Currency Wiki
20 centavos
Cape Verde 20 centavos 1977
1977 coin
General information

Flag of Cape Verde Cape Verde
Flag of Portugal Colony of Cape Verde


Cifrão symbol0.20



Measurements and composition
  • 5 g (1930)
  • 1.25 g (1977-1980)
  • 25 mm (1930)
  • 21 mm (1977-1980)
  • 1.3 mm (1930)
  • 1.7 mm (1977-1980)


  • medallic (1930)
  • coin (1977-1980)
  • reeded (1930)
  • plain (1977-1980)

See text


See text

v · d · e

The 20 centavo coin is a former circulation piece of Cape Verde (Cabo Verde). It was issued in two types from 1930 to 1980, one under the former Colony of Cape Verde and the other under the independent Republic of Cape Verde. The first of the two coins was distributed by the Praia branch of the Banco Nacional Ultramarino while the second was issued by its successor, the current Bank of Cape Verde. Because the island nation lacks an official mint of its own, both types were struck at foreign coining facilities, including the Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda in Portugal and Kremnica Mint in Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia).

The first coin of the denomination was released in 1930, during the Portuguese administration of Cape Verde. Prior to its eventual demonetization, the piece carried a legal tender face value of 0.20 escudo in its territory of origin.

After Cape Verde became independent, a new 20 centavo piece was struck from 1977 to 1980. It initially circulated for a value of 0.20 escudo in Cape Verde, but because continuous inflation eventually eroded much of its purchasing power, the coin eventually disappeared from circulation. As a result, it was later withdrawn and demonetized, and is no longer used in Cape Verde.


Coin of Portuguese Cape Verde (1930)[]

Cape Verde 20 centavos 1930

1930 coin

In 1911, as a result of the 1910 Republican revolution, Portugal replaced its real with the escudo at a rate of 1,000 to 1. Its African colonies then followed suit in 1914, adopting their own versions of the escudo at the same rate of exchange. In Cape Verde, it was not until 1930 that the first coins of the new currency, consisting of denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 centavos and 1 escudo, were released into circulation by the Banco Nacional Ultramarino. During the period between 1914 and 1930, only local banknotes and coins from Portugal were used. Each of the Cape Verdean pieces was struck at the Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda in Lisbon, Portugal. The 20 centavo piece of the series was struck solely in 1930, and like all Portuguese Cape Verdean coins, was eventually withdrawn and demonetized.

The coin is composed of a bronze alloy and measures 5 grams in mass, 25 millimeters in diameter, and 1.3 millimeters in thickness. It has medallic alignment and a reeded edge, and like most coins, is round in shape. Both of the piece's rims are raised and decorated with a dentilated border.

The obverse of the coin was designed by Francisco dos Santos (1878–1930), a notable Portuguese sculptor and painter of the early 20th century. In its center, the obverse features the Effigy of the Republic, a female personification of Portugal. In this illustration, the woman in the Effigy is portrayed facing left and wearing Phrygian cap adorned with a laurel branch. The Portuguese name of Cape Verde, "CABO VERDE", accompanies the likeness on the coin, the word "CABO" inscribed clockwise to the left and the word "VERDE" engraved in the same direction to the right.

The piece's reverse was designed by Domingos Alves do Rego (1873–1960), the Chief Engraver at the Casa da Moeda in Lisbon from 1914 to 1931. Inscribed in the center of the piece is the face value "20 CENTAVOS", the numeral and following word engraved on their own lines. In this representation of the value, the "20" is rendered in significantly larger print than the following word "CENTAVOS", which is curved counterclockwise toward the bottom of the coin. Printed clockwise from the coin's lower left to lower right peripheries is the official name of Portugal, displayed in Portuguese as "REPUBLICA PORTUGUESA" without the acute in the "U" in República. Written in the opposite direction at the periphery below is the Gregorian date of minting, "1930", which is separated from the name of Portugal by two small decorative objects.

Around 1,500,000 examples of the coin were manufactured during a single year of production. Only business strikes of this particular type are known to exist.

Coin of the Republic of Cape Verde (1977–1980)[]

From 1956 to 1962, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) conducted a peaceful campaign promoting the independence of Portuguese Cape Verde and Portuguese Guinea. However, the Estado Novo regime in Portugal was unwilling to relinquish control of its African colonies, and as a result, the PAIGC entered the Portuguese Colonial War against Portugal in 1962. After the conflict ended in 1974, Cape Verde and Guinea were granted their independence, respectively becoming the nations of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau.

After independence, Cape Verde was the only former Portuguese colony in Africa to continue using the escudo. The first series of coins of the Republic, consisting of denominations of 20 and 50 centavos and 1, 2.50, 10, 20, and 50 escudos, was introduced in 1977 by the Bank of Cape Verde. All seven were struck under commission at the Kremnica Mint in Czechoslovakia. The 20 centavo coin of the series, which was struck in 1977 and 1980, was eventually withdrawn due to rising inflation and is no longer legal tender in Cape Verde.

The piece is composed of aluminum and measures 1.25 grams in mass, 21 millimeters in diameter, and 1.7 millimeters in thickness. It has coin alignment and a plain edge, and is round in shape. Both of its rims are raised and undecorated.

An illustration of the first coat of arms of independent Cape Verde appears in the middle of the obverse. Such a depiction features a black five-pointed star, book, and gear inside a circular border containing the national motto "UNIDADE · TRABALHO · PROGRESSO" (English: "Unity, Work, Progress"). In the arms, the circle itself is surrounded by a wreath of corn and displayed above a scallop shell. Printed clockwise from the coin's lower left to lower right rims is the Portuguese name of the Republic of Cape Verde, "REPÚBLICA DE CABO VERDE". Engraved in the opposite direction at the coin's lower periphery is the Gregorian date of minting, either "1977" or "1980", which is separated from the aforementioned name by two small five-pointed stars.

The face value "20 CENTAVOS" is displayed on two lines in the center of the reverse, above a depiction of a fish swimming to the right. In this value, the numeral is rendered in significantly larger print than the following word, and the first digit in the "20" slightly overlaps the second.

The total mintage of the 20 centavo piece is currently unknown. Most examples were manufactured as business strikes, although around 10,000 Brilliant Uncirculated pieces were manufactured in 1980. All of these uncirculated coins were distributed in official mint sets by the Bank of Cape Verde.


Template:Cape Verdean escudo