UC Santa Barbara > History Department > Prof. Marcuse > Projects > Historical Dollar-to-Marks Conversion Page
One hundred East German marks bill
100 East German Marx, 1975

Historical Dollar-to-Marks
Currency Conversion Page

page created by Harold Marcuse,
Professor of German History at UC Santa Barbara

(Prof. Marcuse's homepage)

page created August 19, 2005, last updated 2/9/13


What is old German money worth?
US-German Currency Conversion Tables,
1913-2005
Daily $ to DM
(and €),
1971-present
East German Marks: Black Market
Conversion Rates
Value-then to
Value now:
Inflation Calculators
Original Bidwell Scans
Links

What is old German money worth? (back to top)


In 1938 Fritz earned 6000 Marks, what would his equivalent salary be today? (back to top)

  1. First, using the tables immediately below, convert the 1938 Marks to 1938 dollars.
    In 1938, 2.49M=$1 means 6000M=$2409.
  2. Now go to the inflation calculators section below, and see what $2409 in 1938 would be worth today (in 2007, for instance). The various indexes yield the following results:
    $35,449.74 using the Consumer Price Index
    $29,454.14 using the GDP deflator
    $83,618.18 using the value of consumer bundle * [*2007 data is still preliminary in July 2008]
    $75,744.52 using the unskilled wage *
    $166,511.68 using the nominal GDP per capita [good for estimating the "status" of that income]
    $387,267.03 using the relative share of GDP [good for estimating the share of national wealth]
  3. Which measure would be most appropriate? Read the explanatory page on that site, Choosing the Best Indicator to Measure Relative Worth. For a salary or annual income, you will see that the "Consumer Bundle" or "GDP per capita" would be the best measures.
    For the value of a simple commodity (loaf of bread, gallon of gas), you'd use the CPI.
    For the cost of a building or public works project, you'd use the GDP deflator.

Good luck with your historical conversion!


US-German Currency Conversion Tables, 1913-2005 (back to top)

  • The tables on the left below were scanned from R.L. Bidwell, Currency Conversion Tables: A Hundred Years of Change (London: Rex Collings, 1970), 22-24.
    [UCSB library HG219.B5]
  • The tables on the right were generated at the Economic History Association's eh.net site. In 2007 moved to: measuringworth.org/globalexchange
    • original source: Lawrence H. Officer, "Exchange Rates," in Susan B. Carter, Scott S. Gartner, Michael Haines, Alan Olmstead, Richard Sutch, and Gavin Wright, eds., Historical Statistics of the United States, Millenial Edition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002). (see Lawrence Officer's Univ. Illinois/Chicago faculty page)
    • These are annual averages (Bidwell's are for the listed month).

1915-1925 Dollar to Marks
1926-1940 Dollar to Marks


1945-1959 Dollar to Marks


1960-1969 Dollar to Marks
first trading day

year

$=DM

1971

3.643

1972

3.273

1973

3.205

1974

2.758

1975

2.418

1976

2.619

1977

2.346

1978

2.071

1979

1.822

1980

1.713

1981

1.975

1982

2.242

1983

2.374

1984

2.761

1985

3.173

1986

2.438

1987

1.918

1988

1.585

1989

1.764

1990

1.709

1991

1.490

1992

1.528

1993

1.637

1994

1.742

1995

1.554

1996

1.435

1997

1.541

1998

1.789

1999

1.655

The 1971-2005 data in this left-hand table are from Triacom, a translation services company in Barendorf, Germany.
They generated it from oanda.com; see: Daily Rates section, below.

The discrepancy with the eh.net table on the right is because the left-hand table has first trade date of the year values, while the right-hand table has annual averages. If a year's value in the right-hand table is higher, then the year average dollar rate was stronger than at the start of the year (said another way: the DM got weaker that year).

Lawrence H. Officer, Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, on his InfoEurope page:
"From 1913 onward, all the European series are annual averages of daily exchange rates in the New York market."

Prof. Officer also gives the following details about German currency names:
"On October 11, 1924 the monetary unit of Germany was changed from the mark to the reichsmark, where 1 reichsmark = 1,000,000,000,000 mark. Federal Reserve quotations switched from the mark to the reichsmark on October 29, 1924. In June 1948 the monetary unit was changed to the deutsche mark, where 1 deutsche mark = 10 reichsmark."

Originally from: http://eh.net/hmit/
now: measuringworth.org

year

$1=Marks, annual avg.

1913

M 4.20

1914

M 4.23

1915

M 4.85

1916

M 5.50

1917

M 5.77

1918

N/A

1919

M 32.85

1920

M 57.11

1921

M 83.02

1922

M 430.48

note on Bidwell at left:
British milliard=US billion, British billion=US trillion.

1923

M 50,000.00

1924
avg.

M 4,329,000,000.
(4.329 US billion)

1925

RM 4.20


1926

RM 4.20

1927

RM 4.21

1928

RM 4.19

1929

RM 4.20

1930

RM 4.19

1931

RM 4.23

1932

RM 4.21

1933

RM 3.28

1934

RM 2.54

1935

RM 2.48

1936

RM 2.48

1937

RM 2.49

1938

RM 2.49

1939

RM 2.50

1940

RM 2.50

1941

RM 2.50

1942-1949

not available

 

1950

DM 4.20

1951

DM 4.20

1952

DM 4.20

1953

DM 4.20

1954

DM 4.20

1955

DM 4.21

1956

DM 4.20

1957

DM 4.20

1958

DM 4.19

1959

DM 4.18

 

1960

DM 4.17

1961

DM 4.02

1962

DM 4.00

1963

DM 3.99

1964

DM 3.98

1965

DM 3.99

1966

DM 4.00

1967

DM 3.99

1968

DM 3.99

1969

DM 3.92


annual averages

Source still:
http://eh.net/hmit/

1970

DM 3.65

1971

DM 3.48

1972

DM 3.19

1973

DM 2.65

1974

DM 2.58

1975

DM 2.46

1976

DM 2.52

1977

DM 2.32

1978

DM 2.00

1979

DM 1.83

1980

DM 1.82

1981

DM 2.26

1982

DM 2.43

1983

DM 2.55

1984

DM 2.85

1985

DM 2.94

1986

DM 2.17

1987

DM 1.80

1988

DM 1.76

1989

DM 1.88

1990

DM 1.62

1991

DM 1.66

1992

DM 1.56

1993

DM 1.66

1994

DM 1.62

1995

DM 1.43

1996

DM 1.50

1997

DM 1.74

1998

DM 1.76

1999

DM 2.08

Source still Triacom, after oanda

2000

1.897 DM

2001

2.067 DM

2002

1.1069 EUR

2003

0.9534 EUR

2004

0.7928 EUR

2005

0.7372 EUR

2006
0.8463 EUR
2007
0.7580 EUR

Source: Oanda.com/currency/historical-rates/

2007

0.73 EUR

2008

0.68 EUR

2009

0.72 EUR

2010

0.75 EUR

2011

0.72 EUR

2012

0.78 EUR

2013
0.xx EUR
2014
0.yy EUR
  • to generate the right-hand table directly above on measuringworth.com's exchange rates page:
    • enter the starting and ending years (1913 to 1999) in the top two boxes
    • select Germany in the next row
    • hit enter.
  • to generate the table at left below (2007-2012) on Oanda.com's Historical Rates Page:
    • select USD and EUR
    • select custom date range from 1/1/2007 to present
    • select Frequency: Annual
    • hit enter.
    • Note: the dates are in ascending order.
graph of dollar-to-euro rates, 2002-2008
graphic from the Atlantic Times, Dec. 2007
(free monthly German newspaper for the US)

Daily Dollars-to-Marks Rates, 1971-present (back to top)

  • www.oanda.com generates tables with daily rates from Jan. 6, 1971 to present (for periods of up to 2000 days=5+ years at a time). Scroll down a bit, enter date range (e.g. 01/06/71 to 01/01/76), then put USD in the left box, DEM in the right (or EUR), and hit enter.
    • About OANDA: "OANDA was spun out of an econometric research and development firm called Olsen and Associates by founders Richard Olsen and Michael Stumm in 1995. OANDA was the first to make comprehensive currency exchange information available over the Internet, and initially, OANDA's only product was the online currency converter. In 1996, OANDA incorporated in the state of Delaware. [...] Oanda.com continues to be ranked number one for currency exchange information."

East German Marks: Black Market Conversion Rates (back to top)

  • I haven't been able to find any dates as to WHEN the various black market rates were in effect, but...
    • The "Mark der DDR" commonly called Ostmark, "Eastern mark", was intended for internal use only, and was never freely convertible with foreign currencies ("valuta" was used for that instead).
    • It was always officially valued by the East German government at 1:1 with the West Deutsche Mark. Visitors to East Germany were required to exchange Deutsche Marks with Ostmarks at 1:1.
    • On the black market the exchange rate was about 5 to 10 East Ms for a DM (when travel was permitted, e.g. in the 1970s); the East German government credited exports at a rate of 4.4M:1DM.
    • For more information, see the German wikipedia article "Mark der DDR" (in German).
    • In 1989 black market rates were about 3.77-4.40 Ostmark to 1 DM.
      See Manfred Wegner, Bankrott und Aufbau: Ostdeutsche Erfahrungen (Baden-Baden, 1995), p. 50.
      (Wegner was the founding president of the Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung in Halle in 1992-1993.)
    • This book (I haven't seen it myself) may have more information:
      Zatlin, Jonathan R., The Currency of Socialism: Money and Political Culture in East Germany. (Cambridge University Press 200), 398 pages. (searchable at amazon; Rezension auf Sehepunkte)

Converting Value-then to Value-now: Inflation Calculators (back to top)

  • MeasuringWorth.com is a site created by Profs. Lawrence Officer and Samuel Williamson with precisely this question in mind. With a single calculator you can choose up to 7 different measures for bringing US $ values from the late 1700s up to any year until 2006. For a discussion of which of the different measures is most meaningful for the amount you want to convert, see the discussion on their Measures of Worth page.
  • For links to additional inflation calculators, see the Links section, below.
  • For historical Pounds to dollars and French Francs to dollars conversions, again see Links section, below.

My original Bidwell page scans (back to top)
from: R.L. Bidwell, Currency Conversion Tables: A Hundred Years of Change
(London: Rex Collings, 1970), pp. 22-23, 24.

Bidwell's Mark-to-Dollar conversion, 1914-1959
Bidwell's Mark-to-Dollar conversion, 1959-1969


Links (back to top)

  • CPI-based inflation calculator, from 1800 to present for US $ (westegg.com)
    • The Consumer Price Index is good for comparing goods in daily use (salaries, food).
    • created by Steven Morgan Friedman, a 1998 history major from UPenn, who became an excellent programmer-web designer (Friedman's CV).
  • US Gov't CPI table, 1913-present, indexed 1982-84=100 (for US cities); monthly+annual avg.
  • NASA's inflation calculator page (for US $, 1940 to 2009), includes links to:
    • a CPI index running from 1913 to 2003.The CPI index is best for consumer goods.
    • a GDP Deflator Inflation Calculator, which is better for industrial goods and construction projects.
  • for a discussion comparing CPI, GDP and other measures see this page at measuringworth.com.
    • The CPI is, of course, most accurate for consumer goods.
  • For additional historical currency links, see this H-German e-mail exchange, Aug. 2005, which includes the following table:
    • Implicit GNP Deflator 1913=100 (Germany, 1901-1995, gap 1914-1924)
      1901 87.3
      1902 86.2
      1903 86.0
      1904 85.9
      1905 89.9
      1906 92.2
      1907 93.1
      1908 91.3
      1909 93.5
      1910 96.5
      1911 96.8
      1912 99.3
      1913 100.0
      1914 n.a.
      1915 n.a.
      1916 n.a.
      1917 n.a.
      1918 n.a.
      1919 n.a.
      1920 n.a.
      1921 n.a.
      1922 n.a.
      1923 n.a.
      1924 n.a.
      1925 140.9
      1926 144.2
      1927 147.3
      1928 152.8
      1929 155.7
      1930 154.9
      1931 146.1
      1932 131.6
      1933 125.3
      1934 126.4
      1935 125.6
      1936 125.1
      1937 126.0
      1938 128.1
      1939 130.1
      1940 125.8
      1941 120.1
      1942 118.4
      1943 120.2
      1944 126.5
      1945 n.a.
      1946 161.4
      1947 171.6
      1948 198.5
      1948 198.5
      1949 211.6
      1950 204.8
      1951 229.3
      1952 240.4
      1953 237.9
      1954 237.5
      1955 242.5
      1956 249.3
      1957 256.5
      1958 264.5
      1959 268.9
      1960 276.8
      1961 290.4
      1962 302.0
      1963 311.5
      1964 321.1
      1965 333.1
      1966 344.5
      1967 349.8
      1968 357.7
      1969 372.7
      1970 401.2
      1971 432.4
      1972 455.4
      1973 484.0
      1974 517.9
      1975 548.0
      1976 567.7
      1977 589.0
      1978 614.0
      1979 638.0
      1980 669.3
      1981 696.7
      1982 727.7
      1983 752.8
      1984 768.5
      1985 785.4
      1986 811.3
      1987 827.0
      1988 837.1
      1989 857.4
      1990 884.6
      1991 919.1
      1992 969.2
      1993 1,005.8
      1994 1,029.1
      1995 1,051.8
      Table based on one submitted by Prof. Albrecht Ritschl (Humboldt University, Berlin.), who used the source: Albrecht Ritschl and Mark Spoerer,: "Das Bruttosozialprodukt in Deutschland nach den amtlichen Volkseinkommens- und Sozialproduktsstatistiken 1901-1995," in: Jahrbuch fuer Wirtschaftsgeschichte (1997), part 2, 11-37. The article title translates as: "Gross National Product in Germany based on the Official National Income and Product Statistics, 1901-1995."
  • Roy Davies, University of Exeter librarian, has a Current Value of Old Money page, with links to On-line tools & sources (they start with the eh.net site I used, above [note 2008: the eh.net site has become measuringworth.com]).
  • Pounds to Dollars Historical Conversion of Currency by Eric Nye, Department of English, University of Wyoming (source years: 1264-1983; target years 1913-2007)
  • French Franc-to-Euro consumer price index equivalencies, 1901-2001, in English, from the French Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques: www.insee.fr.
    • from 2002: Euro-to-Euro CPI
  • pre-1800 German currency, at hudsonrivervalley.net (with conversion rates at the bottom of the page) and 1632.org/1632Slush/1632money.rtf:
    The thaler (from thal, "valley") originally came from the coins minted from the silver from a rich mine at Joachimsthal (St. Joachim's Valley, Czech: Jáchymov) in Bohemia. Thalers/dollars were thus silver coins, while Guilders or Florins were gold (florin: name of gold coin minted in Florence in 1252). Here are some equivalencies (dear god, thank you for the decimal system)
    1 Karolin       = 11 rhenish florins
    1 Dukaten     =   5 fl rhein. (since 1559)
    1 Laubtaler    =  2 fl 45 Kreuzer rhein.
    1 Königstaler =  1 fl 20 Kreuzer rhein.
    1 Reichsthaler = 1.5 fl rhein. = 24 groschen = (theoretically) 12 pfennigs
    (depended on copper vs. silver supply; latter became scarce during 30 years war, 1618-1648)
    1 gulden  =   4 mark = 24 albus = 48 schilling = 288 heller; 1 Gulden = 1 Guilder (Dutch)
    1 groschen = 1 shilling (?)
    or:
    1 fl rhein. = 15 Batzen =  20 Groschen = 60 Kreuzer = 240 Denar (Pfennig) = 480 Heller
    1 Albus = 1 1/2 Batzen =  2 Groschen =   6 Kreuzer =   24 Denar = 48 Heller
    1 Batzen   =   4 Kreuzer = 16 Denar = 32 Heller
    1 Groschen = 3 Kreuzer = 12 Denar = 24 Heller
    1 Kreuzer   = 4 Denar = 8 Heller
    1 Denar      = 2 Heller

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2007: 14,989 page views; 13753 entry, 13419 exit (41.1/day)
2008: 25,839 page views; 23,682 entry, 23,184 exit (70.8/day)
2009: 31,917 page views; 29,858 entry, 29,215 exit (87.4/day)
2010: 48,320 page views; 45,444 entry, 44,996 exit (132.4/day)
2011: 55,713 page views; 52,917 entry, 52,459 exit (152.6/day)
2012: 65,076 page views; 62,101 entry, 61,129 exit (177.8/day)
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page created by Harold Marcuse, August 19, 2005, last updated: see page header
(Bidwell scans originally uploaded in October 1998 on my hmlinks.htm page)
back to top, to H. Marcuse homepage