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The 50 senti coin is a circulation piece of the United Republic of Tanzania that was issued in two types from 1966 to 1990. The first coin was made from 1966 to 1984, during much of the administration of President Julius Nyerere (1922–1999; i.o. 1964–1985), while the second was struck from 1988 to 1990, under the administration of President Ali Hassan Mwinyi (1925–; i.o. 1985–1995).
Both types were distributed by the Bank of Tanzania and produced at foreign mints – the first at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales, and the second at the Royal Canadian Mint. While they remain legal tender in their country of origin, 50 senti coins no longer circulate frequently due to their low face value of 0.50 shillings.
Coins[edit | edit source]
Coins of Julius Nyerere (1966–1984)[edit | edit source]
In 1964, the nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar united to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which later became the current United Republic of Tanzania, with Julius Nyerere, the former leader of Tanganyika, installed as its first President. Initially, Tanzania adopted the East African shilling, which was previously used by Tanganyika and Zanzibar as separate countries. In 1966, however, the nation decided to adopt its own Tanzanian shilling, which replaced the old currency at par. The Bank of Tanzania contracted the Royal Mint to strike the country's first series of coins, which consisted of pieces in denominations of 5, 20, and 50 senti, and 1 shilling. These would later be joined by a 5 shilling coin in 1972, and a 10 senti piece in 1977. Excluding the 5 shilling piece, which was only struck until 1980, all coins of this initial series were minted until 1984. They were designed by Christopher Ironside (1913–1992), an English sculptor associated with the Royal Mint.
The 50 senti coin is composed of a cupronickel alloy and measures 4 grams in mass, 21 millimeters in diameter, and 1.6 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 a left-facing bust of Julius Nyerere, flanked to the left and right by flowers engraved along the coin's rims. The caption "RAIS WA KWANZA", which translates from Swahili to English as "first President", appears below Nyerere's likeness and between the flowers, curved in a counterclockwise direction at the bottom rim. Printed in the opposite direction at the piece's upper periphery is the state title "TANZANIA" and the Gregorian date of minting.
A left-facing illustration of a rabbit, a type of small mammal native to many parts of the world, including Tanzania, appears in the middle of the reverse. "SENTI HAMSINI", Swahili for "fifty cents" or "fifty senti", is engraved above the rabbit, traveling clockwise from the piece's lower left to right rims. Another indication of the coin's face value, a numeral "50", is also included on the reverse, written horizontally in large print under the rabbit.
Excluding the mintages of 1981 and 1983, which are currently unknown, approximately 56,255,500 examples of the coin were produced from 1966 to 1984. Of these, 56,250,000 were minted as business strikes and 5,500 (all from 1966) were made as proofs. All of the proofs were included in collectors' sets sold by the Bank of Tanzania.
Unissued trial strikes and patterns[edit | edit source]
Coins of Ali Hassan Mwinyi (1988–1990)[edit | edit source]
After nearly two decades in power, Julius Nyerere relinquished his administrative position to Vice President Ali Hassan Mwinyi in November 1985. This change in leadership, along with the devaluation of the shilling, prompted the Bank of Tanzania to introduce a a new series of Tanzanian coins consisting of pieces denominated at 50 senti and 1, 5, and 10 shillings. These were eventually followed by, in order, 20 (1990), 100 (1993), 50 (1996), 200 (1998), and 500 (2014) shilling pieces. The 50 senti piece of the series was struck from 1988 to 1990 at the Royal Canadian Mint.
The 50 senti coin is composed of nickel-plated steel and measures 4 grams in mass, 21 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.
A right-facing bust of Ali Hassan Mwinyi appears in the center of the obverse, and like Nyerere's likeness on the first 50 senti piece, it is flanked to the left and right by flowers engraved along the coin's rims. Printed in a clockwise direction at the periphery above is the state title "TANZANIA", and inscribed in the opposite direction at the boundary below is the Gregorian date of minting.
The reverse of the coin is virtually identical to that of the first 50 senti piece. A rabbit is engraved in the middle, with the value "SENTI HAMSINI" inscribed clockwise along the rim above and the numeral "50" written horizontally in large print below.
A reported 10,000,000 examples of the second 50 senti coin were produced in 1988, while mintage figures for the remaining two years of production, 1989 and 1990, are currently unavailable. Only business strikes are known to exist from all three years.
References[edit | edit source]
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation – Tanzania - 50 Senti, KM# 3 (1966–1984) • Tanzania - 50 Senti, KM# Pn1 (1973) • Tanzania - 50 Senti, KM# TS1 (1981) • Tanzania - 50 Senti, KM# 26 (1988–1990)
- Numista – 50 Senti (1966–1984) • 50 Senti (1988–1990) (English) (French)
- Colnect – 50 Senti (1966–1984) • 50 Senti (1988–1990)
- Bank of Tanzania – Currency Museum: Coins
- Foreign Coins Struck by the Royal Canadian Mint – Tanzania
- Tanzanian shilling on the English Wikipedia