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10 zaires
Zaire 10 zaires 1988
1988 circulation coin
General information

Flag of Zaire Zaire


10.00 zaires



Measurements and composition
  • 9.96 g (1971 gold)
  • 6.04 g (1971 platinum)
  • 8 g (1988)
  • ~21 mm (1971)
  • 26 mm (1988)

1.8 mm (1988)

  • gold (1971)
  • platinum (1971)
  • brass (1988)





plain (1988)

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The 10 zaire coin is a circulation and commemorative piece of the Republic of Zaire, a former central African country now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was issued in three types during the rule of President Mobutu Sese Seko (1930–1997). The first two pieces were minted in 1971 to commemorate the opening of the InterContinental Hotel (now the Grand Hotel Kinshasa), a prominent five star hotel in Kinshasa. The third type, a circulation piece, was then introduced in 1988 as a result of increased inflation in the African country.

The coins were issued by the Bank of Zaire and produced at foreign mints. They initially carried a legal tender face value of 10.00 zaires, but were eventually demonetized and withdrawn from circulation. Only the 1988 piece saw any general use; the 1971 coins, as collectors' pieces, did not see much (if any) circulation.


InterContinental Hotel coins (1971)[]

The InterContinental Hotel (now the Grand Hotel Kinshasa) was inaugurated by President Mobutu on October 3, 1971, less than a month before the first Democratic Republic of the Congo was renamed to the Republic of Zaire. It is currently the largest hotel in Kinshasa, and one of the most popular hotels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1971, in celebration of the facility, the Bank of Zaire authorized the production of a six-coin commemorative coin series, which included one coin denominated at 5 zaires, two pieces valued at 10 and 20 zaires, and another coin valued at 50 zaires. All of the coins were struck in precious metals.

The 10 zaire coin of the series exists in two metal varieties, .900 gold and .999 platinum, respectively weighing 9.96 and 6.04 grams. Despite having different compositions and masses, both pieces share a diameter of approximately 21 millimeters. They also have coin alignment and raised, undecorated rims, and are round in shape.

The designs of both pieces are identical. Featured in the middle of the obverse is a left-facing bust of Mobutu Sese Seko wearing a collared suit and his iconic thick-framed glasses. At the time of the coins' minting, the Zairean president was still known by his birth name, Joseph-Désiré Mobutu. This is indicated on the pieces' obverse, which shows an abbreviated form of the name, "J.D. MOBUTU", extending in a counterclockwise direction along the lower rim, below the leader's likeness. It is accompanied by the French state title of the Republic of Zaire, which is engraved in a clockwise direction from the upper left to right peripheries. Typically, the name of the country is rendered as République du Zaïre, with an e-acute in République and an I with diaeresis in Zaïre, but on the coin it reads "REPUBLIQUE DU ZAIRE" without either diacritic. Both inscriptions are separated by a significant amount of space, as well as by two small circular points at the left and right sides of the reverse. A view of the InterContinental Hotel showing the main building and outdoor swimming pool is displayed in the center of the reverse. Printed in a clockwise direction from the lower left to upper right peripheries is the legend "HOTEL INTER·CONTINENTAL·KINSHASA". Although the French word hôtel is typically written with a o-circumflex, an unaccented "O" is used on the coin instead. Traveling counterclockwise at the piece's bottom rim is the face value "10 ZAÏRES", which is followed by the Gregorian date of minting, "1971". The year is flanked on both sides by a small circular point.

The total mintage of both commemoratives is unknown. All specimens were minted as proofs. An unspecified number of pieces were included in sets with the other four coins celebrating the InterContinental Hotel.

Circulation coin (1988)[]

When the Democratic Republic of the Congo was renamed to the Republic of Zaire in 1971, the only coins used in the country were low denomination 10 sengi and 1, 5, 10, and 20 likuta pieces. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, however, these pieces had become virtually obsolete because of inflation, and they were consequently discontinued. To address the shortage of coins in circulation in Zaire, the nation's central bank authorized the production of higher denomination 1 and 5 zaire coins in 1987, followed by a 10 zaire piece in 1988. Hyperinflation over the next few years, however, resulted in the disappearance of these coins from circulation as well.

The 10 zaire piece is composed of brass and measures 8 grams in mass, 26 millimeters in diameter, and 1.8 millimeters in thickness. It has coin alignment; a plain edge; and raised, undecorated rims, and is round in shape.

Displayed in the middle of the obverse is a facing illustration of Mobutu wearing an abacost and his signature glasses and leopard-skin toque. Such an image, engraved by Belgian artist Roger Duterme (1919–1997), is similar to the likeness of Mobutu appearing on the 1982 and 1985 series of Zairean banknotes, as well as a portrait on a commemorative medal from 1985. Printed in a clockwise direction along the rim above is the face value "DIX ZAIRES" (English: "Ten zaires"), which is shown without the diaeresis over the "I" in "ZAIRES". It is accompanied by the Gregorian date of minting, "1988", which is engraved counterclockwise at the bottom boundary of the piece. Written inside of a solid circular border in the center of the reverse is the face value "10Z", abbreviated for 10 Zaires. The French name of the Bank of Zaire appears outside the border, rendered as "BANQUE DU ZAIRE" without a diaeresis over the "I" in "ZAIRE". The word "BANQUE" is printed in a clockwise direction at the piece's upper rim, while "DU ZAIRE" is engraved in the opposite direction from the reverse's lower left to right boundaries.

The total mintage of the piece is currently unknown. Only business strikes are reported to have been produced.


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Zairean zaire
Banknotes 1 NK5 NK10 K/NK20 K50 K/NK1 Z/NZ5 Z/NZ10 Z/NZ20 NZ50 Z/NZ100 Z/NZ200 NZ500 Z/NZ1,000 Z/NZ2,000 Z5,000 Z/NZ10,000 Z/NZ20,000 Z/NZ50,000 Z/NZ100,000 Z/NZ200,000 Z500,000 Z/NZ1,000,000 Z/NZ5,000,000 Z
Coins 10 s1 K5 K10 K20 K25 K50 K1 Z2½ Z5 Z10 Z20 Z50 Z100 Z500 NZ1,000 NZ5,000 NZ10,000 NZ
Miscellaneous Bank of ZaireCongolese francRoger DutermeLikutaMobutu Sese Seko on currencySengi