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I was stationed in West Germany in the 1980's and still have close to a hundred (West) German Deutschmarks in bills and coinage. If I visit Germany, can I exchange them for Euros, or are they now simply scrapbook fodder?

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20  
If the money is in good condition (sometimes even if not) they can be sold to currency collectors, most of the time for more than their face value. You can try and find someone that will appraise your currency. – Mindwin Feb 22 at 13:41
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I agree with Mindwin. Also, have you not considered doing what a lot of people in similar shoes to yours have done and just keep the money as a souvenir? I think you would gain a lot more from that than you would from just exchanging it for euros - and you can even put it into a nice display in your home! – Panzercrisis Feb 22 at 16:30
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You are talking about roughly $50. While you can make the exchange, it is probably not really worth your time. Note that you need to find a Bundesbank branch office for the free exchange. – o.m. Feb 22 at 16:31
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A lot of normal banks take post 1990 DM too, just kindly ask, won't hurt. Some do even with pre 1990 money, two years ago I found lots of them in the house of my late grandparents... Also there are a few rare shops around the country that still accept various kinds of DM ... – PlasmaHH Feb 22 at 20:42
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@chirlu: as a percentage of the overall locations where you pay stuff with physical money, I would say that even with the chains that do, it is pretty rare and "hard to find" is kinda synonymous for that situation. It will strongly vary by location, e.g. in the north you won't find many kauflands, however in the east you will find more small shops that accept DM (and they are proud to advertise it) – PlasmaHH Feb 23 at 9:26
up vote 35 down vote accepted

Source

You can exchange unlimited amounts of DM banknotes and coins for euro indefinitely and free of charge at all Deutsche Bundesbank branches.

The official exchange rate is set at EUR 1 for DEM 1.95583.

We accept the following banknotes and coins for exchange.

  • Banknotes issued by the Bank deutscher Länder (BdL)
  • Bundesbank banknotes and
  • Federal coins denominated in Deutsche Mark or Pfennig

We no longer accept the following banknotes and coins for exchange.

  • 50 Mark BdL note II (green), issued in 1948 You may submit this banknote together with an application for reimbursement to >the Deutsche Bundesbank’s National Analysis Centre at the Regional Office in >Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland or to any other Bundesbank branch.
  • DM 2 coin, first issue (minting date 1951)
  • Banknotes and coins issued prior to 20 June 1948

We also accept DM banknotes and coins submitted for exchange by post. We must emphasise, however, that submissions made by post carry substantially higher risks and if you choose to send cash in this manner, you do so at your own risk. >Information on deliveries permissible in Germany and abroad can only be obtained >from the relevant delivery companies.

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19  
A word of caution, the poster talks about the Deutsche Bundesbank, not the Deutsche Bank. It has only 47 branches. – o.m. Feb 22 at 16:33
    
I hesitate to select this as the accepted answer, as it is only a link to a document. Reading some comments to the actual question, it would appear there are other possibilities as well. I'll have to think on it some more. – CGCampbell Feb 23 at 11:48

This differs per country, but Germany is quite serious about money and it will be possible at any branch of the Deutsche Bundesbank, indefinitely: https://www.bundesbank.de/Redaktion/EN/Standardartikel/Tasks/Cash_management/free_exchange_dm_euro.html?nsc=true&https=1

As you can read in that article, it is also possible to do this by mail, albeit at your own risk. And it may be hard to receive the resulting Euros in the US; I don't know what kind of check they send and whether you can cash it there.

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If you are still in touch with someone from "back then", another option might be to ask them to exchange the money for you at their local bank. Many local banks still accept DM, although usually only from their customers, and often they have additional restrictions (e.g. bills only) or charge a fee. (Source: this article published in january in a local newspaper).

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