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Santeem
Ethiopia 1 santeem 1976
1976 coin
General information
Country

Flag of Ethiopia Ethiopia

Used by

Flag of Ethiopia Ethiopia
Flag of Eritrea Eritrea (1993–1997)

Value

0.01 birr

Years

19442003

Measurements and composition
Mass
  • 2.85 g (1944)
  • 0.57 g (1977-2005)
Diameter

17 mm

Thickness
  • 1.88 mm (1944)
  • 1.2 mm (1977-2005)
Composition
Appearance
Shape

round

Alignment

medallic

Edge

plain

Obverse

see text

Reverse

see text

v · d · e

The 1 santeem coin (sometimes Anglicized as 1 cent) is a circulation piece of Ethiopia. It was issued in two types from 1945 to 2003, one during the existence of the Ethiopian Empire and the other under the Derg and current Federal Democratic Republic. Each was distributed by the National Bank of Ethiopia and struck under contract at foreign mints.

The first coin of the denomination was introduced in 1945 (although dated 1944), during the earlier reign of Emperor Haile Selassie (1892–1975; r. 1930–1974). It was then struck with frozen dates until 1974, the year the Derg toppled the imperial Ethiopian government. Under the new administration, a new 1 santeem piece was released in 1976. It was then produced again in 2003, during the existence of the current Federal Democratic Republic.

Prior to its demonetization after the fall of the Ethiopian Empire, the first type circulated for a nominal value of 0.01 birr. The second coin, although currently legal tender, is no longer used frequently because of its low purchasing power. It also has a nominal value of 0.01 birr, which is recognized in Ethiopia and formerly in neighboring Eritrea from 1993 to 1997.

Coins[]

Coin of Haile Selassie (1944)[]

Ethiopia 1 santeem 1944

1944 coin

The birr was reintroduced as Ethiopia's currency on May 20, 1945, replacing the East African shilling at a rate of 1 birr to 2 shillings. The same year, the first series of coins for the new currency, consisting of denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 santeem, was released by the National Bank of Ethiopia (although each was dated 1944). The 1 santeem piece of this series was struck until 1974 with frozen dates, with examples being struck at the Philadelphia Mint in the United States and the Birmingham Mint and Royal Mint in the United Kingdom. It, like the other coins introduced in 1945, was designed by Gilroy Roberts (1905–1992), then an assistant engraver and sculptor employed by the United States Mint.

The 1 santeem piece is composed of a bronze alloy and measures 2.85115 grams in mass, 17 millimeters in diameter, and 1.88 millimeters in thickness. It has medallic alignment and a plain edge, and like most coins, is round in shape. Both of its rims are raised and undecorated.

A left-facing bust of a bearded Haile Selassie wearing a suit and tie appears in the center of the coin's obverse. Printed counterclockwise along the periphery below is the Ethiopian date "፲፱፻፴፮" ("1936" in Ge'ez numerals), which corresponds to the Gregorian year "1944".

A right-facing rendition of the Lion of Judah, a symbol of the Jewish tribe of Judah, is illustrated in the middle of the reverse. Featured on the imperial flag and coat of arms of Ethiopia, the lion represents the claimed descendance of the Ethiopian monarchs from King Solomon (r. 970–931 BC) of the Judaic House of David. For this reason, it is portrayed on the coin wearing the Imperial Crown of Ethiopia, a symbol of the monarchy, and carrying a long cross with a banner tied near the end, a representation of Ethiopia's longstanding Christian heritage. Printed counterclockwise along the rim below the illustration is the Amharic inscription "አንድ:ሳንቲም" (Romanized: änd santim), which translates as "one santeem" or "one cent".

Around 20,000,000 examples of the coin were produced. Only business strikes of this particular type are known to exist.

Post-imperial coin (1976–2003)[]

Ethiopia 1 santeem 1976 2

1976 coin

In 1974, the Derg launched a successful coup against the imperial Ethiopian government, subsequently establishing a Marxist-Leninist military dictatorship in its place. Under this new administration, coins and banknotes featuring Haile Selassie's likeness were withdrawn and replaced with redesigned alternatives. The first series of new coins, consisting of denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 santeem, was released by the National Bank of Ethiopia on September 20, 1976. The 1 santeem piece of the series, designed by Australian artist Stuart Devlin (1931–), was then minted again in 2003, after the establishment of the current Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Examples dated 1976 were struck at the Franklin Mint in the United States, the Royal Mint in the United Kingdom, the Berlin State Mint in East Germany (now Germany), and the Kremnica Mint in Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). The 2003 coins were instead manufactured at the Royal Canadian Mint in Canada.

The 1 santeem piece is composed of aluminum and measures 0.57 grams in mass, 17 millimeters in diameter, and 1.2 millimeters in thickness. It has medallic alignment and a plain edge, and is round in shape. Both of its rims are raised and undecorated.

A right-facing head of a lion (Panthera leo), an animal native to parts of Ethiopia, is illustrated in the center of the obverse. Subtle differences in its design can be used to distinguish the striking mint, namely the lion's size and the positions of its whiskers (see below for more information). Printed clockwise along the periphery above is the Amharic name of Ethiopia, "ኢትዮጵያ" (Romanized: 'Ītyōṗṗyā), and inscribed in the opposite direction at the rim below is the Ethiopian date of minting in Ge'ez numerals.

A depiction of a rancher with two oxen appears in the middle of the reverse. A large numeral "1" representing the coin's face value is engraved above the depiction, and the Amharic inscription "አንድ:ሳንቲም" (Romanized: änd santim) is printed counterclockwise along the rim below.

About 35,034,000 examples of the coin were produced at the Royal Mint, and a total of 11,724 proof pieces were manufactured at the Franklin Mint. Mintage figures for the Berlin State Mint, Kremnica Mint, and Royal Canadian Mint are currently unknown. All of the proofs were distributed in official sets by the National Bank of Ethiopia.

Mintages
Year Mintage Mint Characteristics
Ethiopian Gregorian
፲፱፻፷፱ (1969) 1976 35,034,000 Royal Mint Small lion head with 17 whiskers, two above the middle and last digits in the date
Berlin Mint Small lion head with 16 whiskers, one above the middle digit and three above the last digit in the date
Kremnica Mint Small lion head with 17 whiskers, two above middle digit and three above last digit in the date
11,724 (proof) Franklin Mint Large lion head with 17 whiskers, two above the middle and last digits in the date
፲፱፻፺፮ (1996) 2003 Unknown Royal Canadian Mint Small lion head with 16 whiskers, one above the middle digit and three above the last digit in the date

References[]

Template:Ethiopian birr

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