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Some extra details to the 1996 series of 10, 50 and 100 Leones circulation coins.

This interesting little series of recent circulation coins of Sierra Leone include one of very few recent octagonal circulation coin type (the 50 Leones), the other two types being round.

Seldom mentioned is the fact that these coins were made by the Royal Dutch Mint. Their mint report of 1994/1995 states "In spite of severe competition on the world market, the Mint obtained a large order for the West-African state of Sierra Leone. A total of 150 million coins will be produced for Sierra Leone, divided over three denominations: 10 Leones, 50 Leones and 100 Leones. The Mint will take care of the whole process, from design to shipping."  The 1996 report of the Royal Dutch Mint states: "In the framework of an order from Sierra Leone for the production of 150 million coins, the Mint produced 100 million coins with a nominal value of 10, 50 and 100 Leones."  Report of the Royal Dutch Mint for 1997 and 1998 make no mention of the Sierra Leone coins so it can just be said to be likely that the 50 million piece balance was produced during those years.

A perhaps even less mentioned fact about this series of three coins is the fact that they were designed by the British designer Avril Vaughan. A website I found somewhere detailed her work, her “portfolio” notably includes the reverse of the G.B. 5 Pounds coin for the 70th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. The 5 Pounds coin’s reverse design, the one with the flags, does include her initials “AV” but these do not appear on these Sierra Leone coins.

As for the subjects of the designs....

The obverses feature two fish, a building and cocoa pods, on the 10, 50 and 100 Leones respectively.

The reverses feature three important people to the nation of Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone 10 Leones 1996
The 10 Leones 1996.

The reverse of the 10 Leones features “Mammy Yoko”

Mammy (or Madam) Yoko was Queen of Kpaa Mende Seneghum (now generally Sierra Leone) from
1878-1908. This period was that in which the region first became a protectorate of the British. Mammy Yoko lived circa 1849 to 1906.
Sierra Leone 50 Leones 1996
The 50 Leones 1996.

The reverse of the 50 Leones features “Sir Henry Lightfoot-Boston”

Henry Josiah Lightfoot-Boston (b. 1898 - d. 1969) was Governor-General of Sierra Leone from 7th July 1962 to 26th March 1967. Sierra Leone’s independence was in its infancy in this period having achieved independence from Great Britain on 27th April 1961, so it was an important time in the nations history.
Sierra Leone 100 Leones 1996
The 100 Leones 1996.

The reverse of the 100 Leones features “Naimbana”

Naimbana (also written as Nembgana) was regent of the Koya Kingdom (part of today’s Sierra Leone) from 1775 to 1793. Naimbana signed the treaty making way for the establishment of the British colony on the Sierra Leone peninsula.
Further information on Mammy Yoko, Naimbana and many other important figures from Sierra Leone’s past can be found at... .

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Updated April 2003 - all new images.

The info above on the 1996 dated coins was published in the May 2002 edition of the Numismatics International Bulletin (page 150, pages numbered through the year). The images were not included.