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10 ngwee
Zambia 10 ngwee 2012 DS
2012 coin
General information

Flag of Zambia Zambia


0.10 kwacha



Measurements and composition
  • 5.65 g (1968-1987)
  • 3 g (2012-present)
  • 23.6 mm (1968-1987)
  • 20 mm (2012-present)
  • 1.78 mm (1968-1987)
  • 1.57 mm (2012-present)
  • cupronickel (1968-1987)
  • brass-plated steel (2012-present)




  • reeded (1968-1987)
  • plain (2012-present)
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The 10 ngwee coin is a current circulation piece of the Republic of Zambia. Since 1968, two coins of the denomination have been issued. The initial type, part of Zambia's first kwacha, was struck sporadically from 1968 to 1987. Eventually, inflation rendered the 10 ngwee piece and other low denomination banknotes and coins virtually valueless, and they disappeared from circulation. Consequently, it was never reintroduced under the first kwacha. When the kwacha was rebased in 2013, however, a coin of the denomination (dated 2012) made a reappearance. Such a piece has remained in production since.

Both types were distributed by the Bank of Zambia and produced at foreign mints. The initial 10 ngwee coin was struck at the Royal Mint of the United Kingdom, while the 2012 piece was produced at the South African Mint. The latter coin currently holds a legal tender face value of 0.10 Zambian kwacha. While the initial piece remains legal tender, it has disappeared from circulation due to its low value. With 1,000 old kwacha equaling 1 new kwacha, the 10 ngwee coin issued from 1968 to 1987 has a value of only 0.0001 new kwacha.


Coin of the first kwacha (1968–1987)[]

See also: Zambian 1 shilling coin
Zambia 10 ngwee 1968

1968 coin

In 1963, in response to social pressures in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, the polity was officially dissolved by an act of the British Parliament. Shortly thereafter, in 1964, independence was granted to the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia, one of former members of the federation. The country was then renamed to the Republic of Zambia, and Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda (1924–) was selected as its first President.

Shortly after independence, in 1964, Zambia introduced its own pound to replace the previous currency of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. However, the Zambian pound was very short-lived, having only been issued until 1968. It was replaced by the decimalized first kwacha at a rate of 2 kwacha = 1 pound (or 1 kwacha = 10 shillings). Under contract with the Bank of Zambia, the Royal Mint struck the first series of coins for the new currency, which included denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 ngwee. All of the pieces were designed by Norman Sillman (1921–2013), a renowned English artist and engraver for the Royal Mint. The 10 ngwee coin of the series was struck intermittently from 1968 to 1987.

Zambia shilling 1966

1966 shilling

The 10 ngwee piece has the same composition and measurements as the 1966 Zambian shilling, being made of a cupronickel alloy and measuring 5.65 grams in mass, 23.6 millimeters in diameter, and 1.78 millimeters in thickness. Initially valued at 0.05 pre-decimal pounds, a shilling was valid for 10 ngwee during Zambia's transition to the kwacha in 1968. By making the two coins virtually identical in composition and size (as well as design), it would have been easy to recognize their equivalence in value. The 10 ngwee piece also shares medallic alignment, a reeded edge, and a round shape with the shilling. The rims of its obverse and reverse are raised and undecorated.

The designs of both sides of the coin are similar to those on the 1966 shilling. The obverse shows a right-facing portrait of Kenneth Kaunda in its center, with the state title "ZAMBIA" printed clockwise along the rim above, and the Gregorian date of minting written in the opposite direction at the periphery below. This likeness of the president made its first appearance on a commemorative Zambian 5 shilling piece in 1965, and was adapted for circulation coins in 1966.

Featured at the right side of the reverse is an illustration of a left-facing crowned hornbill (Tockus alboterminatus), a bird native to parts of Zambia, perched on a branch. This depiction initially appeared in 1964 on Zambia's first shilling, and continued to be reused until the introduction of the 25 ngwee coin in 1992. Printed to the left of the bird's belly is a large stylized "10", indicating the coin's face value of 10 ngwee. It is accompanied by a written out "TEN NGWEE", which is inscribed on two right-aligned lines below the hornbill, to the left of its tail.

During six years of production, a total of 18,006,500 examples of the first 10 ngwee coin were manufactured. Of these, 17,978,500 were made with a normal finish, and the remaining 28,000 were struck as proofs. The normal strikes were coined during 1968, 1972, 1978, 1982, 1983, and 1987, whereas the proofs were only made in 1968 and 1978, and were included solely in exclusive sets sold to collectors by the Bank of Zambia. In addition, a small number of uncirculated coins from 1968 were placed into mint sets.

Year Mintage
1968 1,000,000
1968 Proof 4,000
1972 1,000,000
1978 1,976,000
1978 Proof 24,000
1982 8,000,000
1983 2,500
1987 6,000,000
Total 18,006,500

Coin of the second kwacha (2012–present)[]

Zambia 10 ngwee 2012

2012 coin

From 1980 to 1990, Zambia experienced a 4,000 percent increase in the consumer price index (CPI), according to statistics published by the Bank of Zambia. As a result of this high inflation, the purchasing power of the kwacha was greatly reduced, and low denomination banknotes and coins, including the 10 ngwee piece, eventually disappeared from circulation. To resolve this issue, in 2012, the Board of the Bank of Zambia recommended rebasing the kwacha. After this initiative received authorization from the Zambian government on January 23 of the same year, the Bank of Zambia set a changeover date for the new kwacha to January 1, 2013. During July 2012, the Bank of Zambia commissioned the South African Mint in Pretoria to strike a series of coins in denominations of 5, 10, and 50 ngwee, and 1 kwacha for the rebased currency. Along with a new series of banknotes, these coins were unveiled by Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda (1938–) and BoZ Governor Michael Gondwe at a ceremony on December 31, 2012, and they entered circulation as planned on the following day. The 10 ngwee piece (pictured above), unlike the other three coins of the series, has only been struck in 2012 and 2015 thus far.

The 10 ngwee coin is composed of brass-plated steel, weighs 3 grams, and measures 20 millimeters in diameter and 1.6 millimeters in thickness. It has medallic alignment and a plain edge, and is round in shape. Both of the coin's rims are raised and undecorated.

A rendition of the coat of arms of Zambia appears in the middle of the obverse. Such a heraldic depiction shows an escutcheon decorated with wavy lines in the center, supported by a man in Western attire and a woman in traditional clothing, both standing on solid earth. Buildings, a plains zebra (Equus quagga), and an ear of corn (Zea mays) are additionally included on the earth, and a scroll bearing the national motto "ONE NATION ONE ZAMBIA" is displayed below. Surmounting the escutcheon in the arms are a crossing hoe and pickaxe and an African fish eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) with outspread wings. The state title "ZAMBIA" is printed above the coin's illustration of the arms, extending clockwise along the upper rim. It is accompanied by the Gregorian date of minting, "2012", which is curved along the bottom rim in a counterclockwise direction.

Displayed at the left center of the reverse is the head of a common eland (Taurotragus oryx), a large species of antelope distributed throughout much of southern Africa, including Zambia. A large numeral "10", representing the coin's face value, is engraved to the right of the image in a standard sans-serif font, and a written out "TEN NGWEE" is inscribed counterclockwise from the piece's bottom to bottom right peripheries.

The total mintage of the coin is currently unknown. Only business strikes are reported to exist.


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Zambian kwacha
Banknotes Current: 2 K5 K10 K20 K50 K100 K
Former: 50 n1 K • 2 K • 5 K • 10 K • 20 K • 50 K • 100 K • 500 K1,000 K5,000 K10,000 K20,000 K50,000 K
Coins Current: 5 n10 n50 n1 K
Former: 1 n2 n • 5 n • 10 n • 20 n25 n • 50 n • 1 K • 5 K10 K20 K75 K100 K200 K250 K500 K1,000 K2,000 K2,500 K4,000 K5,000 K10,000 K20,000 K25,000 K40,000 K50,000 K100,000 K500,000 K
Miscellaneous Bank of ZambiaDe La RueKwachaNgweeRebasingZambian pound