NAMIBIA

A Variety of Information on the Coins of the Republic of Namibia

    Namibia gained its independence as the Republic of Namibia on the 21st of March 1990. Previously Namibia had been known as South West Africa and was governed under mandate by South Africa (1915 to 1990) and prior to that Namibia had been a German territory known as German South West African (1884 to 1915).

Obverse of the Namibian circulation coins.
Obverse of the 1993 circulation coins of Namibia - as seen on the 10 Cents.

    In 1993 Namibia’s first coins were introduced. They were a series of five circulation coins and comprised 5, 10, 50 Cents and 1 and 5 Dollars. A few further dates exist for the all but the 5 Dollars. Namibia’s Dollar is fixed at equal to the SouthAfrican Rand. South African coins can be freely used in Namibia, but Namibian coins can only be used in Namibia.

    It would seem that a few mints have been involved with the manufacture of Namibia's circulation coinage. A few press releases about the South African Mint Company mention Namibia as a customer of theirs for circulation coins. A report in September 2002 in the British press (the "Sunday Telegraph" in fact) about a commercial dispute between the British Royal Mint and the Birmingham Mint gave specific mention to Namibian 10 Cent coins being made at the Birmingham Mint at that time. Thirdly the German published world coin catalogue Weltmünzkatalog (G. Schön, 33nd edition, 2005) details the Finnish Mint as being the minter of all pieces before the 2002 dated pieces.

Obverse of the Namibian circulation coins.
Coarse reeding (above) and fine reeding (below) as seen on the two 1996 dated varieties of Namibian 1 Dollar coins.

    The use of various minters could perhaps be the reason for there being two varieties of the 1 Dollar coin. Pieces of this denomination with dates 1993, 1996 and 1998 all exist with coarse edge reeding, some 1996 dated pieces also exist with fine edge reeding. The 5 Dollars of 1993 also have the coarse reeding.

    There are a growing number of non-circulating legal tender issues for Namibia (around 10 types), the majority of these are multi-coloured coins. I have a personal dislike of coloured pieces in general, be it coins coloured privately after minting or as in this case as part of the minting process.

**  A Namibian F.A.O. Coin  **

    Also for Namibia I must mention a piece for Namibia that is a bit of an odd one out......

The Namibian 5 Cents FAO coin.
The 5 Cents 2000 F.A.O. coin - a bit of an odd one out..

    It is the 5 Cents of 2000 an F.A.O. issue from the “XXI Century Food Security” series of 1999/2000. (The F.A.O. is the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.)

Size comparison of the two 5 Cent types.
The difference in size of the "normal" and "F.A.O." 5 Cent coins.

    This coin is Stainless Steel (and does exhibit such colour) instead of the Nickel-plated-Steel of the “normal” 5, 10 and 50 Cents coins, this F.A.O. coin has a diameter in between that of the 10 Cent coins and the “normal” 5 Cent coins.

M comparison of the two 5 Cent types.
The "M" of "NAMIBIA" as seen on the circulation 5 Cent and on the F.A.O. 5 Cent.

    The obverse of this F.A.O. coin has a few differences including a slightly different font for the main obverse legend and texture to the central shield of the coat of arms. One of the clearer differences in the font variations is the “M” in “NAMIBIA”, it has sloped first and last strokes on the F.A.O. coin as opposed to parallel first and last strokes on the normal circulation coins.

Coat of arms shading comparison of the two 5 Cent types.
The coat of arms shading as seen on the circulation 5 Cent and on the F.A.O. 5 Cent..

    As for the texture/shading on the F.A.O. coin, these shadings are the correct shadings, in heraldry, for monochrome representations of the blue, red and green of the shield. There are no such shadings on the normal circulation coins.

    For more information on F.A.O. coins of Africa and the world see Juan's World FAO Coins .

    Further details of the “XXI Century Food Security” series including the existence of 1999 dated pieces of the Tunisia 1 Millim type can be found on the SOMALIA page on this site.
 


**  2002 Coins  **

Coat of arms shading comparison of the two 5 Cent types.
Namibia’s 10 Cents 2002 - apparently made by the Birmingham Mint.

    A report in the (British) Sunday Telegraph of 29th September 2002 gave details of a legal dispute between the Birmingham Mint and the British Royal Mint. The report also made several mentions of some of the coins and coin-blanks that were going through the Birmingham Mint’s production floor at the time. The report’s most specific mention of a coin type was “Namibian 10 Cent pieces”. In September 2002 the newest Namibian 10 Cent coins I knew of were dated 1998. This new report suggested that new dates of Namibia 10 Cents KM-2 (and perhaps other denominations/types) would appear before long. A friend of mine got hold of pieces of Namibia 5 Cents KM-1 and 10 Cents KM-2, each with date 2002, towards the end of May 2003. It would seem likely that the Birmingham Mint produced both of these two issues. The Birmingham Mint closed for business on approximately 22nd May 2003.
 


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Updated at Mar-2003.
Updated again at Jun-2003 - re-titled and 2002 coins information added.
Updated again at Jan-05 - added 2002 image and generally update the rest.