Germans still hoarding old Deutschmarks, as central bank issues reminder
You can exchange them for legal tender in euros, but Germans still hold deutschmarks. The Bundesbank says the combined stash of notes and coins is worth 6.6 billion euros, 14 years after Europe adopted the euro as cash.
Germany's deutschmark currency (DM), yearned for by some adults but almost unknown amongst children, can still be swapped for euros at the rate fixed back in 2001. Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, reminded hoarders and the forgetful on Friday that they would trade the old currency for genuine cash.
It cited a survey conducted by YouGov in late November, which found that 54 percent of residents in Germany still had banknotes and particularly old coins at home.
The Bundesbank's official rate remains at one euro for 1.95583 DM - the rate of nearly two for one set in 2001 - if notes or coins are brought to the Frankfurt institute or its regional branches. It advises against mailing them.
The deutschmark launched in 1948 under Allied rule in post-war western Germany went on to replace former East Germany's "Ostmark" in 1990, during the year of German reunification.
Its sidelining as a cash and non-cash currency 11 years later is still lamented by euroskeptics. The euro is now used in 19 countries, including Germany as founding member of the euro zone.
Roughly 24 billion individual DM-coins, as small as one pfennig, remain in circulation. That represents about half of all DM coins ever issued, said the Frankfurt-based Bundesbank on Friday.
Those unrecovered included five and ten mark coins minted for commemorative occasions and often held by traders because of their potential to be smelted to extract their silver content. Also, some more rare coins could amass considerably greater values than their exchange rates as collector's items.
Only four percent of DM-banknotes were still in circulation, the Bundesbank added.
The notes had been particularly popular outside Germany: for example, in former Yugoslavia's successor states, five and ten-DM notes had been used in recent years as a "second currency."
In all, the combined value of deutschmarks still in circulation as cash amounted to 6.6 billion euros ($7.2 billion), the bank said.
After Germany's initial late 2001 rush to convert into euros, the figure has declined steadily. In late 2002, Deutschmark cash remnants had a combined value of around 9.4 billion euros....MORE