Exactly what it says on the tin. This is clearly a German 10 mark note of some kind, but I can't find pictures online of any notes like it.

German 10 Deutsche Mark note

The reverse is completely blank, with some bleed-through from the "DRINGEND" stamp. The white balance on my camera is rather off, and the note is actually far more yellowish than the photo implies.

So, the question is twofold:

  1. What era is this note from?
  2. What is the meaning of the stamps?
  • 1
    The resolution is too low, but what is the date of the signature?
    – PlasmaHH
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 21:49
  • @plasmahh I honestly couldn't tell you - it's 19**, even under a magnifying glass. The resolution is about the same as the printing quality. Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 21:59
  • At first glance I thought it was Paul Mccartney on the note.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 3:03
  • Why did you reject my edit? The current question title has the problem that it doesn’t give any information about the banknote other than that it’s from Germany. Imagine what happens when there is another question about a German banknote (and another one, and another one …). There should be at least one detail in the title that allows to disambiguate/find/remember. The name (as I suggested in my edit) would be one way, a description of the pictured person another way.
    – unor
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 14:14
  • 2
    @StephanBijzitter: No, because Germany has/had currencies other than "Deutsche Mark" (e.g., "Reichsmark", "Alliierte Militärmark", "Euro" etc.). (And even it only were the "10", it would still be more useful with than without it. Someone using a search engine to find about their banknote then can easily decide just by looking at the title if this question is relevant or not.)
    – unor
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 20:11

3 Answers 3


The design is that of the "sailing ship" 10 Deutsche Mark note, a banknote first issued in 1960. The front features a 16th century painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder. On a real version of the note, the reverse would have depicted a barque of the same type like the German navy sailing ship Gorch Fock, officially meant to represent German openness to the world.

These notes were withdrawn from circulation in 1990.

enter image description here
A sample of the real 10 mark note found on Pinterest via Google

However, in your case the RECHENGELD stamp denotes that it is only play money, used for educational purposes according to @Loong in the comments. Which also explains why the reverse is blank.

  • 9
    Rechengeld is typically used for learning counting and calculating with money (e.g. in school). Play money as in Monopoly would be Spielgeld.
    – user8611
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 14:23
  • 1
    @Loong Ah. Both types are called play money in English, didn't know there's a difference in German, thanks.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 14:49
  • 1
    The colour, checksum and font sizes used for the serial number also give at least one further hint: that this fake was modeled after pre-1975 series. bundesbank.de/resource/blob/599692/… Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 14:14
  • Rechengeld were used in schools for math classes. Today schools can order the Euro versions here: Mein Euro - Spiel- und Rechengeld | Deutsche Bundesbank Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 22:22

This is an addition to Semaphore's answer:

This is the 10 D-Mark note of the third edition of the Deutsche Mark, the Gemäldeserie BBk I (1961) (painting series).

It was designed by the Swiss designer and artist Hermann Eidenbenz who was living in Hamburg, Germany.

It was printed between 1961 and 1990. There are five printing runs which are mentioned under the signature in the lower left corner:

1: 2. Januar 1960 (January 2nd, 1960)
2: 2. Januar 1970 (January 2nd, 1970)
3: 1. Juni 1977 (June 1st, 1977)
4: 2. Januar 1980 (January 2nd, 1980)
5: Change of copyright, no change of date

The red "Rechengeld" stamp means that it is money for children to learn using cash. The blue stamp "Dringend" only means "Urgent", I do not know what purpose it has.

To all anglophones: It is Deutsche Mark, D-Mark or even shorter simply Mark, not Deutschemark or Deutschmark or — simply stop it, ok? Yeah, I know how it is called in English, but it was always grating to German ears.

  • 6
    +1 for teaching me that "Deutschmark" is incorrect and potentially annoying to German ears.
    – IanF1
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 19:30
  • We won the war, we get to call it whatever we like in occupied territory. :p (just kidding, the point that it's two words was worth making). Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 23:25
  • As a math guy I want to ask: Was the next Zehnmarkschein after this the one showing Gauss? (I don't know how to produce an eszet with my keyboard, sorry.) Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 10:32
  • Never mind. The page you linked to explains that the note with Gauss' portrait on a tenner was in use from 1991 on (until the Euro took over I guess). Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 10:38
  • 2
    Getting upset about what (not how) someone else calls your currency seems a bit strange... or are you telling German speakers that the Brits use the pound, and not a "Pfund"?
    – oerkelens
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 16:46

It is evidently a play money banknote that is modeled after the BBk I series in print from 1960–1970 (while the whole design was indeed issued until 1990).


  1. The serial number seems not only to be coloured wrongly, but also has characters all of the same height. This was changed mid-series in 1975: the red numbers would then start with characters which were 0.6 mm larger then the rest.
    (—Source: Deutsche Bundesbank: "Kursfähige Banknoten", January 1986. PDF)

  2. The signatures on display in the question are those of Karl Blessing and Heinrich Troeger (the last using his preferred first name "Doctor", then president and vice-president of the Bundesbank:

    enter image description here

Real banknotes of this kind would have circulated only from 1963 onwards.

Note that I write the bill is modeled after that series. As most wouldn't notice the subtle differences anyway, this actual play-bill in question might also have been printed later.

enter image description here
— Bundesbank 1986, showing the latest signatures, click for large

Which narrows this down to the model used after comparison of possible signatures

02.01.1960 (Blessing / Dr. Troeger):

enter image description here

02.01.1970 (Klasen / Emminger):

enter image description here

01.06.1977 (Emminger / Pöhl):

enter image description here

02.01.1980 (Pöhl / Schlesinger):

enter image description here

A later model of this exact Rechengeld shows the signatures of Klasen/Emminger and a date of 1970, making this based on the model from between 1975–1977:
enter image description here
— Src: Spielgeld DM; although that one has the proper reverse printed as well.

Should anyone be into collecting this stuff:
— Günter Aschoff: "Deutsches Kinderspielgeld: ein numismatisches Randgebiet", Ed. M&S, 2009.

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