Payment Systems

The “Payment Systems” collection includes objects that are related to money and the transfer of means of payment. Payments can be made in cash, cheques or cashless. The collection thus features cash, cash substitutes and also objects indirectly used in this context, such as piggy banks, credit cards or coining dies. These objects attest to economic and personal trends in money handling.

Legal Tender

Bank Notes and Coins Issued by a Sovereign State with a Declaration of the Value

Banknote '50 Deutschen Mark', 1948
Legal Tender

Bank Notes and Coins Issued by a Sovereign State with a Declaration of the Value

This section of the collection is made up of money. Those means of payment are considered legal tender that no one can reject as a way to fulfil a monetary claim. In Germany, bank notes denominated in Euro are the only unlimited legal tender, while Euro coins are limited legal tender. The collection includes not only Euros, but also legal tender valid in the past, such as Deutsche Mark (DM), the Communist East German Mark and pfennig coins. There are also commemorative coins and foreign currency relating to German history. Cash in the form of bank notes and coins are used every day and thus reflect Germany’s economic development and in part its social impact.

Legal tender in the object database

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Research staff
Bonn
Prof. Dr. Hanno Sowade
Money Tokens

Emergency Means of Payment in Times of Crisis

Cheque for 10 'Reichspfennige', Stadtkasse Siegburg
Money Tokens

Emergency Means of Payment in Times of Crisis

In times of crisis, money tokens act as substitutes in the absence of legal tender and are primarily issued by cities, districts, local authorities, public associations and private corporations. These unofficial means of payment tend to be coins or notes made of any number of different materials. Debentures and IOUs can also be used in this context. Token money perfectly reflects crises, the need for everyday goods and the deterioration of currencies.

Money tokens in the object database

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Research staff
Bonn
Prof. Dr. Hanno Sowade
Tokens

Vouchers and Food Stamps

Ration card G-A, 1958
Tokens

Vouchers and Food Stamps

Tokens are private substitutes for cash made from base metals or a surrogate (card, plastic, etc.). The tokens may bear the value in the state currency or not have any denominated value. They are swapped for goods or services, but the recipient is not obliged by law to accept them.

Tokens in the object database

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Research staff
Bonn
Prof. Dr. Hanno Sowade
Securities

Stocks and Bonds

Stock: 'Farbenfabriken Bayer AG', 50 DM, 1966
Securities

Stocks and Bonds

A security is the written title to the right to an asset, usually in the form of a title deed. Securities include, for example, stocks, bonds or shares in investment funds. Originally, the bearer had to physically own the deed in order to exercise the right to the asset. Today, formal issue of a deed is no longer always necessary. Securities are ideal for visualizing complex economic processes – such as the participation of small shareholders in a company in the form of so-called people’s shares, or corporate mergers brought about by share swaps.

Securities in the object database

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Research staff
Bonn
Prof. Dr. Hanno Sowade
Means of chashless payment

Cheques and Plastic Cards

Calling card in memory of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Means of chashless payment

Cheques and Plastic Cards

No money changes hands in a cashless payment, as the sums involved are simply booked out and in. The money does not exist physically. Cashless payment instruments include bank transfers and debit notes and increasingly money substitutes such as credit cards and debit cards. Specifically, the increase in such “plastic money” highlights how technological developments have massively changed long-standing everyday habits.

Means of cashless payment in the object database

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Research staff
Bonn
Prof. Dr. Hanno Sowade
Fake Money

Toy Money and Advertising Money

Advertising money of the reservist's association
Fake Money

Toy Money and Advertising Money

The “Fake Money” collection includes copies of means of payment produced for legal uses, such as toy money or bank notes bearing advertising. Such fake money plays with the fact that it looks like real money without trying to be deceptively genuine. This is why it should be distinguished from forgeries of legal means of payment (notes and coins), manufactured for illegal use.

Fake money in the object database

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Research staff
Bonn
Prof. Dr. Hanno Sowade
Items relating to payments

Spardose, Geldbörsen, Kreditkartenleser

Coin bank: 'Deutsche Einheit', 1991
Items relating to payments

Spardose, Geldbörsen, Kreditkartenleser

The collection includes objects indirectly related to payment transactions or means of payment, such as piggy banks, coining dies and bank note sleeves.

Items relating to payments in the object database

Contact
Research staff
Bonn
Prof. Dr. Hanno Sowade