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NSDAP German Election Tokens


bill
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German political events and social conditions of the post World War I period produced a rich array of exonumia. I became interested in the political tokens in the 1970s as I was researching the catalog, Medallic Portraits of Adolf Hitler (co-authored with R.W. Colbert, published by the Token and Medal Society, 1981). I'll post a few of the Hitler portrait tokens and some related tokens to expand on the discussion about Hitler and von Hindenburg started in thread initiated by Goetzdude and his spectacular Goetz medals. The tokens are not of the same artistic quality, but they are historically important nonetheless.

 

The earliest election token dates to the 1928 Reichstag election. The token urges the recipient to vote for List 12. The candidates in Reichstag elections appeared on ballots as a slate of candidates. List 12 meant the NSDAP was the 12 slate on the ballot. The number of candidates elected was a product of the propostion of votes the slate received. Only the first 4 candidate names appeared on the ballot with the List number. The obverse Identifies Hitler as the part leader, the leader out of the hardship. The reverse slogan, we want to pave the road to freedom for the German worker, is rather long and complicated for the party's propaganda philosophy. That slogan would change on tokens issued for future elections.

 

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The second token was issued for the 1932 presidential election. The presidential elections were for individuals, hence the "Vote Adolf Hitler." Hitler polled 37% of the vote. Hindenburg was elected with 53%.

 

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The third token commemorates the success of the 1930 Reichstag elections heading into the 1932 elections. The Nazi party received a plurality of the vote and became the largest party in the Reichstag. It did not, however, receive a majority and that prompted to political maneuverings discussed in the Goetzdude thread about Hitler's appointment as Reichs Chancellor. The token may have promoted the July or the November 1932 elections. The NSDAP retained its pluraity in November, but lost ground. The reverse shows the eagle and swastika and the 1928 to 1932 vote totals. The inscriptions promote "Freedom and Bread" and "Now More Than Ever." This particular token is from the John Ford collection. He "liberated" a few Hitler medals from the party headquarters (the Brown House) in Munich and that began his collecting interest. His collection was sold at auction by Bowers and Ruddy in 1983. I reviewed the collection during the cataloging phase and later purchased two election tokens in the auction.

 

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We cataloged 12 different tokens in this political series. One of the twelve featured a more naturalistic portrait, the other 11 share the same obverse portrait. Others varieties may exist as much of this material was destroyed after the war during de-Nazification efforts.

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Not all election tokens featured Hitler. The April 24, 1932 Prussian state elections were held following Hindenburg's ban of the SA and SS military arms of the NSDAP. Military units of other political parties were banned as well, but the real intention was controlling the violence perpetrated by the Nazis. Perhaps an answer to Hindenburg (or maybe just evidence of the problem), the Prussian arm of the party issued a militant aluminum token. The obverse pictures a nude male slaying a three-headed snake. The reverse declares "Fight lies, deceit, and treason. Action liberates. Vote List 8, April 24, 1932." The darkened area below the snake is damage from some sort of tape attached to the token at some point in the past.

 

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Political tokens served a variety of purposes such as propaganda in your pocket and reminders to vote, and they also served to legitimize campaign donations at political rallies. The turmoil of post World War I Germany brought on by the economic crises and multiple failed governments contributed to the rise of increasingly radical and agressive political parties of which the NSDAP was only one. One law meant to lower the level of conflict forbid parties from collecting donations at political rallies on the theory that restricting the flow of donations would help weaken the influence of the parties. They responded with a variety of ways to continue the cash flow, typically relying on the sale of items such as postcards, pamphlets, etc. Sales of things were legal. The NSDAP sold donation tokens and the tokens shown in the previous posts could well have been donation tokens as well. A series of tokens specifically identify themselves as being donation tokens, some with specific values.

 

An unusual brass token commemorates the act of voting itself in the 1932 Reichstag election. The obverse features a swasstika buried in a sea of raised hands perhaps indicating it was issued after the July election when the NSDAP scored its largest vote. The artist's stylized signature reads GHM or GMH depending on the order in which the letters are meant to be read. The reverse reads "1932 Reichstag Election, Campaign Donation, Never Capitulate."

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Technically, its not a NSDAP election token, but it sets the stage for the political environment in Weimar Germany. The horrific inflation of the early 1920s destroyed people's lives and helped fuel the political furor that led to the appeal of radical political parties. I believe the following token may have been a socialist token, but it does not matter. The sentiment spoke for most of the parties.

 

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Obverse: Raised hand grasping hammer. Die Arbeit ist der Fels auf dem die Kirche der Zurkunft erbaut wird.

Work is the rock on which the church of the future is built.

 

Reverse: Zur Erinnerung an Deutschlands schlimmste Zeit / 1923 / im Nov. kostete / 1 Pfd. Fleisch 3200 Milld. / 4 Pfd. Brot 840 Milliard. / 1 Klr, Kartoff. 5000 Milld. / 3 Millionen / Erwerbslose / Denkt daran!

To the memory of Germany’s worst time. 1923 in November, Prices:

1 pound of meat, 3200 Million marks

4 pounds of bread, 840 Million marks

1 kiloliter? potato, 5000 Million marks

3 million unemployed, Remember!

 

Sometimes its helpful to remember the economic reality that the colorful notgeld represents.

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  • 3 months later...

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While not technically an election token, the porcelain medal pictured here was the first official medallic portrait of Hitler. He approved the design in 1924 while serving time in Landsberg prison for leading the failed Munich putsch (see the Goetz satirical medal posted by Goetzdude). The medals were sold to raise funds for those fallen in Munich. Three versions were available, all white for 2 marks, painted as pictured here for 3 marks, or all white in a silver mount for 3 marks.

 

The next official images of Hitler appeared on election tokens beginning in 1928.

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1 kiloliter? potato, 5000 Million marks

Nah, a kiloliter would not make sense. :ninja: It says "Ztr." which is short for Zentner (50 kg).

 

By the way, those "millions" are actually "Milliarden". So that one 50 kilo bag of potatoes cost 5000 billion marks back then.

 

Christian

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Nah, a kiloliter would not make sense. :ninja: It says "Ztr." which is short for Zentner (50 kg).

 

By the way, those "millions" are actually "Milliarden". So that one 50 kilo bag of potatoes cost 5000 billion marks back then.

 

Christian

 

Thanks. Useful help with the translation. I knew it was close, but also had my doubts about how close.

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  • 9 months later...
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  • 2 years later...

I'm about ready to sell my election token collection. I've finished imaging the pieces and put together a catalog on Flickr. Next is to draft an article for publication and say good by to some pieces that I had for over thirty years. Time to move on to other collecting topics. I'll still retain a few pieces to continue to represent the interest in my own collection, but another collector is interested in the collection intact. Time for someone else to enjoy it.

 

The photo catalog can be viewed on Flickr. Click on the Slideshow link in the upper right hand corner and let it run.

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  • 6 years later...

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