Usually the internet is a place where many modern developments take place. It is all the more astonishing that there is, of all things, an online shop that does good business with the former German currency.
“Hertie.de” is the name of an internet department store that advertises that it offers around 1.2 million different products for household and garden through all kinds of partners and that, according to its own research, is probably the only internet company in Germany to still accept the old currency. In addition to various credit cards or PayPal, the payment methods available on the website also include the following option: “Pay with D-Mark.”
On Wednesday, June 20, the D-Mark would have turned 70 if it had still existed. That’s a reason to celebrate for the internet company. A cake is about to be cut, and in advertising campaigns the company wants to draw attention to its unusual payment offer. Even an Italian television broadcaster asked for a meeting because the new government is supposed to attract some interest in the topic of old currencies. In addition, representatives of the company are invited to the opening of an exhibition in the museum in Xanten, which is about “70 years of the German mark”.
The Osnabrück entrepreneurs Jan and Nils Klöker are behind the unusual internet shop. They had acquired the rights to the name Hertie.de from the bankruptcy estate of the former department store chain. The mix-up with the traditional company was deliberate – but led to confusion in the early days. There were applications from sellers for Hertie branches that had not existed for years. In addition, a service provider wanted to conclude a maintenance contract for escalators with the online retailer. And someone called up there who had stolen CDs from Hertie in the 90s and now wanted to apologize.
In a postal value letter
According to its own information, the company has already earned a “higher five-digit amount” in D-Marks. It is not that easy to pay in the old currency on the Internet. Professional payment providers allow processing in many currencies. But the D-Mark is not one of them. That is why you have to send the money there in a postal value letter and receive vouchers that can be used in the online shop.
That is legal, the company later exchanges the money at the Bundesbank and has already had contact with collectors. Incidentally, the idea came from a former apprentice at the start-up, André Belhaouès. Thousands have not yet arrived there, however, the highest was 340 marks. The average is 140 marks.
In the internet shop there are even changes in the exchange rate between the D-Mark and the euro, although the official exchange rate was actually frozen forever with the introduction of the euro. But because the post is a bit cumbersome, the online shop offers a cheaper rate of initially 55 euros and now 56 euros per 100 D-Marks. Officially, there would only be 51.13 euros. The company does not hide the fact that there are other D-Mark acceptance points outside of the Internet and even lists them on its website. Perhaps the funnest is in Bremen on the market square – a pay phone.