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article imageNorway: Half a billion reichsmarks found in organ in cathedral

By Anne Sewell     Sep 29, 2013 in Business
Trondheim - A "time capsule" hidden within the organ in Nidaros Cathedral by its builder from Bavaria on January 8, 1930 has been found. It contained half a billion German reichsmarks together with a warning note.
When the Bavarian organ builder worked on the organ, which is now in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, he decided to leave a message, warning future generations of the dangers of hyperinflation. He left half a billion German reichsmarks together with a letter.
According to Per Fridtjov Bonsaksen, overseeing a restoration of the organ, it is strange that this has never been found before.
He told Norway news service Adressavisen, “The letter and the money weren’t even discovered in 1962, when people from Steinmeyer were in Trondheim to move the organ from the north transept to the west transept,”
1000 German Reichsmarks from 1922.
1000 German Reichsmarks from 1922.
Scanned by Golle95
August Sieber, an organ builder from Bavaria left the 12 banknotes, one of which was worth 500 million marks, as a "time capsule" on January 8, 1930. The package was concealed in one of the organ's windchests, and found by experts from the Swiss organ company Orgelbau Kuhn.
Bonsaksen said that message, which was hidden with the money, conveyed “a bitter and emotional greeting,” warning future generations of the dangers of hyperinflation from a time when Germany was still recovering from the damages of the First World War.
Bonsaksen continued, “The State itself also fell apart when Germany lost the 1914-18 War against the entire world, and everything was kaput and bankrupt. People also had no money then, either.”
A note found in a  time capsule  containing half a billion German Reichsmarks hidden in 1930 in the ...
A note found in a "time capsule" containing half a billion German Reichsmarks hidden in 1930 in the organ in Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, Norway.
Per Fridtjov Bonsaksen - Fair Use
Reportedly in 1923, Germany's government intervened to stop the hyperinflation which was affecting the country, which rendered the notes worthless.
Adressavisen reported that Sieber expected this would change following the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
“Enough money will come with inflation, as you’ll see.”
Bonsaksen said that he does not know today's value of the money, but that this is something they will be investigating.
Dagbladet Nyheter (in Norwegian) interviewed Bonsaksen who said the restoration of the organ has apparently been ongoing since the 1970's and in 2007, it was finally decided that the organ should be preserved, restored and returned to its original 1930's state.
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