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Cent
Belizeonecentwave
1996 coin
General information
Country

Flag of Belize Belize
Flag of British Honduras Colonial Belize

Value

Bz$0.01

Years

19732015

Measurements and composition
Mass
  • 2.59 g (1973-1976)
  • 0.79 g (1976-2015)
  • 3.05 g (silver; 1974-1985)
Diameter

19.51 mm

Thickness

1.3 mm

Composition
Appearance
Shape
  • scalloped
  • round (commemorative; 1974)
Alignment

medallic

Edge
  • plain
  • "STERLING SILVER PROOF" (commemorative silver; 1974-1983)
Obverse

See text

Reverse

See text

v · d · e

The 1 cent coin is a current circulation and former commemorative piece of Belize. It was issued in eleven types from 1973 to 2015 by the Central Bank of Belize and its predecessors, the Monetary Authority of Belize and Board of Commissioners of Currency. Because Belize lacks an official mint of its own, production of each type was outsourced to foreign coining facilities. The two circulating cents and one of the commemorative types were struck at the Royal Mint of the United Kingdom, while the nine commemorative pieces were manufactured at the Franklin Mint in the United States.

Eight types of bronze 1 cent pieces were issued by the colony of British Honduras from 1885 to 1973. When the colony was renamed to Belize in 1973, the coins in circulation were updated to reflect the change, resulting in the introduction of the first Belizean cent later that year. This initial piece, which was composed of bronze, was then struck annually until 1976, when it was replaced by an aluminum type of the same design. The aluminum coin was issued under colonial authority until 1980, and continued to be manufactured after Belize's independence from 1982 to 2015.

Four editions of non-circulating commemorative cents were also issued from 1974 to 1985. The first was issued in 1974 in bronze and sterling silver, while the second was produced from 1975 to 1976 in the same metals and from 1977 to 1981 in aluminum and silver. For the third edition, aluminum and silver versions were minted from 1982 to 1983, and for the fourth, an aluminum piece was struck in 1984 and silver coins were manufactured in 1984 and 1985.

All eleven types of the Belizean cent are legal tender in their country of origin, each carrying a face value of 0.01 Belize dollar, the equivalent of 0.005 United States dollar. However, because of their low purchasing power, their use in circulation has been declining within the past few years.

CoinsEdit

Coins of British Honduras (1885–1973)Edit

Main article: British Honduran 1 cent coin

British Honduras issued eight types of bronze cents from 1885 to 1973. At least one type was minted under each reigning British monarch during this period, excluding King Edward VIII (1894–1972; r. 1936), who abdicated before any British Honduran coins bearing his likeness could be introduced.

Circulation coins of Belize (1973–2015)Edit

Belize 1 cent 1974

1974 coin

Belize 1 cent 1983

1983 coin

In anticipation of independence from the United Kingdom, British Honduras was officially renamed Belize on June 1, 1973. However, facing obstacles from neighboring Guatemala, which continues to maintain a long-standing claim over the territory of Belize, the colony did not become independent until September 21, 1981. Upon becoming a sovereign state, Belize joined the Commonwealth of Nations as a Commonwealth realm, thereby acknowledging the reigning British monarch as its head of state.

The first series of Belizean coins, consisting of denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents, was introduced from 1973 to 1974. Aside from the state title on the reverse, all five of these initial coins are virtually identical to their British Honduran counterparts. They were struck under contract at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales, and designed by British sculptor Cecil Thomas (1885–1976). The bronze 1 cent piece of the series was first released in 1973 and then struck annually until its discontinuation in 1976.

In an attempt to reduce the cost of manufacturing coins, in 1976 the Monetary Authority of Belize began issuing the 1 and 5 cent pieces in aluminum instead of bronze and nickel-brass. Since then, both coins have continued to be manufactured in aluminum at the Royal Mint. The 1 cent piece was last struck in 2015.

Both metal varieties of the Belizean cent measure 19.51 millimeters in diameter and 1.3 millimeters in thickness. The aluminum coin is noticeably lighter, weighing 0.79 grams compared to the bronze piece's 2.59 grams. Regardless of composition, the cent has medallic alignment; raised, undecorated rims; and a plain edge. It is scalloped in shape, having 12 rounded notches.

A portrait of a young Queen Elizabeth II (1926–; r. 1952–), the current British monarch, appears in the center of the obverse. In this depiction, the monarch is shown facing right and wearing a necklace and St. Edward's Crown, one of the most recognizable Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Printed clockwise from the coin's upper right to upper left rims is the caption "QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND".

A large numeral "1" representing the coin's face value is engraved inside a circular border of leaves in the middle of the reverse. Printed clockwise along the periphery above is the state title "BELIZE", and engraved in the opposite direction below is the written-out value, "ONE CENT", followed by the Gregorian date of minting. Small decorative elements are displayed at the coin's left and right rims, with small circular points above and below each.

A total of over 5,400,000 bronze coins and an unknown number of aluminum pieces were manufactured. With the exception of an unknown amount of Brilliant Uncirculated coins from 1992, only business strikes of both compositions are known to exist.

Mintages
Bronze (1973–1976)
1973 400,000
1974 2,000,000
1975 Unknown
1976 3,000,000
Total > 5,400,000
Aluminum (1976–2015)
1976 2,049,999
1979 2,505,000
1980 1,505,000
1982 Unknown
1983 Unknown
1986 Unknown
1987 Unknown
1989 Unknown
1990 Unknown
1991 Unknown
1992 Unknown
1994 Unknown
1996 Unknown
1998 Unknown
2000 Unknown
2002 Unknown
2005 Unknown
2007 Unknown
2010 Unknown
2012 Unknown
2015 Unknown

Swallow-tailed kite coins (1974–1985)Edit

First design (1974)Edit

Belize 1 cent 1974 kite

Bronze coin

In 1974, Monetary Authority of Belize authorized the production of a commemorative coin series featuring bird species native to Belize. The pieces, consisting of denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents and 1, 5, and 10 dollars, were struck in base metal and silver at the Franklin Mint, a private mint located in the United States, and designed by Italian British sculptor Michael Rizzello (1926–2004). They were intended exclusively for collectors, and as a result, never circulated in large quantities.

The base metal cent is composed of a bronze alloy and measures 2.59 grams in mass, 19.51 millimeters in diameter, and 1.3 millimeters in thickness. Its silver counterpart is heavier, measuring 3.05 grams in mass, but otherwise has the same measurements. Regardless of composition, the piece has medallic alignment, and like most coins, is round in shape. The edge of the bronze type is plain, whereas the edge of the silver piece is smooth and inscribed with "STERLING SILVER PROOF". Both rims of each metal variety are raised and decorated with a beaded border.

The coat of arms of colonial Belize is engraved in the center of the obverse. Such an illustration features a central escutcheon divided into thirds and supported by two Belizean men, one holding an axe and the other an oar. From the upper left to the bottom, the thirds in the escutcheon depict a crossing axe and paddle superimposed by the British flag, a crossing axe and saw, and a sailing ship. In the arms, a mahogany tree (Swietenia macrophylla) is displayed above the escutcheon, and a ribbon bearing the national motto "SUB UMBRA FLOREO" (Latin for "Under the shade I flourish") is featured below. On the coin, the state title "BELIZE" is curved clockwise above the coat of arms, while the Gregorian date of minting, "1974", is engraved in the opposite direction below the arms. In addition, the "FM" mark of the Franklin Mint is engraved in small print to the right of the motto in the arms. All of the aforementioned elements are enclosed within a circular border of leaves, a symbol also included on the unofficial civil flag of Belize during the period.

An illustration of two swallow-tailed kites, one in the foreground and the other in the background, is displayed in the middle of the reverse. The bird portrayed on the piece, a year-round resident of South America, flies to Belize and other coastal areas of North America to breed during the summer. Printed clockwise along the rim above the kites is the face value "ONE CENT".

Around 246,000 copper and 31,000 silver pieces were manufactured during a single year of production. Of these, 225,000 of the bronze coins were struck with a standard finish and 21,000 bronze and all 31,000 silver pieces were minted as proofs. Around 4,506 of the standard coins were distributed in official mint sets and all of the proofs were issued in proof sets by the Monetary Authority of Belize.

Mintages
Bronze
1974 225,000
1974 Proof 21,000
Total 246,000
Silver
1974 Proof 31,000

Second design (1975–1981)Edit

Belize 1 cent 1975 kite

1975 bronze coin

Belize 1 cent 1978 kite

1978 aluminum coin

Belize 1 cent 1976 kite silver

1976 silver coin

In 1975, the Monetary Authority of Belize continued its coin series for the avifauna of Belize. Like the previous series, the 1975–1981 series consisted of base metal and sterling silver 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cent and 1, 5, and 10 dollar coins. To coincide with the introduction of aluminum 1 and 5 cent coins for circulation in 1976, the composition of the corresponding commemorative coins was changed to aluminum in 1977. Also, the shape of the cent was modified to more accurately mirror the coin in circulation.

The bronze, silver, and aluminum versions of the coin measure 19.51 millimeters in diameter and 1.3 millimeters in thickness, and respectively weigh 2.59, 3.05, and 0.79 grams in mass. They have medallic alignment and are scalloped with 12 rounded notches. The edge of the bronze and aluminum coins is plain, while the edge of the silver piece is smooth and inscribed with the text "STERLING SILVER PROOF". Both sides of each metal variety are raised and decorated with a beaded border.

The emblem of colonial Belize appears in the center of the obverse, the state title "BELIZE" engraved in a clockwise direction above and the Gregorian date of minting displayed in the opposite direction below. Engraved in small print to the right of the motto in the arms if the "FM" mark of the Franklin Mint. All of these elements are shown within a circular border of leaves.

Two swallow-tailed kites are featured in the middle of the reverse, one in the foreground and the other in the background. The face value "1 CENT" is shown above, the numeral rendered horizontally in large print and the following word curved clockwise in a smaller font at the upper right rim.

Around 259,541 bronze coins were minted from 1975 to 1976, followed by 259,494 aluminum pieces from 1977 to 1981. At the same time, around 30,322 silver proofs coins were produced from 1975 to 1981. Of these, 244,000 bronze pieces were made with a standard finish, 1,854 bronze and 252,866 aluminum coins were struck with a Special Uncirculated finish, and 13,867 bronze; 6,628 aluminum, and all 30,322 silver pieces were struck with a proof finish. Of these, all of the uncirculated bronze and over 2,324 of the uncirculated aluminum coins and all of the proofs were distributed in official sets by the Monetary Authority of Belize and its successor, the current Central Bank of Belize.

Mintages
Bronze
1975 118,000
1975 Proof 8,794
1975 Uncirculated 1,095
1976 126,000
1976 Proof 4,893
1976 Uncirculated 759
Total 259,541
Silver
1975 Proof 13,000
1976 Proof 5,897
1977 Proof 3,197
1978 Proof 3,342
1979 Proof 2,445
1980 Proof 1,826
1981 Proof 615
Total 30,322
Aluminum
1977 Proof 2,107
1977 Uncirculated 126,000
1978 Proof 1,671
1978 Uncirculated 125,000
1979 Proof 1,287
1979 Uncirculated 808
1980 Proof 920
1980 Uncirculated 761
1981 Proof 643
1981 Uncirculated 297
Total 259,494

Third and fourth designs (1982–1985)Edit

The Belizean birds coin series was continued briefly after Belize's independence in 1982, but finally ended in 1985. Consisting of commemorative 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cent and 1, 5, and 10 dollar coins, the series was struck in base metal from 1982 to 1984, and in sterling silver from 1982 to 1985. The Franklin Mint was contracted to produce the coins from 1982 to 1984, and the Royal Mint was commissioned in 1985.

The aluminum and silver 1 cent pieces measure 19.51 millimeters in diameter and 1.3 millimeters in thickness and respectively weigh 0.79 and 3.05 grams. They have medallic alignment and plain edges, and are scalloped with 12 notches in shape. The rims of both sides of each piece are raised and decorated with a beaded border.

The coat of arms of independent Belize is illustrated in the middle of the obverse. Such an image is similar to the colonial arms, but the British flag is removed from the first third in the escutcheon, the Belizean men are shown standing on a grassy compartment, and a circular border of leaves forms an outer boundary. On the coin, the illustration of the arms is noticeably smaller on examples minted from 1982 to 1983 than it is on pieces struck from 1984 to 1985. Printed clockwise along the rim above is the state title "BELIZE", and inscribed in the opposite direction at the periphery below is the Gregorian date of minting. On coins struck at the Franklin Mint, the "FM" mark is additionally engraved in small print between the right supporter's leg and the leaves in the arms.

Two swallow-tailed kites are featured in the middle of the reverse, one in the foreground and the other in the background. The face value "1 CENT" is shown above, the numeral rendered horizontally in large print and the following word curved clockwise in a smaller font at the upper right rim.

Around 717 silver proof coins were struck from 1982 to 1983, and approximately 212 were manufactured in 1985. The total mintage of the aluminum coin and 1984 silver proof are currently unknown. Over 306 aluminum and 1,231 silver proofs and an unknown number of uncirculated aluminum pieces were distributed in proof and mint sets by the Central Bank of Belize.

Mintages (3rd desn.)
Aluminum
1982 Proof Unknown
1982 Uncirculated Unknown
1983 Proof Unknown
1983 Uncirculated Unknown
Silver
1982 Proof 381
1983 Proof 336
Total 717
Mintages (4th desn.)
Aluminum
1984 Proof Unknown
1984 Uncirculated Unknown
Silver
1984 Proof Unknown
1985 Proof 212

ReferencesEdit

Template:Belizean dollar

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