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For unofficial coins of the denomination, see Somali 5 shilling coin (unofficial). For coins of Somaliland, see Somaliland 5 shilling coin.
5 shillings
Somalia 5 shillings 1970
General information

Flag of Somalia Somalia


5.00 shillings



Measurements and composition

27.85 g


38 mm


3.5 mm










Coat of arms of Somalia, state title, year


Livestock, value (1970)

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The 5 shilling coin is a non-circulating commemorative piece of the Somali Democratic Republic, a precursor to the modern Federal Republic of Somalia. It was issued in a single type in 1970 in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and an FAO conference that year. The coin was distributed by the Central Bank of Somalia and struck under commission at the Royal Mint of the United Kingdom.

The piece initially carried a legal tender face value of 5.00 Somali shillings in its country of origin, but was eventually demonetized. However, because the coin was intended primarily for collectors, it did not see any widespread circulation, although circulated examples do exist.

A crown-sized piece, the 5 shilling coin is composed of cupronickel, weighs approximately 27.85 grams, and measures 38 millimeters in diameter and 3.5 millimeters in thickness. It has coin alignment and a reeded edge, and like most coins, is round in shape. Both of the piece's rims are raised and undecorated.

Displayed in the middle of the obverse, designed by Italian British artist Michael Rizzello (1926–2004), is the coat of arms of Somalia – which consists of a central escutcheon containing a single five-pointed star, surmounted by a battlement of Moorish style and supported by two African leopards (Panthera pardus pardus). Below this escutcheon are a ribbon wrapped around two crossing lances and two palm fronds. "SOMALI DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC" is written along the upper periphery of the piece, extending clockwise from the left to right rims of the piece, followed by the Gregorian date of minting in Western Arabic numerals, "1970". The Arabic equivalent of the state title, "الجمهورية الديمقراطية الصومالية" (Romanized: al-Jumhūrīyah ad-Dīmuqrāṭīyah aṣ-Ṣūmālīyah) is inscribed in the same direction from the right to left of the piece, followed by the date in Eastern Arabic numerals, "١٩٧‎٠". The English and Arabic legends are separated from each other by small dashes.

Engraved in the middle of the coin's reverse is an illustration of three farm animals – a Somali goat, a sort of zebu (Bos taurus indicus), and a Somali sheep – the latter two standing and the goat resting on the ground. In the background of the image are some grains, including corn stalks, and on the ground before the livestock are some local fruits. Curved upward above the depiction is the coin's face value in English, reading "5 shillings". Printed below the central illustration on two lines is the Arabic equivalent, "شلنات ٥" ‎(5 šilīnāt), the number displayed in a larger font than the following word, which arches toward the bottom of the coin. The Arabic text "أرفعوا محصول م الزراعي" (Arfā'wū māsūl mā al-zirā'í), roughly translating as "raise the agricultural yield", appears in a counterclockwise direction along the upper rim of the piece, commencing at the right periphery and concluding at the left. "GROW MORE FOOD", an alternate English translation for the Arabic, is written in the same direction along the bottom rim, extending from the left to right sides of the obverse. Both texts are separated from each other by two small points. The rims on both the obverse and reverse are raised and not decorated.

In total, approximately 101,000 examples of the 1970 piece were struck, including 100,000 general issue coins and around 1,000 proofs.


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