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10 leones
Sierra Leone 10 leones 1996
1996 coin
General information

Flag of Sierra Leone Sierra Leone


10.00 leones



Measurements and composition
  • 28.28 g (1983-1987)
  • 2.5 g (1996)
  • 38.61 mm (1983-1987)
  • 17.99 mm (1996)

1.47 mm (1996)

  • silver (1983-1987)
  • nickel-plated steel (1996)


  • medallic (1983-1987)
  • coin (1996)
  • reeded (1983-1987)
  • plain (1996)
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The 10 leone coin is a circulation and commemorative coin of the Republic of Sierra Leone that was issued in three types from 1983 to 1996. The first type, a non-circulating commemorative issued in celebration of the Year of the Scout in 1982, was coined in 1983, during the late presidency of Siaka Stevens (1905–1988). A second non-circulating piece of the denomination was made in 1987 under President Joseph Saidu Momoh (1937–2003) to memorialize the World Wildlife Fund (now the World Wide Fund for Nature). The first circulation 10 leone piece was not produced until 1996. All three types were produced at the British Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales, and issued by the Bank of Sierra Leone. They currently hold a legal tender face value equivalent to 10.00 leones. However, none see much circulation anymore; the commemoratives are intended for collectors and not for frequent handling, and inflation has virtually rendered the general issue coin obsolete.


Year of the Scout coin (1983)[]

The Scout Movement began in 1907 in the United Kingdom to support youths in their development and to teach them certain skills and ideas. Such a movement made its way to Sierra Leone in 1909 when the Sierra Leone Scouts Association was established. The year from 1982 to 1983 marked the 75th anniversary of scouting, and was hence called by some authorities the Year of the Scout. During the latter of the two years, Sierra Leone, during the leadership of President Siaka Stevens, introduced 10 and 100 leone coins to memorialize the event. Of these, the 10 leone piece is composed of .925 fine silver and has a mass of 28.28 grams and a diameter of 38.61 millimeters. It has medallic alignment and a reeded edge, and like most coins, is round in shape.

Displayed in the center of the coin's obverse is an illustration of two Boy Scouts in uniform among foliage and two trees, with one of the scouts lifting a plant in his right hand. Above the image, between the trees, is the logo of the 75th anniversary of scouting. Inscribed in a clockwise direction along the left periphery of the piece is the state title "SIERRA LEONE", which is followed from the top of the obverse to the lower right rim by the legend "YEAR OF THE SCOUT". Both texts are separated from each other by a small point between. The face value "10 LEONES" is arched in a counterclockwise direction along the bottom of the coin, and in the curve of the words the dates "1982-1983" are engraved. The value is separated from the remainder of the text on the obverse by two points. Featured in the middle of the coin's reverse is a right-facing bust of President Siaka Stevens, captioned along the coin's bottom periphery by "DR. SIAKA STEVENS", which travels in a counterclockwise direction from the lower left to lower right rims. The remainder of the coin's rim is occupied by the national motto "UNITY, FREEDOM, JUSTICE", with a large point present between each of the words. Such text, running clockwise along the upper periphery of the reverse, is separated from the caption at the bottom of the coin by two points. Both rims of the coin are raised and decorated with a dentillated border.

A total of 20,000 10 leone coins was produced in 1983: 10,000 in an Uncirculated grade and 10,000 with a proof finish.

World Wildlife Fund coin (1987)[]

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF; now known as the World Wide Fund for Nature), is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961 that works to conserve, research, and restore the environment. In commemoration of the WWF, and also in recognition of threatened species in Sierra Leone, the country, during the presidency of Joseph Saidu Momoh, introduced two commemorative coins denominated at 10 leones and 5 golde. Of these, the former has the same composition and measurements as the 1983 Scouting coin, being made of .925 fine silver, weighing 28.28 grams, and measuring 38.61 millimeters in diameter. It has medallic alignment and a reeded edge, and is round in shape.

Featured in the center of the obverse is a depiction of a pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) standing near a water source supporting several tall aquatic plants. The pygmy hippopotamus, an animal found in small populations in Sierra Leone, was classified on the IUCN Red List as vulnerable at the time of the coin's production, but has since been recategorized as an endangered species. Printed in a clockwise direction along the coin's left periphery is the state title "SIERRA LEONE", followed by the value "10 LEONES" from the top of the piece to the upper right rim, and then by the date "1987". Shown in the middle of the reverse is a left-facing bust of President Joseph Saidu Momoh adorning his military decorations and uniform. The caption "DR. JOSEPH SAIDU MOMOH" is printed along the bottom of the piece from the left to right rims, while the motto "UNITY, FREEDOM, PEACE" with points between each word is shown at the top of the coin, respectively commencing and concluding at the left and right sides of the reverse. Both the obverse and reverse rims are raised.

A total of 25,000 10 leone coins were produced in 1987, all in proof quality.

Circulation coin (1996)[]

As a result of a period of economic collapse and the following Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002), much of the small denomination Sierra Leonean coins in circulation at the time were stripped of much of their value. In response, the Sierra Leonean government authorized the production of a new series of circulation coinage in 1996 consisting of denominations of 10, 50, and 100 leones. Of these, the 10 leone piece is composed of magnetic nickel-plated steel, weighs 2.5 grams, and measures 17.99 millimeters in diameter and approximately 1.47 millimeters in thickness. It has coin alignment and a plain edge, and is round in shape.

Featured in the center of the obverse, designed by British artist Avril Vaughan (1937–2006), is a facing illustration of Mammy Yoko (c. 1849–1906) wearing a headscarf, traditional clothing, and a necklace. Yoko, a prominent figure in Sierra Leonean history, was an influential leader of the Mende people and the Kpa Mende Confederacy. Encircling her illustration on the coin is a circular decorative border. The caption "MAMMY YOKO" is inscribed clockwise at the top of the piece, while the face value "TEN LEONES" is written in the opposite direction at the bottom of the piece. At the left and right rims of the obverse, a small design feature is present. The face value "10 LEONES" is written on two lines in the middle of the reverse, also designed by Vaughan, with the numeral being significantly larger than the following word. Such text is surrounded by two fish forming a circle, which are in turn confined within a circular decorative border identical to that which appears on the obverse. The English state title "REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE" is present outside of the border, along the upper rim of the reverse. It travels in a clockwise direction from the left to right rims. Arched around the bottom of the coin is the date "1996", flanked on both sides by a small design element.

The total mintage of the 10 leone coin of 1996 is currently unknown. However, metal theft in Sierra Leone has decreased the number of pieces in the country. Only business strikes for this particular coin type were made.


External links[]

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