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Coins Of The Great War: 2 Heller (Austro-Hungarian Empire, 1917)-Article

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

This small WWI-era Austro-Hungarian coin represents the 2nd denomination coin of the Krone (Karl I). This coin was preceded by the bronze 2 Heller (Franz Joseph I), which circulated from 1892-1915. It's circulation was relatively short, spanning the mid-late war, from 1916-1918. End with the war's end and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The coin is a plain-edged design, made of iron and weights 2.7 g. Its dimensions are 17 mm (0.67 in) wide and 1.5 mm (0.059 in) thick. Making it slightly smaller than a US Penny, in that respect. The previous 2 Heller (Franz Joseph I) was slightly larger, at 19 mm (0.075 in) wide.


2 Heller Observe by Anton Scharf, Andreas Neudeck.
2 Heller observe by Anton Scharf & Andreas Neudeck.

The observe lists the coin's "2" Heller value and mint date (1917), wreathed by oak leaves. Notably the previous 2 Heller (Franz Joseph I) featured a different design. With a single thin oak branch separating the number "2" and coin's mint date. Additionally they featured beading along their rim, unlike the later iron coins.

Both 2 Heller types appear to have been engraved by Anton Scharf, Andreas Neudeck.


2 Heller reverse by Anton Scharf,& Andreas Neudeck.
2 Heller reverse by Anton Scharf,& Andreas Neudeck.

The reverse features the Austrian-Hungarian Coat of Arms, a double-headed Imperial Eagle overlaid by a Habsburg-Lorraine Shield. The version depicted is an Austrian type, known as the "small coat of arms". This simplified variant was used from 1915-1918.

Similar to the observe, the reverse lacks the beading seen on earlier coins. Instead featuring only a shallow beveled rim.


Additional Notes

  • The Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918) was a dual constitutional monarchy, formed from the joining of the Austrian and Hungarian Empires.

  • Austro-Hungary issued dual Austrian and Hungarian currency, which was equal in value.

  • The Austro-Hungarian Krone/Korona was subdivided into 100 Heller/Fillér.

  • The dissolution of Austro-Hungary led to the formation of a number of constitutional republics, in the form of Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.

  • Austro-Hungary monarchal successors were the kingdoms of Hungary and Yugoslavia.

  • The change from bronze to iron was due to wartime debasement, due to material shortages.

  • Similar mid to late war debasement was experienced, by Imperial German coinage.

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