A denga was a Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n monetary unit with a value latterly equal to ½ kopeck (100 kopecks = 1 Russian ruble
Russian ruble
The ruble or rouble is the currency of the Russian Federation and the two partially recognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Formerly, the ruble was also the currency of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union prior to their breakups. Belarus and Transnistria also use currencies with...


Production of dengas as minted coins began in the middle of the 14th century. In their earliest form they were imitations of the silver coinage of the khans of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

, usually bearing blundered or meaningless legends. Weighing about a gram
The gram is a metric system unit of mass....

, they were prepared by cutting silver wire into measured lengths, beating each length flat, and then striking the resulting blank between two die
Coining (mint)
In minting, coining is the process of manufacturing coins using a kind of stamping which is now generically known in metalworking as "coining".A coin die is one of the two metallic pieces that are used to strike one side of a coin...

s. This resulted in coins of a slightly elongated shape, often showing traces of the original wire from which they had been taken. From the time of Dmitry Donskoy onwards the coins began to take a more Russian form, with depictions of people, animals and Russian legends, although the presence of legends partly in Arabic (the language of the Horde) persisted on some coins until the time of Ivan III.

Dengas were produced only in the southern Russian principalities, with the state of Novgorod and the City of Pskov
Pskov is an ancient city and the administrative center of Pskov Oblast, Russia, located in the northwest of Russia about east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River. Population: -Early history:...

 producing their own slightly larger coins. In 1535 a reform took place, with the northern "novgorodka" being valued at twice the southern denga or "moskovka". In the 1540s the production of novgorodkas depicting a horseman with a spear (Russian kop'e) began, and the larger coins were thenceforth known as kopek
Kopek or Köpek may refer to:*A Kopek, 1/100th of a Ruble*A Kopek, 1/100th of a Ukrainian hryvnia*Kopek , an Irish rock band*Sa'd al-Din Köpek , court administrator under Seljuq Sultans of Rum...

The minting of silver dengas seems to have decreased after the 16th century, as they are found less frequently in hoards, but they are known up until the reign of Peter the Great. By that time the devaluation of the coinage had proceeded to such an extent that they weighed only about 0.14 grams, and were of little practical use. In the coinage reform of 1700 they reappeared as much larger copper coins, and mintage continued, off and on, until 1916, just before the Romanov dynasty ended in 1917.

While coins minted in the 18th Century invariably showed the denomination as Denga, during parts of the 19th Century this was replaced by the word Denezhka, the diminutive form of Denga. Later still the denomination was shown simply as ½ Kopeck.

The plural form of Denga, Den'gi (Деньги) has become the usual Russian word for 'money'


  • Peter the Great (1700–1718)
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  • Ivan VI of Russia
    Ivan VI of Russia
    Ivan VI Antonovich of Russia , was proclaimed Emperor of Russia in 1740, as an infant, although he never actually reigned. Within less than a year, he was overthrown by the Empress Elizabeth of Russia, Peter the Great's daughter...

  • Elizabeth Petrovna (1743–1754, 1757–1760)
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    Peter III of Russia
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  • Catherine II of Russia
    Catherine II of Russia
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     (1764, 1766–1775, 1783–1796)
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    Paul I of Russia
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(19th Century mintage to follow)

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