Some people who buy old houses find treasure — caches of money, bearer bonds, or jewelry squirreled away beneath floorboards, behind a loose block in the basement, or in a secret compartment in the attic. Unfortunately, we haven’t found anything remotely like that in our new house — which actually is an old house, built in the early 1900s.
We have, however, found a 5 pfennig coin. It was issued in 1950 by the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, or the Federal Republic of Germany — that is, the Cold War era, pre-unification West Germany. We do live in German Village now, after all, so finding an old German coin is apt. It makes me wonder if perhaps one of the former owners of this house took a trip back to the Fatherland in the years after World War II, got this coin on his trip, and simply paid no attention to it when he found it in his pocket upon his return.
The pfennig was the equivalent of the penny in the years before Germany switched to Euro, and the pfennig and the penny are linguistically related. It’s also interesting, and a bit galling, that the value of German coins plummeted as of 1950, the year of our coin. During the years immediately after the end of World War II, before the Federal Republic became the national government in 1949, some German states got together and minted Deutches Lander coins that are of interest to collectors. Once the Federal Republic took over, however, its coins became commonplace, so our 5 pfennig coin has no real value — except as blog fodder and a good luck charm.
If only our prior owner had returned to the homeland a few years earlier!