from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Barile (Heavy Groschen), Florence 1506

Groschen is the name given to various coins . The word is borrowed from the late Latin name of the Turnosen , the grossus denarius Turnosus, in German "thick denarius of Tours ". Groschen was often abbreviated as gl in older documents , but the second character is not a l (12th letter of the alphabet), but an abbreviation character; later with Gr or g .

History of the coinage

middle Ages

Tyrolean groschen around 1280

Count Meinhard II of Tyrol had the first German groschen minted in Merano in 1271 . The groschen was originally a massive coin made of pure silver that was larger than the depreciated denarius . According to its character, it represents a multiple of the previous pfennig , which has been inflationarily reduced in silver fineness over the centuries . According to a source, the city of Trier is said to have struck 1104 penny-like pennies, which were then followed by the Bohemian pennies from Kuttenberg in 1300 . The new coin soon inspired other minters and, also due to economic necessity, was owed to a higher coin denomination in the early Renaissance . Upper Italian multiple pennies from the High Middle Ages were called Grossini analogously (see also Schilling ).

In 1328, Emperor Ludwig IV the Bavarian allowed Count Adolf VI. Berg minting Turnosen in Wipperfurth . The oldest groschen in what is now the Federal Republic of Germany were minted there until 1346 .

Following the example of the Tourser Grossus, the Prague groschen were minted in Kuttenberg in 1300 and around 1338/1339 the Meissen groschen in the Freiberg state mint of the Margraviate of Meißen . Both coins gained supraregional importance and had a strong influence on German coinage. The twelve pfennig groschen  was widespread. The Polish groschen or grosz at six pfennigs, which was also widespread in Silesia as Grösch (e) l or Gresch (e) l valued at 2 12 to 3 pfennigs, was only worth half .

Abbreviations for Groschen or Groten in 19th century correspondence

Modern times

German countries


Last convention penny from 1837 for the Duchy of Gotha, Gotha Mint
Groschen, 1863 Dresden VS.JPG
Groschen, 1863, Dresden RS.JPG

New penny from 1863, divided into 10 pfennigs, 30 pieces resulted in a thaler (diameter = 18 mm, Dresden mint )

Among other things, there was the white groschen in Silesia and Bohemia , in 19th century Prussia (from 1821) the silver groschen (Sgr.) For 12 pfennigs and in Saxony the new groschen (Ngr.) For 10 new pfennigs . Friedrich Wilhelm III. von Prussia could not yet decide in favor of the consistent introduction of the decimal system. In order to be able to distinguish his new pfennigs from the old ones, they were called pfennings.

The penny, like the penny, sank from a curant coin to a divisional coin . In Prussia, the groschen had already become a dividing coin in the 18th century.

The last German Kurantgroschen (with regard to the simple nominal value) were brought out in the Kingdom of Saxony in 1827 and 1828 and in the Duchy of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha in 1837 according to the convention rate , according to which the silver contained in 320 groschen had to correspond to the weight of one Cologne mark (233.856 grams) .

In the German-speaking world, the groschen was usually worth 12 pfennigs; many regional (small) groschen, e.g. B. Neugroschen, Groten (plural: Grote) in Northern Germany, engl. Groat , Mariengroschen, Grösch (e) l were valued between 2½ and 10 pfennigs. The later coin denomination “ Kreuzer ” at 4 Pfennig was also created from the linguistic abbreviation of the small cross-dollar.

A special feature with regard to the indication of the value of taler coins is the series of butterfly coins of the Electorate of Saxony. All these coins only show the value in groschen, whereby the abbreviation customary for correspondence was used for the designation as groschen on the coins. Likewise, for the golden imperial gulden from Electoral Saxony at 21 groschen (1584), the groschen indication was used with the abbreviation as for correspondence. Probably in this case it should be expressed that it is a distinct bill coin. Another special case are the Kippertaler , where the value in groschen (or kreuzer) is also stamped to circumvent the Reichsmünzordnung . Also of interest are thalers, which were minted at 28 and 24 groschen without any differences in the coin image and diameter. The 24 groschen, for example a few garter coins, are also pronounced bill coins, which is sometimes not recognized.

After the introduction of the 100 Pfennig mark in Germany in 1871, the Groschen was no longer used as an independent coin .


10 Groschen 1984 (value side) .jpg
10 Groschen 1984 (picture side) .jpg

10 groschen, Austria 1984

From 1924 to 1938 and from 1945 to 2001, the groschen was the hundredth part of the Austrian schilling . In the plural, "the groschen" meant a (part) amount of money less than a shilling or a number of coins with denominations of groschen. Lovingly to disdainfully, there was also the diminutive form (the) “Groscherl” for the “Zehnerln” and even smaller coins, e.g. B. "three ten groscherln".

The 2 groschen coin made of aluminum alloy with a diameter of 18 mm is the lightest groschen coin with a weight of 0.9 grams. The bronze, thinner and somewhat smaller 1 groschen coin of the First Republic weighed 1.6 grams, the zinc groschen, which appeared only in 1947, weighed 1.8 grams.

After the annexation of Austria , the coins of two and one groschen were equated with coins of one and two Reichspfennig by the Reichsbank and were considered a means of payment throughout the entire Reich . Conversely, immediately after the Second World War, the 1 Reichspfennig coin in Austria was regarded as the 1 Groschen coin.

Immediately before the changeover to the euro currency, 50, 10 and (rarely) 5 groschen coins were still in circulation. The 2 and 1 groschen coins had practically not been used since 1970, the 20 groschen coins went out of circulation in 1959.


The grosze (copper groschen) minted in the Grünthal mint and in Guben under August III, King of Poland and as Elector of Saxony, Friedrich August II. (1733–1763 ) had a value of three Szelągi (copper shillings). Between 1815 and 1860, and since 1924, the Grosz (plural nominative: Grosze, plural genitive: Groszy ) was the hundredth part of the Polish zloty .

Groschen in everyday language

Groschen 1941.jpg
10 Pfennig coin (Reichsmark, 1941)
Mk Groschen.jpg
10 Pfennig coin (Deutsche Mark)

10 Pfennig DDR value side.JPG
10 pfennig coin (GDR mark)
10 cent coin Eu series 1.png
10 cent coin (euro area)

German-speaking area

Without prejudice to the decimation of the German monetary system was or is in northern and central Germany - and in those areas where prior to 1871 the split in dimes dollars was - also common to the 10-penny coin and the 10 cent coin penny to call.

The penny was so widespread that it found its way into many idioms and object descriptions, regardless of the face value of a particular coin. This is how you say “the penny has fallen” when someone has finally understood something. The frequent use for a specific purpose also led to terms that suggest an independent object, such as park groschen, as well as to purely analogous transfers such as the nest egg . Items that could be obtained cheaply were groschen goods or groschen books; this meaning is also evident in the title of Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera . The Groscherl business in Austria denotes a hardly worthwhile effort or very little profit.


In Russian , the word Grosch a synonym for small change . In Russia the grosch (a copper coin worth 2  kopecks ) had been around since the 17th century. Although it no longer exists, there is still a saying: "It doesn't cost a broken penny", which means: "The thing has no value".

Ukraine, Turkey, Albania

Hroši (Гроші), the Ukrainian word for “money”, and kuruş, 1100 of the Turkish lira , are also derived from “groschen”. The Albanian "grosh" is borrowed from Turkish .

See also


Reception, use of words

  • Ludwig van Beethoven , Rondo a capriccio for piano in G major op.129, popular title by his biographer and secretary Anton Schindler : Anger over the lost penny (06:25 min)
  • Idioms:
    • Whoever does not honor the penny is not worth the shilling
    • The penny falls - suddenly understand something (as suddenly as a penny coin spinning on edge lies down)
  • Bertolt Brecht: Threepenny Opera
  • Exhibition March 8 to May 20, 2002 in the fire department museum Groß St. Florian about coin-operated machines: The penny falls

Web links

Commons : Groschen  - collection of images, videos, and audio files
Wiktionary: Groschen  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Pfeifer : Etymological Dictionary of German. Academy, Berlin 1989 and other editions, s. v. ( online ); Smart. Etymological dictionary of the German language . Edited by Elmar Seebold . 25th, revised and expanded edition. De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2011, s. v .; Arthur Suhle: Cultural history of the coins. Battenberg, Munich 1969, p. 117. - According to another thesis cited in Arthur Suhle: Deutsche Münz- und Geldgeschichte from the beginnings to the 15th century, Battenberg, Munich 1964, p. 157, the designation should be based on the double cross = Crossus can be traced back to the original coinage, which was depicted on many coins of this type up to around 1500 and was then later replaced by the imperial orb with the number 24 until the 18th century.
  2. Austria> 2 Groschen> 2nd Republic coin catalog, accessed February 20, 2017.
  3. Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft (ed.): Official Gazette of the Reichsbahndirektion Mainz of August 13, 1938, No. 37. Announcement No. 501, p. 219.
  4. For the set 2 to 4, 22 to 24, 32 to 34 etc., plural nominative is used in the Polish language , the set 5 to 21, 25 to 31, 35 to 41 etc. plural genitive. Therefore the coins are labeled with “2 GROSZE” but “5 GROSZY”.
  5. Distribution map in the "Atlas of everyday German language"
  6. Austrian dictionary . 42., revised. Ed. By order of the Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture. öbv, Vienna 2012, p. v.
  7. Pasticcio with Teresa Vogl broadcast January 9, 2016, 8:20 a.m., Ö1-Radio,, audible for 7 days.
  8. ^ "The penny falls" - in the Styrian Fire Brigade Museum , Kulturmagazin korso, Graz, March 2002.