Currency Wiki
This article is about the coin of the independent Republic of Zambia. For earlier shilling coins used in Zambia, see Southern Rhodesian 1 shilling coin and Rhodesia and Nyasaland 1 shilling coin.
Zambia shilling 1966
1966 coin
General information

Flag of Zambia Zambia


1 shilling = 120 pound



Measurements and composition

5.6 g


23.6 mm


1.8 mm







  • reeded (1964)
  • alternating plain and reeded (1966)

Crowned hornbill (Tockus alboterminatus), value

v · d · e

The 1 shilling coin is a former circulation piece of the Republic of Zambia that was issued in two types from 1964 to 1966. With the establishment of the Zambian pound in 1964, the first 1 shilling coin was introduced that year. It was followed only two years later in 1966 by a modified second piece bearing the likeness of President Kenneth Kaunda (1924–; i.o. 1964–1991).

Both coins initially held legal tender status in their country of origin, carrying a nominal value of 120 of a pound. With the introduction of the Zambian kwacha in 1968, the pieces were eventually demonetized. They temporarily remained valid for 0.10 kwacha during the currency changeover; because of this, the designs of the 1966 shilling were transferred to the first 10 ngwee coin, its decimalized equivalent.

Both pieces were issued by the Bank of Zambia, Zambia's central bank, and struck under commission at the Royal Mint at Tower Hill, London.


1964 coin[]

Zambia 1 shilling 1964

1964 shilling

In response to increasing social pressures in Rhodesia and Nyasaland, the United Kingdom dissolved the federation in 1963 and granted independence to its protectorate of Northern Rhodesia in 1964. Soon after, the territory changed its name to the Republic of Zambia, and Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda was installed as the independent nation's first President. Shortly after becoming a sovereign country, Zambia introduced its own pound to replace the previous currency of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In 1964, the newly established Bank of Zambia commissioned the Royal Mint in Tower Hill, London, to strike the first series of Zambian circulation coins in denominations of 6 pence and 1 and 2 shillings. The mint contracted Norman Sillman (1921–2013), a prominent English sculptor, to design and engrave all three pieces.

The 1 shilling coin of the series is composed of a cupronickel alloy of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel and measures 5.6 grams in mass, 23.6 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.

Displayed in the center of the obverse is a simplified version of the coat of arms of Zambia – which consists of a central escutcheon decorated with wavy lines, surmounted by a crossing hoe and pickaxe and an African fish eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) with outspread wings. The supporters included in the full rendition of the arms, in addition to the compartment on which they and various symbols stand and the scroll bearing Zambia's national motto, are omitted on the coin. The Gregorian date of minting, "1964", is engraved horizontally in the middle of the obverse, the first two digits (19) separated from the last two (64) by the coat of arms. Printed in a counterclockwise direction along the coin's lower periphery is the state title "ZAMBIA".

A crowned hornbill (Tockus alboterminatus), a species of bird native to parts of Zambia, is illustrated facing left and perched on a branch at the upper right side of the reverse. Printed horizontally to the left is "1S", which identifies a face value of 1 shilling. The "S", an abbreviation for the Latin solidi, has historically been used to express amounts in shillings in pound-based currencies. "ONE SHILLING", another rendering of the coin's face value, is written horizontally below the bird and the "1S". Such text is separated onto two lines and is aligned to the right.

A total of 3,515,000 examples of the first Zambian shilling were produced, including 3,510,000 business strikes and 5,000 proofs. All of the proofs were initially sold in proof sets with the other 1964 coins. Because some of these sets have since been broken, however, the proofs have been sold individually as well.

Year Mintage
1964 3,510,000
1964 Proof 5,000
Total 3,515,000

1966 coin[]

See also: Zambian 10 ngwee coin, Zambian 25 ngwee coin
Zambia 10 ngwee 1968

The designs of the 1966 shilling were later used for the first 10 ngwee coin

In 1966, nearly two years into the administration of Kenneth Kaunda, the Bank of Zambia commissioned the Royal Mint to strike the second (and final) series of coins for the Zambian pound. This new series included the same denominations as the previous, with the addition of a penny. Norman Sillman was responsible for designing the obverses for the new 6 pence and 1 and 2 shilling coins; the reverses remained unaltered. The designs of the 1966 shilling (pictured above) would later be adapted for Zambia's first 10 ngwee coin, as would the designs of the 6 pence and 2 shilling pieces for the 5 and 20 ngwee coins, respectively. The reverse design of the shilling would then be reused for a final time on the 25 ngwee coin of 1992.

The composition and dimensions of the second Zambian shilling are identical to those of the 1964 coin. It is made of a cupronickel alloy of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel and measures 5.6 grams in mass, 23.6 millimeters in diameter, and 1.8 millimeters in thickness. It has medallic alignment; raised, undecorated rims; and an alternating plain and reeded edge. Like most coins, the 1966 shilling is round in shape.

A right-facing bust of Kenneth Kaunda is displayed in the middle of the obverse, in place of the coat of arms that originally appeared on the 1964 coin. Such a depiction was first utilized on a commemorative 5 shilling coin issued in 1965 in celebration of Zambia's first anniversary of independence. Printed clockwise along the rim above is the state title "ZAMBIA", and inscribed in the opposite direction at the periphery below is the Gregorian date of minting, "1966".

The reverse is identical to that of the 1964 shilling, featuring a crowned hornbill at the upper right, the abbreviated value "1S at the center left, and the written-out value "ONE SHILLING" at the bottom center.

A total of 5,000,060 examples of the 1966 shilling were produced, including 5,000,000 business strikes and 60 proofs. The proofs were exclusively included in 30 sets along with the penny, 6 pence, and 2 shilling pieces, with two of each coin per set. Business strikes are relatively common, but proofs are considered extremely rare. As of its most recent publication, the popular Standard Catalog of World Coins does not contain pricing information for the proofs.

Year Mintage
1966 5,000,000
1966 Proof 60
Total 5,000,060


 v · d · e
Zambian pound
Banknotes 10s£1£5
Coins 1d6d1s2s5s
Miscellaneous Bank of ZambiaDe La RuePennyPoundRoyal MintShilling