- This article is about the coin of the Cuban peso. For other Cuban coins denominated at 5 centavos, see Cuban 5 centavo coin.
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Coat of arms of Cuba, value, state title
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The 5 centavo coin is a circulation coin of the Republic of Cuba that was minted from 1915 to 2015. The first type was produced sporadically from 1915 to 1961, while the second was made in 1943 only. The third type was intermittently coined from 1963 to 1972, and then again from 2001 to 2015. The coin currently holds a legal tender face value equivalent to 0.05 Cuban pesos in Cuba.
As with all Cuban coins from before 1962, the 5 centavo coins issued during that time are relatively easy to access for people of most nationalities. However, because direct trade between Cuba and the United States is illegal, it is difficult for many Americans to obtain the later 5 centavo coins.
Coins[edit | edit source]
1915–1961 coins[edit | edit source]
The first 5 centavo coin of the Cuban peso was introduced in 1915, and was produced intermittently by the United States Mint until 1961, a year before the United States Government imposed a trade embargo against the island country. Such a coin was designed by the late Charles E. Barber (1840–1917), the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, during the 1910s. The piece is composed of a cupronickel alloy, and has a mass of 5 grams, a diameter of 21.17 millimeters, and a thickness of 1.94 millimeters. It has a smooth edge and coin alignment, and like most coins, is round in shape.
Featured in the center of the obverse is the coat of arms of Cuba — which consists of an escutcheon with three fields, the uppermost featuring a key in between two rocks underneath a rising sun, the bottom left showing five diagonal bars, and the bottom right displaying a royal palm tree (Roystonea) with mountains in the background. This escutcheon partially covers a fasces that holds a Phrygian cap at the top of the arms; the fasces has the branch an oak (Quercus) protruding from its left side at the bottom of the arms and that of a laurel extending from the right. Two bullet points are present at the left and right sides of the coin. Starting above the left bullet and arching at the top of the coin to end near above the right bullet is the Spanish state title "REPUBLICA DE CUBA", which translates to English as "Republic of Cuba". The value "CINCO CENTAVOS" (English: "five centavos") is written in a similar fashion, but beginning underneath the left bullet and arching at the bottom of the coin to end below the right bullet.
A five-pointed star with a circular center containing the Roman numeral "V" (the equivalent of the Western Arabic "5") is engraved in the center of the reverse. The Spanish "PATRIA Y LIBERTAD", translating as "Fatherland and Freedom", is inscribed around the upper periphery of the coin, commencing near the left rim just above a bullet, arching at the top, and ending above a bullet at the right periphery. The year of minting is printed at the very bottom of the coin and is flanked by a small bullet on either side. Written along the coin's edge by the left bullet is "5.0 G." or "5.0 G" if produced from 1915 to 1920, and "5 GR" if made from 1946 to 1961. These inscriptions signify the mass of the coin in grams. Printed near the right bullet is "250 M", possibly standing for 250 milesimo (English: "250 thousandths"), likely indicating the amount of nickel in the coin.
The coin was only produced during 1915, 1916, 1920, 1946, 1960, and 1961. Over these six years, a total of approximately 146,810,250 examples were produced, including 150 proofs from 1915 and 100 from 1916. Two main varieties of the 1920 piece are known to exist: one reading "5.0 G." on the reverse, and one reading "5.0 G" without the period after the "G".
1943 coin[edit | edit source]
In 1943, the Cuban Government introduced the second type of 5 centavo coin. Like the cupronickel coin produced from 1915 to 1961, the 1943 piece was produced by the United States Mint. It is composed of brass, weighs approximately 4.6 grams, and measures roughly 21 millimeters in diameter. Regarding the coin's alignment, edge, and shape, the 1943 coin is identical to its cupronickel counterpart. Stylistically, the coin is not much different either. However, the mass reads "4.6 GR." to accommodate for being slightly lighter than the cupronickel piece and the "250 M" reads "300 M" instead, possibly referring to the zinc content of the brass.
Only 6,000,000 examples were produced.
1963–2015 coin[edit | edit source]
In 1963 the third type of Cuban 5 centavo coin was introduced, and it would continue to be coined until 1972, and then from 2001 to 2015. Because Cuban relations with the United States had virtually ceased to exist following the imposition of the embargo in 1962, Cuba relied on the Kremnica Mint of Czechoslovakia and Leningrad Mint of the Soviet Union to produce its coinage from 1963 to 1972. The Cuban Mint was then utilized to make the pieces struck during the 21st century. The 5 centavo coin issued under Fidel Castro (1926–2016) and later Raúl Castro (1931–) is composed of aluminum, and has a mass of 1.5 grams, a diameter of about 21.21 millimeters, and a thickness of 1.81 millimeters. Like the earlier coins of the denomination, it has coin alignment and a smooth edge, and is round in shape. Stylistically, the obverse is virtually identical in appearance to its cupronickel and brass counterparts. However, on the reverse there are no indications of the coin's mass or metal fineness, nor are there bullet points directly below the beginning and end of the "PATRIA Y LIBERTAD" legend or to the left and right of the date. Instead, a bullet point is present halfway between the legend and the year at both sides of the coin.
Coins from the Kremnica Mint can be distinguished from the left point of the star on the reverse pointing between the "A" and "T" in "PATRIA", while those of the Leningrad Mint can be determined from the same point pointing at the right leg of the first "A" in "PATRIA". The later coins produced in Cuba generally feature the point ending near the middle of the first "A" in the same word.
Mintage figures for the 1963 to 2015 5 centavo coin are speculative. Krause's Standard Catalog of World Coins estimates a total of 804,633,331 examples were produced from 1963 to 2007. Several varieties for the coat of arms on the obverse are known to exist. Also, two main varieties of the 2002 piece occur: one with a high-positioned date and another with a lower-positioned date.
|Total||Cuban (until 2007)||271,613,331|
|Overall total (until 2007)||804,633,331|