The solution devised by many local governments to address the dire shortage of currency was to issue notgeld, literally 'emergency money', fashioned from unusual materials such as coal, silk, wood, and ceramic.
The idea for a Meissen-produced notgeld originated with Max Adolf Pfeiffer, the factory's prescient director.
Durability of both the porcelain and the stoneware coins was a primary concern, so all Meissen notgeld designs incorporated raised rims and concave faces.
Three categories of motifs were commonly employed on Meissen notgeld: humans, architecture, and agricultural products.
A bust portrait of Martin Luther proved to be one of the Meissen factory's most popular notgeld designs.
The ceramic notgeld produced at Meissen and other German factories in the early 1920s held certain advantages over metal coinage, such as ease of cleaning and freedom from corrosion.
Moreover, due to their novelty and the value adhering to them through the Meissen factory reputation, porcelain and stoneware notgeld coins were hoarded by collectors and tourists from around the world.
Because the Reichsbank's printing presses and note-distribution arrangements were insufficient for the situation, a law was passed permitting, under license and against the deposit of appropriate assets, the issue of emergency money tokens, or Notgeld
, by state and local authorities and industrial concerns when the Reichsbank could not satisfy needs for wage payment.