Shilling 1919, Coin from British West Africa - detailed information

Shilling 1919, Coin from British West Africa (demonetised 1965)
CoinShilling 1919

The Shilling 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).

The British West African pound was also adopted by Liberia between 1907 and 1943, and Togo and Cameroon after 1914 and 1916 respectively.

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

Thus, coins issued in 1919 were legal tender for up to 46 years depending on location - although in reality the population would have withdrawn them from circulation after the debasement of the coin type in 1920.

MintMint markMintage
Royal Mint No mint mark 2,000,000
Heaton and Sons (Birmingham Mint) Letter H 992,045
Obverse
British West Africa / Shilling 1919 - obverse photo

Crowned and draped bust of King George V facing left (crowned effigy by Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal); the King is wearing the Imperial Crown and the ermine Robe of State, the Collar of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and the Badge of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.

The artist's initials BM are in relief on the bust truncation.

Around, the monarch's legend GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:. Translated from Latin: George the Fifth, by the Grace of God, King of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.

Obverse Inscription · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Reverse
British West Africa / Shilling 1919 - reverse photo

At centre, dividing the date 1919, a palm tree; around outside a circle broken by decorative extensions adjacent to the date, BRITISH WEST AFRICA (above) and the denomination ONE SHILLING (below).

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

Reverse Inscription BRITISH WEST AFRICA ONE SHILLING 1919
EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone
Shilling 1919: Known varieties
Variety Proof (Heaton Mint)
Mintage unknown
Shilling 1919: References to Information Used
All (28) Coins of Country: British West Africa, Type: Shilling
Coin NameMintageEffigyLegend
Shilling 1913 12,340,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1914 14,292,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1915 254,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1916 11,837,732 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1917 15,018,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1918 9,486,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1919 2,992,045 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1920 (Silver) 828,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1920 (Brass) 33,816,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1922 33,324,355 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1923 29,384,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1924 33,566,800 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1925 19,800,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1926 19,952,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1927 22,248,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1928 10,000,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1936 42,882,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) · GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Shilling 1938 57,806,287 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Shilling 1939 55,471,675 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Shilling 1940 40,311,060 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Shilling 1942 42,000,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Shilling 1943 133,600,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Shilling 1945 31,994,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Shilling 1946 37,349,770 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Shilling 1947 119,584,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Shilling 1949 90,016,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: +
Shilling 1951 62,178,142 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: +
Shilling 1952 184,402,545 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: +
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Shilling 1919: Details
CountryBritish West Africa
CurrencyBritish West African Pound
Coin TypeShilling (Silver)
Issued1919
MonarchKing George V
EffigyPortrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust)
Face Value1 (x Shilling)
Mintage2,992,045
CurrentNo; demonetised 1965
MaterialSilver
Designer
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
Size (mm)23
Mass (g)5.6600
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Shilling 1919: Photos
ImageDetails
Coin, British West Africa, George V, Shilling, 1919
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Notes: Royal Mint (no mint mark).
Source
Coin, British West Africa, George V, Shilling, 1919
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Source
One Shilling
Copyright: British Museum / CC BY-NC-SA
Notes: Heaton Mint (H mint mark).
Source
Shilling 1919: Catalogue Reference IDs
SourceReference ID
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsBritish West Africa KM# 12
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