Which currency did Germany use in the year 1890?

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By Christine Hitt

Germany has a rich history when it comes to currency. Like many European nations, it has experienced a range of monetary systems, from using gold and silver coins to paper banknotes backed by precious metals. In the year 1890, Germany was a major economic power, and its currency of choice was the German mark. This article will explore the history of the German mark and the economic and political factors that influenced its use during this period.

The German Mark

The German mark, or the Deutsche Mark, was the official currency of Germany from 1871 until 2002. It was introduced as part of the unification of the German Empire, and it replaced over 30 regional currencies that had been in use prior to unification. The mark was divided into 100 pfennigs, and it was made of gold, silver, and other metals. Initially, the mark was backed by a currency reserve of gold and silver, but this changed over time as Germany’s economic and political circumstances evolved.

The Gold Standard

During the late 19th century, many countries, including Germany, adopted the gold standard for their currencies. This meant that the value of the currency was pegged to the price of gold, and it could be exchanged for a fixed amount of gold. This system was designed to promote stability and confidence in the monetary system, but it also had its drawbacks. For example, countries had to maintain large reserves of gold to back their currencies, which limited their ability to expand the money supply and invest in other areas of the economy.

The German Empire

In 1890, Germany was a rapidly growing empire that was focused on expanding its political and economic influence. The country had a strong central government and a well-developed industrial sector, which made it a major player in international trade. The German Empire was also in the midst of a large military build-up, which required significant resources and investment.

Economic Situation

The economic situation in Germany during the late 19th century was generally stable and prosperous. The country was experiencing strong industrial growth, which was fueled by advances in technology and manufacturing. However, there were also some challenges, such as inflation and labor unrest, which were caused by a shortage of workers and rising production costs.

Monetary System

Germany’s monetary system in 1890 was based on the gold standard, which meant that the value of the mark was linked to the price of gold. The country had a large reserve of gold, which helped to support the currency and promote confidence in the monetary system. However, the use of the gold standard also meant that the government had limited flexibility when it came to managing the money supply and responding to economic changes.

Bank Notes

In addition to coins, Germany also had a system of paper banknotes in circulation in 1890. These banknotes were issued by the Reichsbank, which was the central bank of Germany at the time. The banknotes were backed by gold and silver, and they were accepted as legal tender throughout the country.

Coins in Circulation

In 1890, Germany had a wide range of coins in circulation, including gold, silver, and copper coins. The most common coins were the gold 10-mark coin and the silver 5-mark coin. There were also smaller denominations of silver and copper coins, which were used for everyday transactions.

International Trade

Germany was a major player in international trade during this period. The country had a strong export sector, which included manufactured goods such as machinery, textiles, and chemicals. Germany also imported a range of goods, including raw materials and food products. The use of the gold standard helped to facilitate international trade by providing a stable currency that was widely accepted by other countries.

The Deutsche Bank

The Deutsche Bank was one of the largest banks in Germany in 1890. It was founded in 1870 and was originally focused on providing financing for industrial projects. Over time, the bank expanded its operations to include a range of financial services, such as investment banking, asset management, and retail banking.

Timeline of Currency Changes

Over the course of the 20th century, Germany experienced a range of currency changes, including the introduction of new banknotes and coins, the adoption of the euro, and the replacement of the gold standard with fiat currency. These changes were driven by a range of economic and political factors, such as the need to finance two world wars and the desire to promote economic integration with other European countries.


In conclusion, the German mark was the official currency of Germany in the year 1890. It was backed by the gold standard and was widely used for everyday transactions and international trade. The mark played a key role in the economic and political development of Germany during this period, and it was replaced by other currencies over time as the country’s circumstances changed.

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Christine Hitt

Christine Hitt, a devoted Hawaii enthusiast from Oahu, has spent 15 years exploring the islands, sharing her deep insights in respected publications such as Los Angeles Times, SFGate, Honolulu, and Hawaii magazines. Her expertise spans cultural nuances, travel advice, and the latest updates, making her an invaluable resource for all Hawaii lovers.

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