Obverse. Photo © Heritage Auctions
  • 1 Kopeck 1916, KM# 21, Germany, Empire, William II
  • 1 Kopeck 1916, KM# 21, Germany, Empire, William II

During the First World War Germany invaded Russia and occupied large areas in Western parts of the Russian Empire included Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. For the occupied lands German military authors issued 1, 2, and 3 Kopecks coins and some banknotes.

The First World War was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history. Over nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a result of the war.

The war drew in all the world's economic great powers, assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on the Triple Entente of the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) versus the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary.

The Russian government collapsed in March 1917, and a revolution in November followed by a further military defeat brought the Russians to terms with the Central Powers via the Treaty of Brest Litovsk, which granted the Germans a significant victory. After a stunning German offensive along the Western Front in the spring of 1918, the Allies rallied and drove back the Germans in a series of successful offensives. On 4 November 1918, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to an armistice, and Germany, which had its own trouble with revolutionaries, agreed to an armistice on 11 November 1918, ending the war in victory for the Allies.


The legend 'The area of the Commander in Chief of the East' (then it was Paul von Hindenburg) appears between some oak leaves.

Oak leaves, used as a symbol for many centuries, have featured on coins in Germany since the Munich Coin Treaty of 1837. This was an agreement between states in southern and central Germany establishing a common currency area.



A stylized version of an Iron Cross containing the denomination in Kopeks (in Cyrillic), the currency of the occupied lands, and the date.

The Iron Cross was a military decoration in the Kingdom of Prussia, and later in the German Empire (1871–1918) and Nazi Germany (1933–1945). It was established by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia in March 1813 backdated to the birthday of his late wife Queen Louise on 10 March 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars. Louise was the first person to receive this decoration. The recommissioned Iron Cross was also awarded during the Franco-Prussian War, World War I, and World War II (re-introduced with a swastika added in the center). The Iron Cross was normally a military decoration only, though there were instances of it being awarded to civilians for performing military functions.

The design of the cross symbol was black with a white or silver outline. It was ultimately derived from the cross pattée occasionally used by the Teutonic Order from the 13th century. The black cross patty was also used as the symbol of the German Army from 1871 to March/April 1918, when it was replaced by the Balkenkreuz. In 1956, it was re-introduced as the symbol of the Bundeswehr, the modern German armed forces.



1 Kopeck

Military Coinage
KM# 21 Schön# 1
Material Iron
Weight 2.9 g
Diameter 21.5 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Berlin State Mint (A)
Hamburg Mint (J)

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