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Pesa 1890
1890 coin
General information

Flag of the German East Africa Company German East Africa


164 rupie



Measurements and composition

6.21 g


25.2 mm


1.5 mm










Reichsadler, issuing authority, year


Wreath, issuing authority, year

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The 1 pesa coin is a circulation piece of German East Africa, a former colony of the German Empire that consisted of what is now the entire territory of Burundi and Rwanda, much of Tanzania, and parts of Kenya and Mozambique. Produced at the Berlin Mint from 1890 to 1892, the coin was distributed under the authority of the German East Africa Company. Prior to its eventual demonetization, the piece carried a legal tender face value equivalent to 164 of a rupie.

The pesa has the roughly the same composition and measurements as the ¼ anna coin of British India. Commonly known as a paisa, the Indian piece carried a value of 164 rupees in its location of origin at the time of the German coin's minting. Both were valid legal tender in German East Africa until the decimalization of the rupie in 1904.

The piece is composed of copper, weighs approximately 6.21 grams, and measures 25.2 millimeters in diameter and 1.5 millimeters in thickness. It has medallic alignment and a plain edge, and like most coins, is round in shape. The rims of both the obverse and reverse are raised and undecorated.

Featured in the middle of the obverse, inside of a solid circular border, is the rendition of the German Empire's Reichsadler (Imperial Eagle) introduced under Kaiser William II (German: Wilhelm II; 1859–1941) in 1889. Such a heraldic illustration consists of a large single-headed eagle with a small coat of arms of Prussia on its breast, and with outspread legs and wings. The Prussian arms is surrounded by the chain of the Order of the Black Eagle, and the eagle is surmounted by the German State Crown. Printed along the coin's upper rim, outside of the circular border enclosing the Reichsadler, is "DEUTSCH-OSTAFRIKANISCHE GESELLSCHAFT", the German name of the German East Africa Company. Such text travels in a clockwise direction, extending from the lower left to right rims. The Gregorian date of minting appears in Western Arabic numerals at the bottom of the piece, curved in a counterclockwise direction. The name of the German East Africa company and the date are separated by two circular points. Printed on two lines at the top of the reverse is the Arabic text "شراكة المانيا" (Romanized: šarā'ika almānyā), which translates as "Company of Germany". While German was declared the official language of German East Africa, Arabic was also spoken in the coastal parts of Tanganyika annexed from Zanzibar. The Islamic date of minting is written horizontally under the text in Eastern Arabic numbers, and is accompanied below by the word "سنة" (Romanized: sana), meaning "year". All of the aforementioned reverse elements are enclosed within a solid circular border. Extending along the rim of the reverse, outside of the border, is a wreath.

A total of approximately 41,092,000 examples of the pesa coin were produced over a span of three years. Most were minted as business strikes, although according to the Standard Catalog of World Coins, an undisclosed number of proofs were reportedly also made for 1890.

Dates Mintage
Gregorian Islamic
1890 ١٣٠٧ (1307) 1,000,000*
1891 ١٣٠٨ (1308) 12,551,000
1892 ١٣٠٩ (1309) 27,541,000
Total 41,092,000
* A small number of proofs were struck in 1890


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