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Home > German Coin Encyclopedia


Beginning in 1873, Germany began issuing a 1 Pfennig coin to replace the variety of similarly-sized, copper coins used by the German States.  This was the introduction of a unified coinage following the creation of the German Empire in 1871.  The design of the new 1 Pfennig was simple.  A large 1 dominated the center of the obverse.  The legend "Deutches Reich" identified the coin as being from Germany.  The date appeared on the right side and the word "Pfennig" appeared below.  The central design on the reverse was a stylized German Imperial Eagle with a shield on its chest and a crown and ribbon above.  Two mintmarks appeared at the base of the reverse, one on each side.  For this series of 1 Pfennigs, the following mints produced coins:

A - Berlin
B - Hannover
C - Frankfurt
D - Munchen (Munich)
E - Dresden (1872-1887); Muldenhutten (1887-1889)
F - Stuttgart
G - Karlsruhe
H - Darmstadt
J - Hamburg

Mintages varied depending on the year and the mint.  In 1875, the Berlin Mint produced a record 64,668,670 million coins.  The lowest mintage of 51,776 occurred in 1873 at the Munich Mint.  The rarest coin in this series is the 1887-E 1 Pfennig with a thick period after the word Pfennig, of which only 25 were made, supposedly the last of the 1 Pfennigs issued at Dresden before the changeover to the Muldenhutten Mint.

This series is loaded with coins that are very rare in high grade.  Among the rarest are any of the 1873 issues, most of the coins minted at Darmstadt, the 1876-J, and either of the two 1877 issues.

These are all of the possible date and mintmark combinations for the Small Eagle 1 Pfennigs:

1873: A B D
1874: A B C D E F G H
1875: A B C D E F G H J
1876: A B C D E F G H J
1877: A B
1885: A E G J
1886: A D E F G J
1887: A D E F G J
1888: A D E F G J
1889: A D E F G J