History and a few coins

   Guinea-Bissau has strong colonial links with Portugal and was known as Portuguese Guinea until independence. Independence was declared by Guinea-Bissau on the 24 September but not recognised by Portugal until 10th September 1974. Three other African nations have colonial links with Portugal too, they are Angola, Mozambique and St. Thomas & Prince.

   There were a number of circulation coins made for Portuguese Guinea, in a style similar to Portugal’s coins. These older coins are all quite hard to find these days. The Guinea-Bissau coins are also hard to find. They are a 1977 series of five circulation coins (of a system 100 Centavos = 1 Peso) plus a number of later non-circulating legal tender coins.

Guinea-Bissau 20 Pesos 1977
The 20 Pesos of 1977, the highest denomination of that series.

   Guinea-Bissau’s circulation coins are now likely to stay few in number for quite some time. This is since on the 2nd of May 1997 Guinea-Bissau joined many of its neighbours in their common currency called the “CFA Franc (West)”. The Pesos of Guinea-Bissau were converted to the CFA Francs at a rate of 65 Pesos to 1 CFA Franc (West). Neither currency was devalued. The Peso denominated circulation coins, must have already been worthless by this time as the highest denomination of these is 20 Pesos and there has never been a West African States coins of value below 1 CFA Franc (West).

   The “CFA Franc (West)” is the common currency of Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. These eight countries form the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), whose common central bank is the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO). The coins circulating in these countries are issued by the BCEAO are are inscribed in French “BANQUE CENTRALE DES ETATS DE L’AFRIQUE DE L’OUEST”. The catologues list these coins under “West African States” for which there is a separate section here too.


Back to AFRICA main page.