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Information about currency: British West African Pound

Currency nameBritish West African Pound
CountryBritish West Africa
Dates1907 - 1968
System

1 Pound = 20 Shillings, 1 Shilling = 12 Pence

Description

The British West African Pound was once the currency of British West Africa, a group of British colonies, protectorates and mandate territories. It was equal to the pound sterling and was similarly subdivided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence.

In the 19th century, the pound sterling became the currency of the British West African territories and standard issue United Kingdom coinage circulated. The West African territories in question were Nigeria, the Gold Coast (now Ghana), Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

In 1912, the authorities in London set up the West African Currency Board and issued a distinctive set of sterling coinage for use in British West Africa. The circumstance prompting this move was a tendency for existing UK coins used in the West African territories to leave the region and return to the UK, hence causing a local dearth of coinage. A unique British West African variety of the sterling coinage would not be accepted in the shops of Britain and so would remain in circulation locally.

The British West African pound was also adopted by Liberia in 1907, replacing the Liberian dollar, although it was not served by the West African Currency Board. Liberia changed to the U.S. dollar in 1943. Togo and Cameroon adopted the West African currency in 1914 and 1916 respectively, when British and French troops took over those colonies from Germany as part of World War I.

In 1907, aluminium  1⁄10 penny and cupro-nickel 1 penny coins were introduced. Both coins were holed. In 1908, cupro-nickel replaced aluminium in the  1⁄10 penny and, in 1911, holed, cupro-nickel ½ penny coins were introduced. In 1913, silver 3 and 6 pence, 1 and 2 shillings were introduced. In 1920, brass replaced silver in these denominations.

In 1938, larger, cupro-nickel 3 pence coins were introduced, with nickel-brass replacing brass in the higher denominations. In 1952, bronze replaced cupro-nickel in the  1⁄10, ½ and 1 penny coins. The last coins of British West Africa (pennies) were struck in 1958.

Beginning in 1958, the British West African pound was replaced by local currencies in the individual territories. The replacements were:

- Nigerian pound (1958) for Nigeria and Western Nigeria
- Ghanaian pound (1958) for Ghana
- CFA franc (1961) for British Cameroon
- Leone (1964) for Sierra Leone
- Gambian pound (1968) for Gambia

Currency British West African Pound was used:
Country From To
Gambia British West African Pound 1965 1968
Sierra Leone British West African Pound 1961 1964
Cameroon British West African Pound 1960 1961
Ghana British West African Pound 1957 1958
Liberia British West African Pound 1907 1935
British West Africa British West African Pound 1907 1965
Coin types of currency British West African Pound:
Two Shillings 1913 - 1952
  Two Shillings (Sterling Silver) 1913 - 1920
  Two Shillings (Debased Silver) 1920 - 1920
  Two Shillings (Tin Brass) 1920 - 1936
  Two Shillings (Nickel Brass) 1938 - 1952

Shilling 1913 - 1952
  Shilling (Silver) 1913 - 1920
  Shilling (Tin Brass, George V) 1920 - 1936
  Shilling (Nickel Brass) 1938 - 1947
  Shilling (Tin Brass, George VI) 1949 - 1952

Sixpence 1913 - 1952
  Sixpence (Sterling Silver) 1913 - 1919
  Sixpence (Debased Silver) 1920 - 1920
  Sixpence (Tin Brass) 1920 - 1936
  Sixpence (Nickel Brass) 1938 - 1952

Threepence 1913 - 1957
  Threepence (Sterling Silver) 1913 - 1919
  Threepence (Debased Silver) 1920 - 1920
  Threepence (Tin Brass) 1920 - 1936
  Threepence (CuproNickel) 1938 - 1957

One Penny 1907 - 1958
  One Penny (CuproNickel) 1907 - 1951
  One Penny (Bronze) 1952 - 1958

Halfpenny 1911 - 1952
  Halfpenny (George V and Edward VIII) 1911 - 1936
  Halfpenny (George VI, CuproNickel) 1911 - 1951
  Halfpenny (George VI, Bronze) 1952 - 1952

One-tenth Penny 1907 - 1957
  One-tenth Penny (Aluminium, Edward VII) 1907 - 1908
  One-tenth Penny (CuproNickel, Edward VII) 1908 - 1910
  One-tenth Penny (CuproNickel, George V) 1911 - 1936
  One-tenth Penny (CuproNickel, Edward VIII) 1936 - 1936
  One-tenth Penny (CuproNickel, George VI) 1938 - 1950
  One-tenth Penny (Bronze, George VI) 1952 - 1952
  One-tenth Penny (Bronze, Elizabeth II) 1954 - 1957