Austria, 20 heller, 1916

First, I must confess a weakness, a lapse of my discipline. The bag that I had been pulling all of the other Coins of the Day from is empty. I succumbed to temptation and sorted the entire remainder of the bag, integrating it into my collection. Today’s coin comes from a NEW bag of foreign coins that I purchased at the Vienna (Virginia) Coin Show in late April. There’s the debut coin from that purchase.

Austria, 20 heller, 1916 (KM #2826)


Now here's a coin with some history! In 1892, the kingdoms of Austria and Hungary merged to form the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a formidable political entity in central and eastern Europe at the turn of the century. Each half of the empire kept a separate currency, but mutually managed them to be at par and interchangeable. The multi-national nature of the empire is symbolized on this coin by a complete lack of text. Even the denomination is only marked with numerals. This helped the coin circulate among the polyglot peoples of the far-flung empire. However, the stress of World War I drove the currencies into debasement. Today's coin was minted two years into the war, and is made from iron, a poor corrosion-prone metal for coinage that is used only in times of severe necessity. By the end of the war in 1918, this coin's buying power had been eradicated by inflation. Austria eventually replaced the imperial krone with the Austrian schilling in 1925, quite a few years after the union with Hungary was dissolved.

Mintage is 130,770,000
Metal Iron
Weight 3.5 g
Diameter 21 mm
Thickness 1.25 mm
Shape Round
Orientation Medal alignment
Demonetized yes
yes

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