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German Democratic Republic (East Germany) – 10 Pfennig – 1948

While the Nazi regime was the sworn enemy of the Soviet Union, the Soviet occupation government in Germany was happy to make a set of coins nearly identical to one designed by their Nazi predecessors. The original was designed by Franz Krischker, a renowned German medalist and engraver. It was intended to replace Soviet small change in “Reichskommissariat Ukraine“. Unfortunately for the Nazis, World War II ended before this plan became a reality, and the coin remained a prototype.

Although the Nazis were defeated in 1945, their currency lived on a few more years. However, in 1948, the western Allies resolved to create a new monetary system in their occupation. By military decree, Nazi money was worthless in western Germany, and as such, eastern (Soviet-occupied) Germany was flooded with it. This, in turn, created extreme inflation, which led the Soviet authorities to create a new currency too. In their haste, they turned to Mr. Krischker to design a set of coins. Sure enough, he replicated the “ear and gear” motif exactly, and based the numeral side of the coin on his previous design as well.