AUSTRIA, RAAB, 10, 20, 50 heller, 1920, gold ink


AUSTRIA, RAAB, 10, 20, 50 heller, 26.2.1920, Face: 10 heller orange and light orange, 20 heller blue and light blue, each with legend and frame in gold ink, 50 heller gray-brown town view with entire design lightly overlaid with gold ink, Back: legend in black, J805-1e, Unc

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After World War I there was a general shortage of coins and banknotes as things got more and more chaotic. The use of local emergency money (notgeld) was a widespread phenomenon. As the national finances stabilized and people started having disposable income a “notgeld” collecting craze developed in Austria and Germany. Towns made local notes in entertaining artistic series that they were happy to sell to collectors.

For organizational purposes, banknote collectors tend to make a distinction between national issues and local issues. The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money has a volume dedicated to “specialized” issues, where about 20,000 items are listed. A “complete” catalog would likely have at least 10 times that number. The Standard Catalog numbers for “specialized” notes are designated P-S. There are special catalogs for various series such as German and Austrian notgeld, former Soviet Union, etc.

Paper money, meaning the promise of a government to pay a set amount, and the paper promise allowed to circulate at will, was probably first used in China in the 12th century AD. At that time the merchants and governments of Europe were just writing letters to each other about what they owed.