Until the 16th century, no monetary unit in the world was divided into 100 small coins. The first was our Russian ruble, which after the reform of Elena Glinskaya in 1535 consisted of 100 kopecks.
There are many versions of the origin of the name of this small Russian coin. For example, Vladimir Dal believed that the name “kopeck” comes from the word “to save”. But, according to a more common version, the name comes from the image on the coin of George the Victorious, striking a snake with a spear. True, some researchers believe that the grand duke was depicted on the coins of the 16th century, by the way, also with a spear. Accordingly, according to this version, the penny got its name from the word "spear".
Nowadays, pennies are not often found in circulation, but since the time of Peter the Great, it was divided into ½ part (money), ¼ part (half) and even 1/8 part (half half). Even during the Soviet Union from 1925 to 1928. coins with a denomination of half a kopeck were issued.
Until 1704, kopecks were made of silver. It was only by the decree of Peter the Great that they began to stamp from copper in Russia. At that time, an unskilled worker received from 5 to 8 kopecks a day. Is it a lot or a little? For example, a pood of bread (16kg) at that time cost 10 kopecks, and a pood of meat - 30.
During the First World War, banknotes in denominations of 1 to 50 kopecks were put into circulation in Russia. In this harsh time, metal had to be saved.
In Soviet times, after the monetary reform of 1961, the penny also had a certain "weight". This coin could buy a box of matches, a glass of soda without syrup, or a slice of bread in the dining room.
By the way, there was a legend in the Soviet Union that 1 kopeck of 1961 was made of gold. Many even tried to sell it at a price many times higher than the face value. But, here they were disappointed: this coin was stamped from a copper-zinc alloy, therefore, it had no special value.
With the help of Soviet coins, small objects could be weighed. A 1 kopeck coin weighed exactly 1 gram, 2 kopecks - 2 grams, 3 kopecks - 3 grams and 5 kopecks - 5 grams. If a lot of such trifles were brought to the store, the sellers did not bother themselves with tedious counting, but simply threw coins on the scales.
Currently, the issue of coins with denominations of 1 and 5 kopecks has been discontinued. They were last manufactured in 2014. This is easy to explain: the cost of such coins is much higher than the face value. But, these coins have not been withdrawn from circulation and remain legal tender. In total, there are about 7 billion 1 kopeck coins in circulation at the moment.