The secondary use of playing cards turns them into a valuable source of social documentation. Many examples of repurposed playing cards are known from as far back as the 16th century. In rare instances emergency money (notgeld) was issued on playing cards. During and after the First World War, money, especially small change, was in short supply. In Austria the towns of Reichental and Steyregg issued what we know as spielkarten notgeld and in Germany spielkarten notgeld was issued between 1914 & 1923. See some of them in the scans below.
in Germany, spielkarten notgeld issued between 1914 & 1923 include the towns of Bretleben, Leipzig, Lopischewo, Marienwerder, Roetzenhagen and Stralsund.
In Austria the towns of Steyregg and Reichental issued spielkarten notgeld made of playing cards in around 1920-1921. Others may also exist. Steyregg pieces had face values of either 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80 or 90 heller. They were issued in several different colours with attractive woodcut illustrations.
The notgeld playing card pieces of Reichental were a little different. They had a stampmark on them and an 'auflage' (issue number). Face values were for either 10, 20, 30 or 50 heller. All card suits were represented, with hearts being stamped with the 50 heller value, diamonds with 30, spades with 20 and clubs with the 10 heller value.
The notgeld issues of 1914 tend to be plainer looking than those issued after WWI. In 1914 there was a real 'necessity' for small change money. The later issues also met a need in the collecting market!
Member since February 01, 1996
Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.
Characters from Chekhov’s plays designed by Paolo Fresu for San Paolo Istituto Bancario, Italy, c.19...
A pack of cards depicting characters from the famous play "The Wedding of Krechinsky" by Sukhovo-Kob...
A deck of 55 cards, celebrating the master of mystery, murder and mayhem, Alfred Hitchcock.
Masonic playing cards created by Ivan Wojnikow, 2004.
A celebration of different postal systems in Germany from 1630 to 1850, with designs by Volker Hartm...
Historical playing cards by C. L. Wüst depicting monarchs of Brazil and Portugal.
Mythological tarot by Michael Schatzberger, Passau, Bavaria, early 19th century.
German-suited Cartomancy deck published by Johann Ernst Backofen, Nürnberg.
French-suited Natural History Tarot deck by Joseph Fetscher, Munich, c.1820.
German-suited ‘Heathen War’ playing cards published by Joseph Fetscher, Munich, c.1820.
Mythological and Allegorical tarot produced by Peter Paul Fetscher junior, Munich.
Fantasy French-suited pack produced by Joseph Fetscher, Munich, c.1825.
Uncut sheet of miniature Bavarian playing cards by Joseph Fetscher.
Classic German-suited Bavarian pattern by Joseph Fetscher, Munich, early 19th century.
Trappola pack of 36 double-ended cards published by Anton Herrl, Graz, Austria.
French-suited Animal Tarot deck produced by Andreas Benedict Göbl, Munich.
French-suited Bavarian deck by Andreas Benedict Göbl, late 18th c.
Historical playing cards by Joseph Fetscher, Munich, c.1820.
Bavarian piquet cards with oriental illustrations produced by Andreas Benedict Göbl, Munich, late 18...
‘National Costumes of Turkey’ tarot by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig, c.1800-1825.
French-suited Æsop’s fables tarot produced by Leipzig Industrie Comptoir, c.1800-1825.
Pack featuring six images from the Disney film of the same name, on cards made for Eastern Europe.
Pack conceived by Berthold Conradi, commemorating the 700th anniversary of the granting of town righ...
Dondorf Jägerkarte Nr. 465 playing cards dedicated to the theme of hunting, c.1930.
Katie Abey’s rainbow-coloured designs using crazy animals to convey motivating phrases.
A Pomeranian Tarot deck with etchings by Georg Pommer published by Conrad Jegel, 1852.
Publicity pack for the East German furniture industry, with designs by Werner-Hans Schlegel.
Complete pack of 36 hand-painted and silk-inlaid playing cards with French suits made in Germany.