The mark was a currency or unit of account in many states. It is named for the mark unit of weight. The word mark comes from a merging of three Teutonic/Germanic words, Latinised in 9th-century post-classical Latin as marca, marcha, marha or marcus. It was a measure of weight mainly for gold and silver, commonly used throughout Europe and often equivalent to 8 troy ounces (250 g). Considerable variations, however, occurred throughout the Middle Ages.
As of 2022, the only circulating currency named "mark" is the Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark.
"Mark" can refer
In England the "mark" never appeared as a coin but was only a unit of account. It was apparently introduced in the 10th century by the Danes.According to 19th-century sources, it was initially equivalent to 100 pence, but after the Norman Conquest (1066), it was worth 160 pence (13 shillings and 4 pence), two-thirds of a pound sterling.
In Scotland, the merk Scots was a silver coin of that value, issued first in 1570 and afterwards in 1663.
Originally, Mark denoted a mass unit of approximately 234 g (8.3 oz). The mark used in the market of Cologne (Cologne mark: 233.856 g, 8.2490 oz) was used to define the value of the official gold and silver currencies of the Holy Roman Empire including the Reichsthaler silver coin. In 1566, a Reichsthaler was introduced of which 9 were to be minted from a Cologne mark of fine silver.
In northern Germany (especially Hamburg and Lübeck) as well as in much of trade in the Baltic region, the customary unit of account was the mark valued at 1⁄3 of a Reichsthaler. Marks were rarely minted, though. Instead, schilling coins were minted with 48 schillings representing one Reichsthaler; i.e. 16 schillings equaled one mark.
In an attempt to prevent debasement of the currency by the influx of adulterated coins, the Hamburger Bank was founded in 1619. It was modeled after the example of the Bank of Amsterdam. Both these banks established a stable money of account. The Hamburg unit of account was the mark banco. It was credited in exchange for the sale of bullion or by way of credit against collateral. No coins or banknotes were issued, but accounts were opened showing a credit balance. The account holders could use their credit balances by remittances to other accounts or by drawing bills of exchange against them. These bills circulated and could be transferred by endorsement, and were accepted as payment. They could also be redeemed. This currency proved to be very stable.
Following German unification in 1871, the country adopted the German gold mark (officially known just as the "mark") as its currency in 1873. The name was taken from the mark banco. Initially, the coins and banknotes of the various predecessor currencies, such as the thaler , the kreuzer , and the guilder, continued to circulate, and were treated as fixed multiples of the new unit of account, similarly to the introduction period of the euro between 1999 and 2002. Coins denominated in gold marks were first issued in 1871, and gradually replaced the old coins. The mark banco was converted into the new gold mark at par. The Bank of Hamburg was incorporated as the Hamburg subsidiary into the newly founded Reichsbank (established 1876), issuing banknotes denominated in gold marks.
In 1914, the Reichsbank stopped demanding first-class collateral (e.g. good bills of exchange, covered bonds such as Pfandbriefe) when providing credit to borrowers. The gold mark became a weak currency, colloquially referred to as the paper mark (Papiermark), in order to finance the war effort. In 1918, the pre-war sound money policy was not re-established, and the continuing loose money policy resulted in inflation, and in 1923, in hyperinflation.
In late 1923, when the paper mark had become virtually worthless, it was replaced by a new currency, the Rentenmark (worth 1 trillionPapiermark). The new currency was issued by the newly established Rentenbank as credit to borrowers, but requiring collateral in the form of first-class claims to real estate.
In 1924, the Reichsbank stopped providing unrestricted credit against worthless financial bills, and pegged its new currency, the Reichsmark , to the stable Rentenmark. The Reichsbank rationed its lending, so that the Reichsmark remained at par with the stable Rentenmark. The currencies continued to exist in parallel, and were both abbreviated RM.
The original intention was to withdraw the Rentenmark by 1934, but the National Socialist government decided to continue to use the Rentenmark, which enjoyed a considerable trust due to its stability. Nevertheless, the National Socialist government deliberately overissued both currencies to finance infrastructure investments by the state, and expanded government employment and expenditure on items such as armaments. By 1935, laws limiting increases of prices, wages, and rents were needed to suppress inflation. Enormous extra taxes, charged on real estate owners (RM 1 bn in 1936), and on the occasion of the anti-Semitic November Pogrom ( Kristallnacht ), on Jewish Germans (RM 1 bn in 1938), could not stabilise the economy for long. The start of World War II was used to justify general price controls and rationing. Thus inflation was officially hidden, and was expressed as ever-growing aggregate savings of the population, which could only spend its earnings on limited rations of goods at artificially low prices. However, inflation could clearly be seen in the rising prices on the black market. During the war, the German economy was supported by war booty taken from occupied countries, continuing to some extent until 1944. By the end of the war, the oversupply of banknotes and coins (RM 3.9 bn in 1933, RM 60 bn in 1945) became obvious, openly showing up in inflated black market prices.
From 1944, the Allies printed occupation marks (also called military marks), decreeing that these were to be accepted at par with the Rentenmark and the Reichsmark. Banknotes worth 15 to 18 bn military marks were issued for purchases by the occupying forces in Germany, and for soldiers' wages. In June 1948, military marks were demonetised as part of the West German and East German currency reforms.
In June 1947, the French occupying force in the Saar Protectorate introduced the Saar mark, which was at par with the Rentenmark and the Reichsmark. In November 1947, it was replaced by the Saar franc.
On 21 June 1948, the Deutsche Mark (German mark) was introduced by the Bank deutscher Länder in the western zones of occupation in Germany, which then formed West Germany.
On 23 June 1948, the Deutsche Emissions- und Girobank ("German bank of issue and giro centre") of the Soviet occupation zone (which later formed East Germany) followed suit, issuing its own Deutsche Mark (colloquially referred to as the East German mark or Ostmark), later officially called Mark der Deutschen Notenbank (1964–1967) and then Mark der DDR (1968–1990). It was replaced by the (West) German mark when Germany was reunified in 1990.
The German mark was replaced by the euro, first as an accounting currency on 1 January 1999, at a conversion rate of 1.95583 marks per euro. Thereafter, the mark-denominated notes and coins represented the euro at that conversion rate, and remained legal tender until 1 January 2002, when they were replaced by euro notes and coins.
Germany mints its own German euro coins, but all euro coins are legal tender throughout the Eurozone.
The remaining convertible mark of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a currency that officially replaced the German mark as de facto currency of the ruptured economy and hyper-inflation of local divided currencies after the Bosnian war, pegged to the German mark 1:1 at the time, and further pegged to Euro at the rate at which German mark was replaced, i.e. 1 EUR = 1.95583 BAM.
A thaler is one of the large silver coins minted in the states and territories of the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg monarchy during the Early Modern period. A thaler size silver coin has a diameter of about 40 mm and a weight of about 25 to 30 grams. The word is shortened from Joachimsthaler, the original thaler coin minted in Joachimstal, Bohemia, from 1518.
The złoty is the official currency and legal tender of Poland. It is subdivided into 100 grosz (gr). The widely recognised English form of the currency name is the Polish zloty. It is the most traded currency in Central and Eastern Europe and ranks 22nd in the foreign exchange market.
The Deutsche Mark, abbreviated "DM" or "D-Mark", was the official currency of West Germany from 1948 until 1990 and later the unified Germany from 1990 until the adoption of the euro in 2002. In English, it was typically called the "Deutschmark". One Deutsche Mark was divided into 100 pfennigs.
The svenska riksdaler was the name of a Swedish coin first minted in 1604. Between 1777 and 1873, it was the currency of Sweden. The daler, like the dollar, was named after the German Thaler. The similarly named Reichsthaler, rijksdaalder, and rigsdaler were used in Germany and Austria-Hungary, the Netherlands, and Denmark-Norway, respectively. Riksdaler is still used as a colloquial term for Sweden's modern-day currency.
The East German mark, commonly called the eastern mark in West Germany and after reunification), in East Germany only Mark, was the currency of the German Democratic Republic. Its ISO 4217 currency code was DDM. The currency was known officially as the Deutsche Mark from 1948 to 1964, Mark der Deutschen Notenbank from 1964 to 1967, and from 1968 to 1990 as the Mark der DDR. The mark (M) was divided into 100 Pfennig (pf).
The franc, also commonly distinguished as the French franc (FF), was a currency of France. Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money. It was reintroduced in 1795. After two centuries of inflation, it was redenominated in 1960, with each new franc (NF) being worth 100 old francs. The NF designation was continued for a few years before the currency returned to being simply the franc. Many French residents, though, continued to quote prices of especially expensive items in terms of the old franc, up to and even after the introduction of the euro in 2002. The French franc was a commonly held international reserve currency of reference in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Reichsmark was the currency of Germany from 1924 until 20 June 1948 in West Germany, where it was replaced with the Deutsche Mark, and until 23 June 1948 in East Germany, where it was replaced by the East German mark. The Reichsmark was subdivided into 100 Reichspfennigs. The Mark is an ancient Germanic weight measure, traditionally a half pound, later used for several coins; whereas Reich, comes from the official name for the German state from 1871 to 1945, Deutsches Reich.
The Papiermark was the German currency from 4 August 1914 when the link between the Goldmark and gold was abandoned, due to the outbreak of World War I. In particular, the Papiermark was the currency issued during the hyperinflation in Germany of 1922 and 1923.
The Reichsbank was the central bank of the German Reich from 1876 until 1945.
The Rentenmark was a currency issued on 15 November 1923 to stop the hyperinflation of 1922 and 1923 in Weimar Germany, after the previously used "paper" Mark had become almost worthless. It was subdivided into 100 Rentenpfennig and was replaced in 1924 by the Reichsmark.
The German mark was the currency of the German Empire, which spanned from 1871 to 1918. The mark was paired with the minor unit of the pfennig (₰); 100 pfennigs were equivalent to 1 mark. The mark was on the gold standard from 1871–1914, but like most nations during World War I, the German Empire removed the gold backing in August 1914, and gold and silver coins ceased to circulate.
The Reichsthaler, or more specifically the Reichsthaler specie, was a standard thaler silver coin introduced by the Holy Roman Empire in 1566 for use in all German states, minted in various versions for the next 300 years, and containing 25–26 grams fine silver.
The guilder or florin was the currency of the Netherlands from the 15th century until 2002, when it was replaced by the euro.
The florin was the currency of the lands of the House of Habsburg between 1754 and 1892, when it was replaced by the crown as part of the introduction of the gold standard. In Austria, the florin was initially divided into 60 kreutzers. The currency was decimalized in 1857, using the same names for the unit and subunit.
The Hamburg Mark refers to two distinct currencies issued in the city of Hamburg until 1875:
This is a description of the current and historical currencies of Croatia, or historically used in the region. The currency of Croatia is the kuna, in use since 1994.
The Hamburger Bank was a public credit institution founded in 1619 by the Free City of Hamburg. It operated independently until 31 December 1875, when it became part of the newly created Reichsbank.
The schilling was the name of a coin in various historical European states and which gave its name to the English shilling. The schilling was a former currency in many of the German-speaking states of the Holy Roman Empire, including the Hanseatic city states of Hamburg and Lübeck, the March of Brandenburg, and the Duchies of Bavaria, Mecklenburg, and Württemberg. It was also used in Switzerland and in Austria, where silver schillings were introduced as recently as 1923.
On the founding of the German Empire in 1871, trade and transport was hampered by the existence of eight different currency systems across the various member states of the Empire. There were eight state currencies whose coins included the Thaler, Vereinsthaler, Konventionsthaler, Kreuzer, Heller, Groschen, Silbergroschen, Neugroschen, Gulden, Konventionsgulden, Schilling, Mark, Pfennig, Neu-Pfennig, Franc, Centime, Bremen Goldthaler, Groten, Schwaren, Prussian or Graumann Reichsthaler, Kurantthaler and Friedrich d'Or, which were all based on different gold and silver standards, making trade more difficult.