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From The Battlefield, War-Time Reichspfennig: 1 Reichspfennig (Deutsche Reich, 1943)-Article

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

This German coin is a WWII-issued 1 Reichspfennig (Imperial Penny),dated 1943. The 1 Reichspfennig was the lowest denomination of the Reichsmark (Imperial Mark). The Reichsmark was introduced in 1924, as a replacement fpr the hyper-inflated. Papiermark (paper mark). One Reichsmark was equal to 100 Reichspfennig.

The coin is a plain-edged design, made of zinc and weighs 1.81g. It's dimensions are 17 mm (0.669 in) wide and 1.25 mm (0.049 in) thick. Due poor metallurgy, many of the coins are either heavily tarnished or in a a corroded condition. Gentle scrubbing can help can help with minor cases.

This article's example was reputedly found buried and is heavily weathered. Thus necessitating monochrome photos, to better interpret its initial details. The coin was later cleaned-up, greatly improving its legibility. (SEE: "Clean-Up Photos" below.)

A Brief History Of The Reichsmark

The history of the Reichsmark begins in WWI (1914-1918) and the adoption of the Papiermark. The fiat Papiermark was introduced 4 August 1914, replacing the pre-war Goldmark. It's value inflated throughout the war and was supplemented by local currency. These temporary local currencies were known was Kriegsgeld (War Money) and Notgeld (Emergency Money). Serving as remedy currency shortages, caused by panicked citizens hording pre-war currency.

In the aftermath of WWII, Germany was forced to pay immense war reparations to the Allied Powers.

In protest, the post-war German government printed large amounts of currency. Causing the Papiermark to undergo rapid hyperinflation. On November 1923, the Rentenmark (Mortgage Mark) was announced, as a temporary Papiermark replacement. These mortgage notes were supported by biannual mortgage payments on agricultural and industrial property.

On 30 August 1924, the Reichsmark was adopted, providing a permeant Papiermark replacement. Unlike its predecessor, the Reichsmark was a gold standard currency. In similar respect to the abandoned pre-war Goldmark (1984-1914). Thus pegging the Reichsmark's value to Germany's proven gold reserves. This allowed the German economy to eventual re-stabilize. Which was later exploited by the National Socialist, to rapidly remobilize the German military.

This rapid mobilization creating an enormous demand for certain types of metal. Particularly after the outbreak of WWII (1939-1945). Post-1939 Reichsmark coinage was minted from metals of lesser strategic/military importance. Leading to a considerable drop in durability and overall quality.

Overall the Reichsmark served throughout the Inter-War Years (1924-1933), WWII (1939-1945) and into the Soviet-Allied occupation of Germany. Ending with the adoption of the West and East German Mark. On 20 June 1948 and 23 June 1948, respectively. Notably only coins without swastika emblems were used used, in post-war circulation.


The observe is the least damaged side of the coin. Its general features are fairly recognizable. The overall design is sparse and practical, owning to its wartime nature. At the center is a large number "1", symbolizing the coin's 1 Reichspfennig value. Above is the text "Reichspfennig" and below is a pair of oak leaves. Between the oak leaves' stems, a letter "A" can be made out. This designates the coin as minted by Staatliche Münze Berlin (State Mint, Berlin).


The reverse featured a greater degree of corrosion and was made more legible after clean-up (SEE: "Clean-Up Photos" below). At the center is a Reichsadler (Imperial Eagle), carrying a swastika emblem. Above is the text "Deutsche Reich" (Imperial Germany), below is the mint date "1943". Identifying the coin as minted during the mid-war period. Or alternatively, a 4th year war production coin.

Clean-Up Photos

Size Comparison

A Reichpfennig coin with a US Penny for comparison.

Additional Notes

  • The Mark was a medieval German unit of weight, equal to 249 g (about 1/2 pound or 8 oz)

  • The term Wartime Reichsmark/pfennig is used to describe coins minted from 1940-1945.

  • Pre-1940, Reichspfennig were made of bronze, wartime variants emulated their overall design.

  • The Reichsmark circulated alongside the Rentenmark, including during the post-war era.

  • The Reichsmark was suppose to be replace the Rentenmark, although it remained in circulation.

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