A few coins and a bit of history

    On 13th August 1960, the Central African Republic came into being when full independence from France was attained.

    The first coins of the C.A.R. were a series of Gold commemorative coins in 1970, these are in many ways similar to the 1970 Gold commemoratives of Cameroon.
    The first circulation coins were 100 Franc coins dated 1971. There are a number of other dates of this denomination. There is quite a difference in the main legend for the rather scarce 1978 dated 100 Franc coins. Well only one word is different, but it is one that is rather significant. “REPUBLIQUE CENTRAFRICAINE” became “EMPIRE CENTAFRICAIN” - the country’s leader Marhsal Jean-Bedel Bokassa made changes to the country’s constitution over a number of years. These changes likely helped him personally, but only made things worse for the people of the country. From 4th December 1976 to 20th September 1979 he was Emperor of the country he had made an Empire.

Central African Empire 100 Francs 1978
The Central African Empire 100 Francs of 1978. (Image from Wang Wei)

    The empire period came to an end with the French-backed overthrowing of Bokassa. The 1979 100 Franc coins saw a return to the use of “REPUBLIQUE CENTRAFRICAINE” for the obverse legend. It would seem that the 1990 100 Francs must be the last coins specifically of C.A.R. The only other C.A.R. coins were 1985 and 1986 dated 500 Franc coins which are a little scarce.
    The Central African Republic along with Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon is a member of the Central African States. These six nations form the Central Africa Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), whose common central bank is the Bank of Central African States (BEAC).
    The circulation coins of C.A.R. are somewhat thin in number (most are just 100 Francs and all are from the period 1970 to 1990 inclusive). The Bank of the Central African States issues (or has issued) coins of denominations 500 Francs down to 1 Franc and these are for use in any of the countries in CEMAC. Furthermore, the 1976-1991 dated 50 Francs and the 500 Francs 1976 to 1984 all had a letter A, B, C, D or E on them to show their intended country of first issue. The pieces with the letter “B” were the ones first issued in C.A.R. The Central African States evolved from the Equatorial African States and the coins of the Equatorial African States were widely used in C.A.R. and are dated 1958 to 1973.


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