http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304373804577520930784840596.htmlGAIBERG, Germany—Shopping for pain reliever here on a recent sunny morning, Ulrike Berger giddily counted her coins and approached the pharmacy counter. She had just enough to make the purchase: 31.09 deutsche marks.
"They just feel nice to hold again," the 55-year-old preschool teacher marveled, cupping the grubby coins fished from the crevices of her castaway living room sofa. "And they're still worth something."
Behind the counter of Rolf-Dieter Schaetzle's pharmacy in this southern German village lay a tray full of deutsche mark notes and coins—a month's worth of sales.
Germans have yet to give up on the euro. But as Europe's debt crisis rages on, many are indulging their nostalgia for the abandoned mark by shopping with it again—and retailers are happily going along.
As defunct currencies go, "die gute alte D-mark," or "the good old D-mark," as it is still affectionately called, is far from dead. Germans officially traded in the currency for euro bills and coins on Jan. 1, 2002, and the mark immediately ceased to be legal tender. But 13.2 billion marks—worth €6.75 billion ($8.3 billion)—remain tucked in mattresses, old prayer books, coat pockets or otherwise in circulation, according to the Bundesbank, more lucre than the euro bloc's 16 other ex-currencies combined.
Unlike neighbors such as Italy and France, which let their liras and francs officially expire over the past year, Germany never set a deadline for exchanging its old money for euros. So, if they decide to accept marks, retailers and other businesses can still exchange them at German central bank branches.