Face value

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The "Brüningtaler" 4 Reichspfennig 1932 - circulation coin with a curious face value

Par value or face value ( english par value ) is in the economy in money expressed value (numerical value) acting on legal tender ( bank notes ) or securities ( stocks , bonds ) printed or stamped ( coins ) is.


In the economy, goods that are money or have a face value in monetary units are also called nominal goods . This includes the large group of financial products , for which there is usually a nominal value, if there is also another value such as a market value , market value or metal value, which can deviate from the nominal value. If nominal goods have two values, laws regulate which of the values is to be used for their evaluation . Since the abandonment of metallism, coins have been detached from their metal value , so that money as a whole can only fulfill its purpose as a unit of account with the help of a face value. The face value thus represents an important money function, without it money is worthless. However, the face value of a coin does not always have to be imprinted. For example, the thalers of the Reichsmünzordnung were mostly minted without an imprinted face value (see e.g. minting according to the Reichsmünzfuß etc.).

The province of Westphalia’s 1 billion mark piece is the coin with the highest face value of all time that a German coin has ever had.

Legal issues

The nominal value occurs frequently in laws and is therefore also a legal term . You speak of nominal amount (e.g. BGB , HGB , AktG , GmbHG ), nominal value ( PfandBG , BewG ) or paraphrase the term.


According to Section 14 (1) of the BBankG, banknotes denominated in euros are the only unrestricted legal tender for which there is a full acceptance requirement . Coins, on the other hand, are subject to limited acceptance. The face value on both indicates the legally prescribed monetary value of a means of payment . The owner at the nominal value of the cash has a claim on the issuer Central Bank , the emitted notes corresponding to the nominal value passivated . There is no second value other than the nominal value, so that there is no valuation problem with legal tender.

Nominal amount

Equity is at reportable business by § 272 to be set, para. 1 HGB at nominal value. The share capital must have a nominal amount in euros ( Section 6 AktG), the minimum nominal amount is 50,000 euros in accordance with Section 7 AktG. Section 8 (1) AktG permits both nominal value shares and - since March 1998 - no- par value shares , whereby nominal value shares must be denominated in at least one euro (Section 8 (2) AktG). According to Section 9 (1) AktG, the shares with a nominal value must be at least equal to their nominal value when they are issued (prohibition of issuing below par ). The nominal value of a share results from the share capital of the stock corporation and the number of shares issued :


The higher the share capital, the more shares can be issued with the same nominal value.

In addition to the nominal amount, listed shares also have a market value that generally deviates from the nominal amount. When GmbH have shares denominated in a nominal amount in full euros ( § 5 para. 2 GmbHG), with 12,500 euros as a minimum nominal amount of the share capital shall be paid ( § 7 para. 2 GmbHG). Due to a lack of fungibility , GmbH shares have no market value.

If the nominal amount is higher (lower) than the acquisition costs when valuing assets , the difference is to be included in the accruals and deferrals on the liabilities side ( assets side ) (§ § 340e , § 341c HGB). In the annual report , capital investment companies in accordance with Section 101 (1) No. 1 KAGB must list their assets belonging to the investment fund according to type, nominal amount or number, price and market value.

Face value

According to Section 33 ZAG , electronic money must always be issued at the nominal value of the amount of money received and exchanged at any time for legal tender at nominal value. According to Section 12 (1) BewG, capital claims and debts are to be recognized at their nominal value on the valuation date. The nominal value of a capital claim is the value that can be claimed from the debtor on the valuation date and not the value that could be achieved on the valuation date by selling it to a third party. “The debtor frees himself by paying the face value of the debt”. The most important principle for Pfandbrief banks is the congruence of cover for Pfandbriefe , whereby the respective total amount of the Pfandbriefe in circulation of one class must be covered at all times by mortgages of at least the same amount, even in the amount of the nominal value ( Section 4 (2) PfandBG). For these species, the nominal value serves as a unit of account, a measure of value or the basis for voting rights .

Economic issues

Legal tender has only a nominal value at which it must be taken in payment . If - as with money - the nominal value is the only value, then the added nominal values ​​result in the total amount of cash as in the case of cash on hand . Also book money , assets and liabilities are to be reported at face value, unless it is doubtful receivables . In the case of a zero-coupon bond in the classic sense, the final payment is called the face value. Foreign currencies and sorts - legal tender in the currency area of their country of origin -, on the other hand, have a market value as a foreign currency in addition to a face value. Nominal goods that have a current value (market value, market price , market value or metal value) in addition to their nominal value cannot simply be valued on the basis of their nominal value. This only applies to cases in which the debtor, issuer or issuer of these nominal goods has undertaken in writing to redeem them at their nominal value on the due date at the latest ( check , bill of exchange ). If this obligation does not exist, the respective price, market or metal value must be used as a basis for the valuation. This results from multiplication with the nominal value:

For example, if the price of a government bond (with a nominal value of EUR 1000) is 91%, its price is EUR 910. In the case of bonds, their par value convergence must be taken into account.

While the nominal value represents the value stated on the financial instrument , the market value is based on a current price, which is obtained as a stock exchange price by listing on the stock exchange or over the counter on the money , capital or foreign exchange market by determining the price . The difference between nominal and market value is explained by supply and demand on the relevant market. In the case of securities and investment coins , the difference between their nominal value and the higher stock exchange price is called a premium ; if the stock exchange price is lower, it is called a discount . In the case of stable and regulated currency relationships, the nominal value and the market value are identical; this is the case in most industrialized nations.

Nominalism and the principle of nominal value

The nominal value is at the center of the doctrine of nominalism and the nominal value principle . Both ignore price level and monetary value changes due to inflation or deflation and demand that in the case of nominal goods or money only their nominal value should be considered. The principle “Euro 2002 = Euro 2020” applies. The technical Nominalism says that the value of money depends exclusively from the face value so that money therefore no intrinsic value must have. The fault legal nominalism assumes that the value of money owed is exclusively determined by the nominal value. As a result, fluctuations in the value of money in debt relationships are not taken into account. Nominalism is therefore neither suitable for preventing inflation, nor does a departure from nominalism trigger inflation. The nominal value principle dominates the German tax law , making it to the taxation of unrealized profits comes and tax liabilities always represent principal amount debt.


In engineering, the nominal value is a "suitable rounded value of a quantity to designate or identify an element, group or facility". Specifically, these are mostly numerical values ​​of a device specified by the manufacturer , such as the nominal value of a voltage ( nominal voltage ) or the nominal value of a power ( nominal power ).

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: face value  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Hans Corsten, service management , 1985, p. 169
  2. Sebastian Omlor, Geldprivatrecht , 2014, p. 387
  3. Gabler Kompakt-Lexikon Wirtschaft, 2006, p. 247
  4. BFH, judgment of March 11, 1992, Az .: II R 149/87
  5. BVerwG, judgment of October 3, 1972, Az .: IC 36.68
  6. Heinz Fengler / Gerhard Gierow / Willy Unger, Transpress lexicon Numismatics , 1976, p 319
  7. ^ Hugo J. Hahn, Monetary Law , 1990, p. 77
  8. Otto Palandt / Christian Grüneberg, BGB Commentary , 73rd edition, 2014, § 245 Rn. 6th
  9. DIN 40200 - 10.1981
  10. Peter Kurzweil, Das Vieweg Einheit-Lexikon , 2000, p. 289