Two Shillings 1913, Coin from British West Africa - detailed information

Two Shillings 1913, Coin from British West Africa (demonetised 1968)
CoinTwo Shillings 1913

The Two Shillings coin was the largest circulating denomination of the British West African Pound. As with its British counterpart (called a Florin), 2 shillings were equal to 24 pence, or to one tenth of a 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 two shillings 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 three types issued: silver coins - such as this one; this was later changed to tin brass, then to nickel brass.

After decolonisation, the coins were replaced by the various new countries as they introduced their own independent currencies:
- Nigeria introduced the Nigerian Pound in 1958
- Ghana introduced in Ghanaian Pound in 1958
- British Cameroon (on unification with Cameroon) adopted the Central African 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. Thus, two shilling coins issued in 1913 would have circulated for up to 55 years depending on location.

MintMint markMintage
Royal Mint No mint mark 2,100,000 (2.1 million)
Birmingham Mint Letter H 1,176,000 (1.2 million)
Obverse
British West Africa / Two Shillings 1913 - 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 / Two Shillings 1913 - reverse photo

At centre, dividing the date 1913, 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 TWO SHILLINGS.

The mint mark H of the Birmingham Mint (ex Heaton and Sons) is a very small letter in relief at the base of the palm tree. Coins struck by the Royal Mint have no mint mark.

Reverse Inscription BRITISH WEST AFRICA TWO SHILLINGS 1913
EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone
Two Shillings 1913: Known varieties
Variety Proof (Royal Mint)
Mintage unknown
Two Shillings 1913: References to Information Used
All (25) Coins of Country: British West Africa, Type: Two Shillings
Coin NameMintageEffigyLegend
Two Shillings 1913 3,276,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1914 967,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1915 65,654 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1916 9,824,480 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1917 1,059,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1918 7,294,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1919 12,866,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1920 2,608,960 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1920 (Brass) 15,856,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1922 15,500,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1923 12,698,233 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1924 1,500,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1925 3,700,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1926 11,500,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1927 11,100,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1928 7,900,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1936 57,437,000 Portrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust) GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1938 59,852,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Two Shillings 1939 12,000,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Two Shillings 1942 10,000,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Two Shillings 1946 16,042,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Two Shillings 1947 8,958,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Two Shillings 1949 15,076,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) + GEORGIVS VI DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID DEF
Two Shillings 1951 6,566,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) + GEORGIVS VI DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID DEF
Two Shillings 1952 5,646,000 Portrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head) + GEORGIVS VI DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID DEF
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Two Shillings 1913: Details
CountryBritish West Africa
CurrencyBritish West African Pound
Coin TypeTwo Shillings, Silver
Issued1913
MonarchKing George V
EffigyPortrait by Bertram Mackennal (Crowned Bust)
Face Value2 (x Shilling)
Mintage3,276,000 (3.3 million)
CurrentNo; demonetised 1968
Material0.925 Silver
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size (mm)28.3000
Mass (g)11.3100
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Two Shillings 1913: Photos
ImageDetails
Coin - 2 Shillings, British West Africa, 1913
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: Royal Mint (no mint mark).
Source
Coin - 2 Shillings, British West Africa, 1913
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Source
British West Africa 1913-H 2 shillings
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Author:
Notes: Heaton Mint (H mint mark).
Source
British West Africa 1913-H 2 shillings
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Author:
Source
Two Shillings 1913: Catalogue Reference IDs
SourceReference ID
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsBritish West Africa KM# 13