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Malawi’s Latest Coins – The 2003 Series and Beyond…

For my first page for Malawi I detailed the country’s 1995/1996 series of circulation coins, gave an update to show a new date “2003” for the 1 Kwacha and mentioned that perhaps the 1 Kwacha 2003 would be the last Malawian coin to show President Bakili Muluzi. It has turned out to be correct that the coins of 2003 (the first since the 1995/1996 series) are the last Malawian coins to show Bakili Muluzi. Furthermore – there is a whole set of 2003 dated coins for Malawi and not all include the presidential portrait.
 

The 2003 Series

It would seem it took a while for the authorities to issue some of the 2003 dated coins of Malawi. I first got a 1 Kwacha 2003 in Jan-2004, but it took until Jul-2006 until I got a 1 Tambala 2003 and a 2 Tambala and even longer until I got the other pieces. The table below compares the 2003 dated issues with those dated 1995 and 1996. Notably the 1, 2 and 5 Tambala all have a coat of arms on the obverse and each of these three is a little different to earlier pieces.


Table - Malawi 1995 - 1996 - 2003 Coins
Comparison of Malawian Coins of 1995, 1996 and 2003 (Reference, Composition, Obverse, Reverse)

The 1 Tambala 2003 coins are a new sub-type as the 1 Tambala coins of 1995 with the coat of arms obverse (i.e. KM-33) are Bronze, not Copper-plated-Steel.

The 2 Tambala 2003 coins are a new sub-type as the 2 Tambala coins of 1995 with the coat of arms obverse (i.e. KM-34) did not include the designer’s initials on the reverse and are Bronze, not Copper-plated-Steel.

The 5 Tambala 2003 coins are a new variety as the 5 Tambala coins of 1995 with the coat of arms obverse (i.e. KM-32.1, previously KM-32) did not include the designer’s initials “P.V.” on the reverse.

The 10 Tambala 2003 coins are of the exact same type as those of 1995 (i.e. KM-27).

No pieces are known to exist of 20 Tambala with date 2003.

The 50 Tambala 2003 coins are of the exact same type as those of 1996 (i.e. KM-30). The 1 Kwacha 2003 coins are of the exact same type as those of 1996 (i.e. KM-28). 

A keen observer of the foreign coins made by the Royal Canadian Mint, informed me in Oct-2006 that amongst the 100 or so foreign coins he saw in a display at that mint, there was a Malawi 2 Tambala 1995 of the type with the coat of arms obverse (KM-34). The 1995 “coat of arms” 1, 2 and 5 Tambala coins are all without designer’s initial’s “P.V.”. The 1 Tambala, 50 Tambala and 1 Kwacha reverses from 1995 to 2003 never include designer’s initial’s “P.V.” as they were not from the original Malawi decimal series of 1971 as designed by Paul Vincze. The reason for the absence designer’s initial’s “P.V.” on the 1995 “coat of arms” 2 and 5 Tambala coins must be because of their minter having been the Royal Canadian Mint. In a similar manner, when the RCM has made coins for Madagascar there have been changes/omissions regarding the minter/designer marks of the French mint (the previous producer). From this and other sources, it is known that the 1995 “coat of arms” 1, 2 and 5 Tambala coins were made by the Royal Canadian Mint and all other Malawi coins of 1995 to 2003 (possibly to 2006) have been made by the British Royal Mint (the minter of the 1971 series).


The 2004 Coins

The portrait that had first appeared on Malawi’s coins in 1995 was that of Bakili Muluzi. He was President of Malawi from May-1994 until May-2004. His immediate successor was Bingu wa Mutharika. The new president has evidently decided against having his image on any coinage. No Malawian circulation coins after 2003 include a presidential portrait; instead they now all show the nation’s coat of arms on the obverse.

I have just a 50 Tambala and a 1 Kwacha of 2004 and I believe these are the only circulation coins with that date.

Malawi 50 Tambala 2004
The 50 Tambala of 2004.


All previous 50 Tambala coins i.e. those of type KM-19 (1986 and 1994) and of type KM-30 (1996 and 2003) featured a presidential portrait (with country name) on the obverse and the country’s coat of arm (with date and denomination) on the reverse. So if a new 50 Tambala was not to include a presidential portrait then a new design was required. The 2004 50 Tambala above features the coat of arms (with country name) on the obverse and two zebras (with date and denomination) on the reverse. This new type has the same size shape and material as 50 Tambala KM-30.

Malawi 1 Kwacha 2004
The 1 Kwacha of 2004.
 

The 1 Kwacha of the 2004 has the same reverse as KM-28 (i.e. an African Fish Eagle in flight, date and denomination), but the obverse is changed being as it features the country’s coat of arms and the country name. This new type is of the same size, shape and material as 1 Kwacha coins of type KM-28.

The first I knew of these two 2004 dated coins was when I acquired them in July 2006. It would seem that they had not been around long at that time.

The 2006 Coins

It was in Feb-2006 that the Reserve Bank of Malawi first revealed it would be issuing 5 Kwacha and 10 Kwacha coins. On the 1-Nov-2006 the bank announced that it expected to issue the new coins in the following month. It would seem that the coins were first released not so soon as Dec-2006 but rather Jan-2007, all are dated 2006.

Malawi 5 Kwacha 2006
The bi-metallic 5 Kwacha coin with date 2006

The 5 Kwacha is bi-metallic with Copper-Nickel ring and Nickel-Brass centre. The obverse features the country name and coat of arms. The reverse features fishermen at work, the date and the denomination. These have a diameter of 27.0mm; my piece has a mass of 10.3 grams and has thickness, at the rim, of approximately 2.5mm. The edge on this type is reeded.

Malawi 10 Kwacha 2006
The bi-metallic 10 Kwacha coin with date 2006

The 10 Kwacha is bi-metallic with Nickel-Brass ring and Copper-Nickel centre. The obverse features the country name and coat of arms. The reverse features tea picking, the date and the denomination. These have a diameter of 28.0mm; my piece has a mass of 15.1 grams and has thickness, at the rim, of approximately 3.3mm (even thicker than the 5 Kwacha). The edge on this type is very coarsely reeded.

Expect the next coins here to be Malawi 1, 5 and 10 Kwacha of 2012.

NOTE: All coin images on this page scaled at approximately 250dpi.


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Added "Malawi’s Latest Coins – The 2003 Series and Beyond…" at May 2013.