Two Shillings 1938, Coin from British West Africa - detailed information

Two Shillings 1938, Coin from British West Africa (demonetised 1968)
CoinTwo Shillings 1938

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: first silver coins; this was later changed to tin brass, and finally to to nickel brass - such as this coin.

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 1938 would have circulated for up to 30 years depending on location.

MintMint markTotal Mintage
Birmingham Mint Letter H unknown
King's Norton Metal Co. Letters KN unknown
Obverse
British West Africa / Two Shillings 1938 - obverse photo

Crowned head of King George VI facing left; around, the monarch's legend: GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:. Translated from Latin: George VI, by the Grace of God, King of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.

Below the neck truncation in small letters are the artist's initials PM (for Percy Metcalfe).

Obverse Inscription GEORGIVS VI D · G · BRITT · OMN · REX F · D · IND · IMP:
Reverse
British West Africa / Two Shillings 1938 - reverse photo

At centre, dividing the date 1938, 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 for the Birmingham Mint (ex Heaton and Sons) or KN for the King's Norton Metal Co., is in very small letters in relief at the base of the palm tree.

Reverse Inscription BRITISH WEST AFRICA TWO SHILLINGS 1936
EdgeSecurity GrooveEdge InscriptionNone
Two Shillings 1938: Known varieties
Variety Milled edge (King's Norton Metal Co.)
Mintage Issued: unknown (included in total)
Variety Specimen (King's Norton Metal Co.)
Images British West Africa / Two Shillings 1938 / Specimen (King's Norton Metal Co.) - obverse photo British West Africa / Two Shillings 1938 / Specimen (King's Norton Metal Co.) - reverse photo
Mintage Issued: unknown. Rarity: R7 (Highest rarity possible, 3 or less examples known)
Details

The word SPECIMEN is in raised letters in the reverse field. Struck with two striped silver or steel strips running through the coin. Only two specimens are known.

Two Shillings 1938: References to Information Used
All (25) Coins of Country: British West Africa, Type: Two Shillings
Coin NameMintageEffigyLegend
Two Shillings 1913 3,276,000 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1914 967,000 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1915 65,654 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1916 9,824,480 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1917 1,059,000 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1918 7,294,000 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1919 12,866,000 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1920 (Silver) 2,608,960 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1920 (Brass) 15,856,000 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1922 15,500,000 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1923 12,698,233 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1924 1,500,000 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1925 3,700,000 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1926 11,500,000 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1927 11,100,000 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1928 7,900,000 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Two Shillings 1936 57,437,000 King George V - Crowned Bust, by Mackennal 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
Advertising
Bullion just a click away! SilverGoldBull.com
Bullion just a click away! SilverGoldBull.com
Two Shillings 1938: Details
CountryBritish West Africa
CurrencyBritish West African Pound
Coin TypeTwo Shillings, Nickel Brass
Issued1938
MonarchKing George VI
EffigyPortrait by Percy Metcalfe (Crowned Head)
Face Value2 (x Shilling)
Mintage59,852,000 (59.9 million)
CurrentNo; demonetised 1968
MaterialNickel Brass
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size28.510 mm
Mass11.370 g
OCC IDDKLM-OMKC-VBBY-ONZB
Share or Bookmark this Page
Two Shillings 1938: Photos
ImageDetails
British West Africa 1938-KN 2 shillings
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Author:
Notes: King's Norton Metal Co. (KN mint mark).
Source
British West Africa 1938-KN 2 shillings
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Author:
Source
Two Shillings
Copyright: British Museum / CC BY-NC-SA
Notes: Heaton Mint (H mint mark).
Source
George VI brass with silver or steel strips Pattern 2 Shillings 1938-KN
Copyright: Heritage Auctions
Source
George VI brass with silver or steel strips Pattern 2 Shillings 1938-KN
Copyright: Heritage Auctions
Source
Two Shillings 1938: Catalogue Reference IDs
SourceReference ID
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsBritish West Africa KM# 24