The About this sound Pfennig (help·info) (German pronunciation: [ˈpfɛnɪç], abbreviation Pf, symbol ₰), plural About this sound Pfennige (help·info), is an old German coin or note, which existed from the 9th century until the introduction of the euro in 2002.
While a valuable coin during the Middle Ages, it lost its value through the years and was the minor coin of the Mark currencies in the German Reich, the former Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), and after the German reunification in the present Federal Republic of Germany until the introduction of the euro. Pfennig was also the name of the subunit of the Danzig mark (1922–1923) and the Danzig gulden (1923–1939) in the Free City of Danzig (German: Freie Stadt Danzig; Polish: Wolne Miasto Gdańsk).
As a currency sign the letter 'd' for 'denarius' in German kurrent script was used: ₰. This abbreviation has nearly fallen out of use since the 1950s, with the demise and eventual abolition of the Reichsmark with its Reichspfennig. The symbol is encoded in Unicode at U+20B0 ₰ german penny sign (HTML: ₰).
The British penny is etymologically related to the 'Pfennig', the Swedish penning, which was also model for the Finnish penni (1860–2001), the Polish fenig (1917–1918) and the fening of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1998–today).
The etymology of the Pfennig is not completely clear, but seems to rely on the way coins were minted during the Middle Ages: the base material were thin flat metal discs. The value was embossed from one side, creating a pan (German Pfanne)-like coin.
In some German countries (such as Prussia and Bavaria), coins had similar but different names, as Pfenning, Penning, Pending, Pfanding and Penny. This was for better handling due to different currencies (of different states within the Deutscher Bund) used simultaneously.