Samoa 1 sene 1996.jpg
1996 coin
General information

Flag of Samoa.svg Samoa


0.01 tālā



Measurements and composition
  • 1.75 g (1967-1996)
  • 1.95 g (1974 non-circulating)

17.53 mm


1.1 mm








see text


see text

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The 1 sene coin (sometimes Anglicized as 1 cent) is a former circulation piece of Samoa (previously known as Western Samoa). It was issued in one non-circulating and two circulating types from 1967 to 1996, during the reign of Malietoa Tanumafili II (1913–2007; r. 1940–2007). Each was distributed by the Central Bank of Samoa and the Samoan government and struck under commission at foreign mints.

The first piece of the denomination was introduced in 1967, during the early reign of Tanumafili II. It was followed in 1974 by a new circulation type, which was then minted intermittently until 1996, and a similar non-circulating coin, which was only produced that year.

Prior to their demonetization on December 30, 2011, the three coins carried a nominal value of 0.01 tālā in their country of origin. In spite of this, by the time they were withdrawn, they no longer circulated frequently due to their low purchasing power. In addition, the non-circulating piece never saw frequent use because of its high intrinsic value.

Coins[edit | edit source]

First design (1967)[edit | edit source]

1967 coin

On July 10, 1967, the tālā was introduced in Western Samoa, replacing the New Zealand pound at a rate of two tālā to one pound. The first series of coins for the new currency, consisting of denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 sene and 1 tālā, was released the same year by the government of Samoa. Each piece was struck under commission at the Royal Mint of the United Kingdom in 1967.

The 1 sene coin of the series is composed of a bronze alloy and measures 1.75 grams in mass, 17.53 millimeters in diameter, and 1.1 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.

The obverse of the piece was designed by Thomas Humphrey Paget (1893–1974), a prominent English coin designer of the 20th century. It features a left-facing bust of Malietoa Tanumafili II in its center, with the "HP" initials of the artist (abbreviated for "Humphrey Paget") engraved in small print near the bust truncation. Written clockwise from the lower left to lower right rims is the Samoan caption "MALIETOA TANUMAFILI II SAMOA I SISIFO", which translates as "Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa".

An arrangement of five five-pointed stars representing the Southern Cross, an asterism visible from the southern sky, is displayed in the middle of the reverse. A symbol common in countries of the Southern Hemisphere, the Southern Cross has appeared on the official Samoan flag since 1962. On the coin, the face value "1 SENE", rendered with the numeral between the first "E" and the "N", separates the upper three stars in the asterism from the lower two. The Gregorian date of minting, "1967", is engraved clockwise along the rim above, while a wreath consisting of two intersecting olive branches extends along the remainder of the coin's periphery.

Around 930,000 examples of the coin were manufactured, including 915,000 business strikes and 15,000 proofs. All of the proofs were distributed in official proof sets by the government of Samoa.

Second design (1974–1996)[edit | edit source]

1974 silver coin

In 1974, the government of Samoa released a series of redesigned 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 sene and 1 tālā coins into circulation. In addition, a proof set containing sterling silver versions of the same pieces was also introduced that year. The circulating 1 sene coin of the series was struck intermittently at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra, Australia, from 1974 to 1993, and then at the Royal Mint of the United Kingdom in 1996. The silver piece was produced solely in 1974 at the Royal Australian Mint.

The circulating coin is composed of a bronze alloy and weighs 1.75 grams, while the non-circulating piece is made of .925 fine silver and weighs a slightly heavier 1.95 grams. Both share a diameter of 17.53 millimeters and thickness of 1.1 millimeters. The bronze and silver pieces have medallic alignment and plain edges, and the rims of each are raised and undecorated. Like most coins, they are both round in shape.

The obverse was designed by Thomas Humphrey Paget. It features a left-facing bust of Malietoa Tanumafili II in its center, with the "HP" initials of the artist engraved in small print near the bust truncation. Inscribed clockwise from the coin's lower left to lower right peripheries is the Samoan caption "MALIETOA TANUMAFILI II SAMOA I SISIFO", and engraved in the opposite direction at the lower rim is the Gregorian date of minting. The date and caption are separated from one another by two five-pointed stars, one at each side of the date.

The reverse of the piece was designed by James Berry (1906–1979), a notable coin and stamp designer from New Zealand. Displayed in the middle is an illustration of a coconut, the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). The palm itself is very important to the Samoan economy, with coconut products representing a large percentage of the country's exports. On the coin, the "JB" initials of the artist are engraved in small print to the lower right of the coconut, and the face value "1 SENE" is displayed above. The numeral in the value is rendered in significantly larger print than the following word.

Around 3,380,000 examples of the bronze coin and 5,578 of the silver piece were struck in 1974. Mintages for the remaining years of production are currently unknown. All of the silver pieces were sold in proof sets and a small number of uncirculated bronze coins were distributed in official mint sets by the Samoan government and Central Bank of Samoa.

Year Mint Mintage
1974 Royal Australian Mint 3,380,000
1987 Unknown
1988 Unknown
1993 Unknown
1996 Royal Mint Unknown
1974 Proof Royal Australian Mint 5,578

References[edit | edit source]

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