 the gold was stamped and with it 20 percent in the way of an obligatory loan was collected.  This obligatory loan was at no time paid back.  There were Dinars until 1921 which were subdivided into 100 Para.  The exchange rate was 1 Dinar to 4 crowns, although the purchase power of the Dinar was rather worse than the crown.  This conversion from crowns to Dinar as a consequence of World War I brought a loss in the value of the money to a high of 8 percent, namely 100 crowns minus a 20 crowns obligatory loan = 80 crowns, for which one received 20 Dinar.  But the remaining 20 Dinar did not have the purchase power of 20 pre-war crowns.  In addition the following example is provided as an illustration: With 1000 crowns one could pay for the food and quarters for a student:

   in the year 1914 for 1000 days,

   in the year 1917/18 for 500 days,

   in the year 1919 for 120 days,

   in the year 1921 for 36 days. 

   (200 Dinar for 1000 crowns.) – So the dwindling purchase power from 1914 to 1921 let the value of the money fall to about 3.6 percent.

          In the border regions and in Baja, which was possessed by Yugoslavia until 1921, the money of the installed communist republic still turned up under Kun Bela, which was looked at as just the same as the old Kronen money.  One could only recognize it by the new color and by the first digit (7), the serial number.  It was also provided with a forged stamp for the obligatory loan.  The money of the communist council republic in Yugoslavia was naturally worthless.  The “Studenten”, the name given to the students in continuing education school, knew how to help themselves when someone palmed off a “hetes forint” on them.  They spread their gold certificates on the floor in the boarding school and danced for a long time to the sounds of the czardas (organ in the student band), until the money certificates looked ancient and could be brought to the man again.

          In the year 1941 the Dinar were exchanged 1 for 1 in Kuna (for German Marder?), which were named for this reason, because the Croatians in ancient cases of Marder? were used as the means of payment.  The Kuna was subdivided into 100 Banica.  To illustrate the purchase power of this money I would like to mention that for the Christmas celebration of 1941-42 I had to pay 4000 Kuna for an Olympia typewriter and 16,000 Kuna for a Siemens narrow gauge film projector.  As already mentioned I bought these appliances for the school.  For a while during the war the Reichsmark was used as the means of payment.  The official price was 20 Kuna = 1 Reichsmark.  The purchase power of the Kuna quickly grew worse, and the price rose immensely.  In 1943 I had to pay 80,000 Kuna for a cow.  My last monthly salary in November 1944 amounted to 150,000 Kuna.  All people of Beschka who had sold something shortly before they fled had enough money because the Kuna until the end of the war was exchanged at a rate of 20 Kuna to 1 Reichsmark.

[Published at by Jody McKim Pharr, 2005]

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