- This article is about the former circulation coin of Cyprus. For the current euro coin, see Cypriot 20 euro cent coin.
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The 20 cent coin is a former circulation piece of the Republic of Cyprus. It was issued by the Central Bank of Cyprus in two types from 1983 to 2004, and was struck under commission at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales, United Kingdom. The first type was produced from 1983 to 1988 in two varieties, the first being minted exclusively in 1983 and the second being manufactured in 1985 and 1988. It was followed by the second type in 1989, which continued to be struck until 2004. Like the first type, the second was minted in two varieties: the first from 1989 to 1990, and the second from 1991 to 2004.
The 20 cent piece is sometimes referred to by Greek-speaking Cypriots as an εικοσάρα (Romanized: eikosára), a word derived from the Greek είκοσι (eíkosi), meaning "twenty". Because four 5 cent coins, known colloquially in Greek as σέλινια (sélinia), are equivalent in value to a 20 cent piece, the 20 cent piece is sometimes also called a τετρασέλινο (tetrasélino), meaning "four-shilling".
Both types initially carried legal tender status in Cyprus (excluding Northern Cyprus) and the British Overseas Territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, holding a face value of 0.20 pounds (lira). However, with Cyprus' adoption of the euro on January 1, 2008, the 20 cent piece was demonetized on January 31, 2008, but remained exchangeable until December 31, 2009.
Coins[edit | edit source]
Wheatear coin (1983–1988)[edit | edit source]
After gaining its independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, Cyprus continued to use the decimalized pound introduced by colonial authorities in 1955. The currency was initially divided into 1,000 mils, but the subdivision was eventually changed to 100 cents on October 3, 1983. As a result of this adjustment, the Central Bank of Cyprus decided to demonetize the mil coins circulating at the time and replace them with a new series of pieces in denominations of ½, 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 cents. To determine the designs of the new coins, the Central Bank of Cyprus held a design competition around 1983, and ultimately selected the submissions of Clara Zacharaki-Georgiou, a Greek-born Cypriot. The Royal Mint, the institution responsible for the production of all earlier Cypriot circulation coins, was commissioned by to strike the new pieces. The initial 20 cent coin of the series was discontinued after only five years, being struck until 1988.
The 20 cent piece is composed of a nickel-brass alloy of 70 percent copper, 24.5 percent zinc, and 5.5 percent nickel, and measures 7.75 grams in mass, 27.25 millimeters in diameter, and 1.8 millimeters in thickness. It has medallic alignment; raised, undecorated rims; and a reeded edge, and like most coins, is round in shape.
Featured in the center of the obverse is the coat of arms of Cyprus – which consists of an escutcheon bearing the date "1960" and a dove holding an olive branch in its mouth, surrounded by a wreath of olive branches. In the rendition of the arms, the branches of the wreath are large and touch the escutcheon and the dove is illustrated with noticeable detail. The names of Cyprus in English, Greek, and Turkish, the three most spoken languages in the island country, are engraved next to the arms, extending clockwise from the coin's lower left to lower right peripheries. Written respectively as "CYPRUS", "ΚΥΠΡΟΣ" (Romanized: Kýpros), and "KIBRIS", the names are separated from each other by small circular points. The Gregorian date of minting occupies the coin's lower rim, where it is printed counterclockwise in smaller font and flanked by two points.
A right-facing illustration of a Cyprus wheatear (Oenanthe cypriaca) perched on an olive branch is shown at the right side of the reverse. This small insectivorous passerine bird breeds exclusively in Cyprus during warmer months, and migrates to Ethiopia and the Sudans during the winter. Engraved to the upper left in large print is the numeral "20", which represents the coin's face value of 20 cents. On pieces struck in 1983, the field inside the numbers is raised, whereas on later pieces the field is incuse.
A total of 16,046,250 examples of the coin were minted, including 16,040,000 pieces with a standard finish and 6,250 proofs. The standard coins were struck during all three years of production, while the proofs were only manufactured in 1983. A small number of uncirculated standard pieces were included in mint sets in 1983, 1987, and 1988, and all of the proofs were placed into proof sets.
|1983||Raised "20"||10,000,000[ft 1]|
|1983 Proof||6,250[ft 2]|
Zeno of Citium coin (1989–2004)[edit | edit source]
Around 1989, the reverse of the 20 cent coin was redesigned, incorporating a new illustration drafted by Greek Cypriot sculptor Theodoulos Theodoulou (1947–2008). The obverse initially remained unchanged, but in 1991 slight modifications were made to the design. The new piece was struck under commission at the Royal Mint until 2004, and circulated alongside the earlier 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 cent pieces, and eventually the 1991 50 cent coin, until its demonetization in 2009.
The coin has the same composition and measurements as the previous 20 cent piece, being composed of a nickel-brass alloy of 70 percent copper, 24.5 percent zinc, and 5.5 percent nickel, and measuring 7.75 grams in mass, 27.25 millimeters in diameter, and 1.8 millimeters in thickness. It has medallic alignment; raised, undecorated rims; and a reeded edge, and is round in shape.
The obverse displays the coat of arms of Cyprus in its center. It is surrounded by the English, Greek, and Turkish names of Cyprus, respectively "CYPRUS", "ΚΥΠΡΟΣ" (Kýpros), and "KIBRIS", which are separated from one another by small circular points. The Gregorian date of minting appears at the bottom of the piece in smaller print, arched along the coin's periphery and flanked by two points. On pieces minted from 1989 to 1990, the obverse appears as it does on the earlier 20 cent coin. On later examples, however, the wreath and escutcheon are smaller and do not touch, and the dove is illustrated with much less detail. Also, the date on the later pieces is noticeably larger than on earlier coins, having about the same height as the names of Cyprus.
The reverse displays in its center a left-facing bust of Zeno of Citium (334–262 BC), a prominent Greek thinker from Citium, Cyprus. Among his various accomplishments, Zeno is most well known for founding the Stoic school of philosophy, which flourished as the dominant philosophy in Greece from the Hellenistic period to the Roman era. Inscribed in a clockwise direction along the coin's left boundary is Zeno's name in Greek, which reads "ΖΗΝΩΝ Ο ΚΙΤΙΕΥΣ" (Zénon o Kitieús). It is accompanied by a large, incuse numeral "20" representing the piece's face value, which is engraved horizontally at the lower right side of the reverse, below the likeness of Zeno.
The original pencil drawing of the reverse is currently preserved by the Cultural Center of the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation. It, along with various other works, was donated to the organization by the artist's family.
A total of approximately 48,004,000 examples of the coin were produced, including 48,000,000 pieces with a standard finish and 4,000 proofs. The standard coins were minted during all nine years of production, whereas the proofs were only struck in 1989. A small number of uncirculated standard pieces were included in mint sets in 1989, 1990, 1994, 2004, and 2007. In 1989, about 4,000 uncirculated pieces were sold in blue plastic cases, and all of the proof coins were issued in hinged blue cases with a certificate of authenticity.
|1989||Large escutcheon and wreath, small date||2,000,000[st 1][st 2]|
|1989 Proof||4,000[st 3]|
|1991||Small escutcheon and wreath, large date||4,000,000|
References[edit | edit source]
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation – Cyprus - 20 Cents, KM# 57.1 (1983) • Cyprus - 20 Cents, KM# 57.2 (1985–1988) • Cyprus - 20 Cents, KM# 62.1 (1989–1990) • Cyprus - 20 Cents, KM# 62.2 (1991–2004)
- Colnect – 20 Cents (1983) • 20 Cents (1985–1988) • 20 Cents (1989–1990) • 20 Cents (1991–2004)
- Numista – 20 Cents (1983–1988) • 20 Cents (1989–2004) (English) (French)
- Central Bank of Cyprus – Banknotes & Coins – 20 Cent • Coin Sets • Demonetized Banknotes and Coins
- Cultural Center of the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation – Zeno of Citium. Drawing for the currency of 20 cents
- Coins of the Cypriot pound on the English Wikipedia
- Cypriot pound on the English Wikipedia