Volksmünzen, Coins Of The German Democratic Republic: 5 Pfennig (East Germany, 1949)-Article

Updated: Feb 3

This German coin is a 2nd year East German 5 Pfennig, dated 1949. Formally known as the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR), the German Democratic Republic (1948-1990). The DDR was the eastern, Soviet supported, successor of the Großdeutsches Reich (1933-1945). The DDR was disbanded with the reunification of Germany, on 3 October 1990.

The coin is a smooth-edged design made of aluminum and weighs 0.1.1 g. Its dimensions are 19mm (0.75 in) wide and 1.6mm (0.063) in thick. Making it roughly similar in size to a US Penny (19.05/0.75 in), in that respect.


The observe utilizes a a fairly simple and practical design. A testament to the austerity the period it minted and the general political mentality of the DDR. The center features a large number "5", its surface is raised and angular. To the far left and right are 4-pointed stars, one of the observer's few embellishments. Above is the text "Deutschland" (Germany) and below "Pfennig".


The reverse is sparse features a large cog beneath a large spike of wheat. The cog represents the industrial worker, while the wheat spike represents the peasant (farm laborer). The wheat spikes stem splits the coin's issue date, 1949. With "19" on the left and "49" to the right.

The 1952 version of the 5 pfennig features an altered reverse. It replaces original cog and wheat design, with a hammer and compass, flanked by 2 wheat spikes. The hammer representing the industrial worker and the compass representing the intellectual/specialized laborer.

Size Comparison

A 5 Pfennig coin with a US Penny for scale.
A 5 Pfennig coin with a US Penny for scale.

Additional Notes

  • The East German Mark ISO code was DDM, it used M as it's official symbol.

  • Just as previous German Marks, the East German Mark was divided into 100 Pfennig.

  • East German coins were nicknamed "alu-chips", because they were minted from aluminum.

  • Common coins ranged from 1 Pfennig to 2 Marks, hence why banknotes began at 5 Marks.

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