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Here's a chance to acquire a stunning example of original Bauhaus typography and a wonderful survivor from a dramatic moment in the history of the last century: a hyper-inflation bank note from Weimar Germany.

Herbert Bayer attended the Weimar Bauhaus as a pupil from 1921 to 1923, at the time the economic crisis in post-WW1 Weimar was developing and reaching its dramatic peak. He initially took Johannes Itten's revolutionary Preliminary Course on colour and form, then moved on to study mural painting with Wassily Kandinsky and Oskar Schlemmer. It was at this time that he created the Universal alphabet; the lower-case only typography now synonymous with the Bauhaus and its powerful legacy. In 1923 he was also commissioned by the Thuringian State in Weimar to design the new high value banknotes. The impoverished Weimer Republic government was desperately producing emergency money - increasingly high single note denominations - in an attempt to combat acute hyper-inflation.

Bayer returned to the Bauhaus in 1925 - now located at Dessau - as teacher, to lead a new course in advertising and typography. He remained a tutor there until 1928, the same year Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius departed.

For background on hyper-inflation in the Weimar Republic see Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyper_inflation

A reference to and illustration of the banknote can be found in the catalogue for the famous 50 Years of the Bauhaus exhibition, which was held at the Royal Academy in London in 1968, on page 118.

Condition: The note is in good circulated condition with some wear and marking consistent with age and use but no damages or repairs. The note measures approx. 9.1 cm x 14.4 cm. The dimensions of the frame are approx 19.8 cm x 14.8 cm x 3.5 cm.

Text and photos Copyright © Matthew Grice 2011. All rights reserved.

An original Weimar Republic hyperinflation banknote designed inside the Bauhaus by Herbert Bayer, 1923


  • Vintage item from the 1920s
  • Material: Paper
  • Ships worldwide from United Kingdom
  • Feedback: 12 reviews
  • Favorited by: 42 people