Coins from Ethiopia

Known as Abyssinia until 1931, Ethiopia is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa region, bordered by Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Kenya. With a population of more than 102 million, it is the most populous landlocked country in the world. Maria Theresa Thalers were used extensively as coinage until the Ethiopian Birr was introduced as a standard currency in 1893. Initially subdivided into 20 Ghersh, or 40 Bessa a new currency divided into 16 Ghersh or 32 Bessa was issued in 1903. The Birr was decimalized in 1931 and divided into 100 Metonnyas, and this currency was used until the Italian occupation of 1936 and was reintroduced in 1945 after liberation. Ethiopia’s numismatic history was affected by the multitude of different currency influences that arose in the following years. The Birr had first been tied to the Italian Lire and then to the East African Shilling, during which time the subdivision became known as the Santeem, after the French Centime. These new conventions were formalised in 1976 when a new Birr coinage was released, still used to the present day. Ethiopian coins carry inscriptions in the Amharic language, using the Amharic alphabet. The Ethiopian numeric system also differs from the decimal system used in most countries, and the calendar also uses a different zero point, eight years earlier than the more common used AD/CE calendar. This can create confusion in the identification and precise dating of Ethiopian coinage. Currently circulating denominations are 10, 25 and 50 Santeem, and a bimetallic 1 Birr. Non-circulating commemorative coins are issued in higher denominations, usually struck in precious metal.
Wikidata: Q115

See also: Eritrea

Display options119 results found.
Order by: face value - ruling authority - type - date - reference
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Birr (1894-1931)

1 Birr = 20 Gersh = 40 Bessa; Werk ~ 4 Birr

1 Werk - Zauditu
1923 (1931)

Gold (.900) • 7 g • ⌀ 21 mm
KM# 21

Birr (decimalized, 1931-1936)

100 Metonnyas = 1 Birr

Available for swap 1 Matona - Hailé Selassié I
1923 (1931)

Copper • 1.5 g • ⌀ 16.0 mm
KM# 27, Schön# 23
Available for swap 5 Matonas - Hailé Selassié I
1923 (1931)

Copper • 3.0 g • ⌀ 20.7 mm
KM# 28, Schön# 24
Available for swap 10 Matonas - Hailé Selassié I
1923 (1931)

Nickel • 2.0 g • ⌀ 15.7 mm
KM# 29, Schön# 25
Available for swap 25 Matonas - Hailé Selassié I
1923 (1931)

Nickel • 4.97 g • ⌀ 21.58 mm
KM# 30, Schön# 26
Available for swap 50 Matonas - Hailé Selassié I
1923 (1931)

Nickel • 7.11 g • ⌀ 26.7 mm
KM# 31, Schön# 27

Birr (1944-date)

100 Santim = 1 Birr

Available for swap 1 Santeem - Haile Selassie I
1936 (1944)

Copper • 2.892 g • ⌀ 17 mm
KM# 32, Schön# 28
Available for swap 1 Santeem (FAO)
1969-1997 (1977-2005)

Aluminium • 0.6 g • ⌀ 17 mm
KM# 43, Schön# 50
Available for swap 5 Santeem - Hailé Selassié I
1936 (1944)

Copper • 4 g • ⌀ 20 mm
KM# 33, Schön# 29
Available for swap 5 Santeem (non magnetic)
1969 (1977)

Brass • 3 g • ⌀ 20 mm
KM# 44, Schön# 51
Available for swap 5 Santeem (magnetic)
1969-2004 (1977-2012)

Brass plated steel • 2.961 g • ⌀ 20 mm
KM# 44.3, Schön# 51a
Available for swap 10 Santeem - Haile Selassie I
1936 (1944)

Copper • 6.0 g • ⌀ 22.8 mm
KM# 34, Schön# 30
Available for swap 10 Santeem (non magnetic)
1969 (1977)

Brass • 4.5 g • ⌀ 23 mm
KM# 45, Schön# 52
Available for swap 10 Santeem (magnetic)
1996-2004 (2004-2012)

Brass plated steel • 4.563 g • ⌀ 23 mm
KM# 45.3, Schön# 52a
Available for swap 25 Santeem - Hailé Selassié I
1936 (1944)

Copper • ⌀ 26 mm
KM# 35, Schön# 31
Available for swap 25 Santeem - Hailé Selassié I
1936 (1944)

Copper • 6.63 g • ⌀ 25.5 mm
KM# 36, Schön# 32
Available for swap 25 Santeem
1969 (1977)

Copper-nickel • 3.7 g • ⌀ 21.45 mm
KM# 46, Schön# 53
Available for swap 25 Santeem (magnetic)
1969-2008 (1977-2016)

Nickel plated steel • 3.292 g • ⌀ 21.45 mm
KM# 46.3, Schön# 53a
Available for swap 50 Santeem - Hailé Selassié I
1936 (1944)

Silver (.800) • 7.0307 g • ⌀ 25 mm
KM# 37, Schön# 33
Available for swap 50 Santeem - Hailé Selassié I
1936 (1944)

Silver (.700) • 6.95 g • ⌀ 25 mm
KM# 37a, Schön# 33a
Available for swap 50 Santeem
1969-1997 (1977-2005)

Copper-nickel • 6 g • ⌀ 25 mm
KM# 47, Schön# 54
Available for swap 50 Santeem (magnetic)
1969-2008 (1977-2016)

Copper-nickel plated steel • 5.40 g • ⌀ 25 mm
KM# 47.2, Schön#