28

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?

6
  • 25
    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. Feb 22, 2016 at 13:41
  • 1
    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! Feb 22, 2016 at 16:30
  • 6
    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, 2016 at 16:31
  • 1
    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, 2016 at 20:42
  • 1
    @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, 2016 at 9:26

4 Answers 4

36

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.

2
  • 25
    A word of caution, the poster talks about the Deutsche Bundesbank, not the Deutsche Bank. It has only 47 branches.
    – o.m.
    Feb 22, 2016 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, 2016 at 11:48
8

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.

3

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).

1

They are accepting DM indefinitely at all Bundesbank (German Federal Bank) locations even in 2024. There are other currency exchanges which will still accept them, but they give about 36% of the face value, whereas the Bundesbank gives about 51% of the face value in USD (though they only pay out in Euros). Exchangers want you to either show up in person or mail in your DMs. You can also mail your DMs directly to the main Bundesbank in Mainz, but again, postage is an issue. The Bundesbank will inlyg exchange DMs to Euros. I plan to go in April of 2024 and am happy to share my experience.

EDIT: Defunct Currency exchangers with mail-in service -

  • ForeignCurrencyandCoin.com in the US coverts to USD & pays out via Venmo & Paypal.
  • LeftoverCurrency.com in the UK coverts to GBP £.
  • Randos on Craigslist
7
  • The "51% of the face value in USD" part is really misleading, making it sound like you get at most half what the money ought to be worth or says it is worth. It is like saying you get over 1500 times face value for a stamped 1 oz bar of gold, since the ~1700 Dollar (roughly the current rate for 1 oz of gold) are over 1500 times the stamped "1 (oz)"... sigh The official exchange rate is 1.95583 DM to 1 EUR, which the Deutsche Bundesbank will use. 3rd Party currency exchanges are likely to garnish their profits by using less favorable exchange rates.
    – CharonX
    Apr 9 at 11:36
  • @CharonX You forgot the word "about" meaning approximately or roughly. The technical exchange rate on the Bundssbank website which is 1 DM = .51 Euros. The value of the Euro vs the USD does change. I noticed you used "roughly" in your comment but you didn't notice roughly in mine? Apr 10 at 13:34
  • I think you misunderstood. The part that is misleading is saying you get "51% of the face value in USD", which makes it sound like you get less than you should get (at least compared to what value is written on the note). You are comparing two different units of currency. The face value of a 100DM note is 100DM, and thus ~51€ or (even more roughly) ~51$. If you get 51$ for a 100DM note, you are getting the full face value of the note (in USD).
    – CharonX
    Apr 11 at 7:18
  • @Charonx you missed "about" again Apr 11 at 16:29
  • face value, noun: The value printed or depicted on a coin, banknote, postage stamp, ticket, etc. You state that "the Bundesbank gives about 51% of the face value in USD". About how many USD will you receive for e.g. a 100DM bill? You will receive about 51EUR which can be converted into about 51USD. Yes, you will get 51% of the number printed on the DM bill (100), but the face value of the bill is not "100", it is "100DM". Using the official rates of 1.95583 DM to 1 EUR, 100DM should be worth about 51EUR, which in turn is about 51USD. By receiving 51USD you get 100% face value
    – CharonX
    Apr 12 at 7:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .