One Shilling, Coin Type from British West Africa - detailed information

One Shilling, Coin Type from British West Africa (issued 1913 - 1952)
Coin TypeOne Shilling

The One Shilling coin was a circulating denomination of the British West African Pound. As with its British counterpart, one shilling was equal to 12 pence, and 20 shillings made one pound.

In the 19th century, the (pre-decimal) pound sterling became the currency of the British West African territories and standard issue United Kingdom coinage circulated for a while. 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.

Consequently, the British West African shilling coins were made very different from their Imperial counterparts. Apart from changing to base metals earlier than the Imperial coinage, two visible differences were the local reverse and the fact that the monarch's effigy on the obverse was crowned - to signify the status of the coinage as being colonial. The monarch's legend though was the same as on standard British coinage (in Latin).

There were four types issued:
- silver coins - 1913 - 1920, for King George V
- tin brass coins - 1920 - 1936, for King George V
- nickel brass coins - 1938 - 1947, for King George VI
- smaller tin brass coins - 1949 - 1952, for King George VI

No shilling coins were issued for King Edward VIII or Queen Elizabeth II in British West Africa.

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.

After decolonisation, the coins were demonetised by the various countries as they introduced their own independent currencies:
- Nigeria introduced the Nigerian Pound in 1958
- Ghana introduced in Ghanaian Pound in 1958
- British Cameroon adopted the CFA franc in 1961
- Sierra Leone introduced the Leone in 1964
- Gambia introduced the Gambian Pound in 1965

In some places, British West African coins circulated in parallel with the new coinage until 1968.

Obverse
British West Africa / One Shilling - obverse photo

Effigy of the ruling British monarch, legend (in Latin).

Obverse InscriptionLegend of the ruling British monarch
Reverse
British West Africa / One Shilling - reverse photo

At centre, dividing the date [year], is a palm tree.

Around above, outside a circle broken by decorative extensions adjacent to the date, the legend BRITISH WEST AFRICA; around below, the value and denomination ONE SHILLING.

The mint mark (if any) is in very small letters buried at the base of the palm tree.

Reverse InscriptionBRITISH WEST AFRICA [year] ONE SHILLING
Edge
Edge InscriptionNone
Notes

References to additional information:

[Book] Remick, Jerome. 1971. The Guide Book and Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins, pp 87-95.
[Book] Vice, David. 1983. The Coinage of British West Africa & St. Helena 1684 - 1958.

All Coins of Type: One Shilling (28)
Coin NameMintageEffigyLegend
One Shilling 1913 12,340,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1914 14,292,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1915 254,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1916 11,837,732 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1917 15,018,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1918 9,486,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1919 2,992,045 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1920 (Silver) 828,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1920 (Brass) 33,816,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1922 33,324,355 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1923 29,384,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1924 33,566,800 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1925 19,800,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1926 19,952,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1927 22,248,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1928 10,000,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1936 42,882,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
One Shilling 1938 57,806,287 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
One Shilling 1939 55,471,675 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
One Shilling 1940 40,311,060 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
One Shilling 1942 42,000,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
One Shilling 1943 133,600,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
One Shilling 1945 31,994,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
One Shilling 1946 37,349,770 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
One Shilling 1947 119,584,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
One Shilling 1949 90,016,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) + GEORGIVS VI DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF:
One Shilling 1951 62,178,142 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) + GEORGIVS VI DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF:
One Shilling 1952 184,402,545 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) + GEORGIVS VI DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF:
Advertising
Royal Mint Bullion
Royal Mint Bullion
One Shilling: Details
CountryBritish West Africa
CurrencyBritish West African Pound
Sub-types One Shilling, Silver
One Shilling, Tin Brass (George V)
One Shilling, Nickel Brass
One Shilling, Tin Brass (George VI)
From1913
To1952
Face Value1 (x Shilling)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1968)
Material
Designer
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size (mm)
Mass (g)
One Shilling: Photos
ImageDetails
British West Africa 1913 Shilling
Copyright: smarty_marty24
Notes: Silver (1913 - 1920).
Source
Proof Coin - 1 Shilling, British West Africa, 1925
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: Tin brass (1920 - 1936, 1949 - 1952).
Source
Proof Coin - 1 Shilling, British West Africa, 1938
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: Nickel brass (1938 - 1947).
Source
Coin - 1 Shilling, British West Africa, 1913
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Source
Proof Coin - 1 Shilling, British West Africa, 1925
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Source
Proof Coin - 1 Shilling, British West Africa, 1938
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: King George VI, Emperor of India (1938 - 1947).
Source
Proof Coin - 1 Shilling, British West Africa, 1949
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: King George VI (1949 - 1952).
Source