German East African Small Change

From 1891 to 1919, Germany occupied the mainland territories of the current African state of Tanzania, as well as Rwanda and Burundi, and small portions of what are now Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique. This territory was known as German East Africa (Deutsch-Ostafrika).

The colony fell at the end of World War I after a notoriously civil wartime conflict between the German imperial garrison, their famous African Askari troops and some South African gentlemen including my grandfather.

germaneastafrica_1heller_1911_obv germaneastafrica_1heller_1911_rev

This pre-war bronze coin with its beautiful, chocolate patina is an example of the small change that circulated in the colony. The obverse depicts the imperial crown of Germany and the “J” mintmark on the reverse indicates that this particular coin was struck in Hamburg.

(First published on Facebook on 17 April 2016.)