Two things....
Lesotho's most recent coins
A Scarce Bi-metallic Issue of Lesotho

Lesotho's most recent coins

It was back in 1986 that I first got some Lesotho coins. They were a few 1979 and 1983 circulation pieces. I got these from a missionary priest whilst he was on a visit home. He is still working out there to this day.

Lesotho 20 Lisente 1998
The Lesotho 20 Lisente 1998 of the latest series.

The most recent series of coins in Lesotho were announced 3rd May 1999 and introduced in August 1999. The new coins are denominated 5, 10, 20 and 50 Lisente and 1 Loti. All are dated 1998 and generally smaller than the coins they replace.

It was originally planned that the series of coins that these pieces replaced would be demonitised on the last day of 1999 but the public’s slow reaction to the change resulted in the demonetisation date being moved on to the last day of March 2000. Making the 5 Lisente now the smallest circulation denomination in Lesotho. The four smallest of these denominations appear to be Brass-plated-Steel, diameter increases with denomination value. The 1 Loti appears to be Nickel-plated-Steel and its size fits in with the 2 and 5 Maloti coins dated 1996 which it joins in circulation.

One other interesting development in the recent coinages of Lesotho is that 1992 dated 1 Sente and 2 Lisente coins in Brass-plated-Steel as opposed to Brass (as currently listed in the references) seem to have gone quite unnoticed for sometime - though I managed to get one of each of these four coins recently. It is quite possible that the two varieties of each of these two types did not both appear in circulation in 1992 i.e. the pieces of Brass-plated-Steel may have only been released into circulation in the mid-1990's when the government decided to get more pieces made, but did not want to have new dates on the coins (this is known as having frozen dates).

A Scarce Bi-metallic Issue of Lesotho

Lesotho 5 Maloti of 1995 compared with (inset) Bahrain 100 Fils of 1995/1415.
The Lesotho 5 Maloti of 1995 and the quite similar Bahrain 100 Fils of 1995/1415 (inset).

The most recent coin of Lesotho to “surface” is dated 1995 and is Lesotho’s first bi-metallic. It would seem to be a very late arrival in the worldwide series of coins commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, having first appeared in the numismatic market around the end of December 2002. Shown next to the Lesotho bi-metallic in the image above is the rather similar looking Bahrain 100 Fils. This similarity of the 5 Maloti to the 100 Fils was something I realised as soon as I saw the 5 Maloti, initially I recognised the colouring similarities. Further investigations, led me to take a few measurement, just in case the two were made on a common planchet.

Comparison of measurements for 5 Maloti and 100 Fils
The measurements I made for comparison of bi-metallic 5 Maloti and 100 Fils coins.

My measurements suggest both pieces are made to a nominal diameter of 24.00mm. The measurements above are unable to conclude that both pieces are of same density as density cannot be accurately determined from my results, being as "thickness average" (as would be required) and "thickness at rim" (as above) are two quite different things for a coin, the former being about impossible to calculate by direct measurement. That said - the results above and the colouring similarities of these two coins are sufficient to suggest to be that rather likely the two are made from the same pair of alloys. Furthermore the planchet similarities and lots of other little clues (too long a list to mention) make me quite sure that the British Royal Mint was responsible for the production of both of these bi-metallic coins.

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The last paragraph of the first of the two sections above is rather similar to the paragraph I had in the "From the Mailbox" section of the December 2001 edition of the Numismatics International Bulletin (page 337, pages numbered through the year). Some Nigerian coin info from me also appeared in that section of that edition (page 338). That edition was the first in which I had published Africa related information - since then I have had "Other Items", occasionally "Features" in more than ten other editions of the bulletin.