SWAZILAND (2 of 2)

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Varieties on Swaziland’s 12-scallop Coins

Why use shaped coins ?

    I wonder how tricky it would be for me at the shops if all British coins looked the same. What if they were all Copper-Nickel (silvery coloured), plain edged, round, 25mm diameter and 2mm thick - irrespective of denomination ? What if the only way to tell a 1 Penny from a 20 Pence or a 2 Pounds coin was to read the denomination wording on the reverse ? Intelligent use of different materials (colours), edges, shapes, edges and sizes in the design of coin series, not only helps those with poor sight to tell the denominations apart, but also helps the rest of us to tell what a coin is just by glancing at it. Furthermore, national governments and mints around the world use different combinations of shape, size, material etc.. to ensure that none of the types in their series of coins can be easily confused with those of another from anywhere in the world - past or present. For example - the British use of 7-sided (equilateral-curved heptagon) coins i.e. the 20 Pence and the 50 Pence coins not only helps us to pick them out instantly from a handful of change, but would also make them show up as obvious odd ones out in a French person’s handful of Euro coins.

Swaziland’s 12-scallop coins

    Similar factors will have contributed to Swaziland having two 12-scallop shaped coins in their current series of circulation coinage. These two denominations are the 5 Cents and the 20 Cents. Both are Copper-Nickel, so the same colour as well as the same shape, but their diameters, approximately 18mm and approximately 25mm respectively, make them easily distinguishable from one another. These two coins help Swaziland’s coinage series stand out as different from those series of its neighbours who all just use round coins.

Varieties of Swaziland’s latest 20 Cents

    The 12-scalloped coins is not unique to Swaziland, another example being the Belize 1 Cent. The maker or makers of the current 12-scallop coin types for Swaziland however seem to have been confused about which way is “up”. Is a 12-scallop coin’s design upright with a depression of the edge to the top or with an elevation of the edge to the top ?

Smaller portrait - two obverse varieties for 20 Cents
Obverse images of a 20 Cents of 2002 with a depression of the edge to the top and a 1998 dated piece with an elevation of the edge to the top. Scale - 200dpi.

    Above can be seen a 20 Cents coin of the latest type (KM-50) to follow each way of thinking. Further to where the “top” of the coin is, these two varieties can perhaps be better distinguished by looking at the letter “L” in the word “SWAZILAND”. Pieces with a depression of the edge to the top, have the “L” pointing to an elevation in the edge. Pieces with an elevation of the edge to the top, have the “L” pointing to a depression in the edge.

Two reverse varieties for 20 Cents
Reverse images of a 20 Cents of 2002 with a depression of the edge to the top of the reverse and of a 1998 dated piece with an elevation of the edge to the top of the reverse. Scale - 200dpi.

    Looking at the reverses of these same 20 Cent coins it can be seen that pieces with a depression of the edge to the top of the obverse also have a depression of the edge to the top of the reverse and on that reverse they have the “EN” in “CENTS” above an elevation in the edge. Similarly pieces with an elevation of the edge to the top (on both obverse and reverse) have the “EN” above a depression in the edge.

Larger portrait - two obverse varieties 20 Cents
Obverse images of two further varieties of 20 Cents - both with larger overall obverse designs. A 1996 piece with a depression of the edge to the top and “L” pointing to an elevation in the edge. Also a 2000 dated piece with an elevation of the edge to the top and “L” pointing to a depression in the edge. Scale - 200dpi.

    To add to this “confusion” there are also 20 Cent pieces of this same general type and in each of the varieties described above BUT with the obverse design approximately 5 percent larger (as a whole) as compared to that on the first pieces shown.

    Summary - 20 Cent combinations known are:-

        1996 dated pieces with large obverse design and a depression of the edge at the top.
        1998 dated pieces with small obverse design and an elevation of the edge at the top.
        2000 dated pieces with large obverse design and an elevation of the edge at the top.
        2001, 2002 and 2003 - dated pieces with small obverse design and a depression of the edge at the top.

    Note: all 20 Cent pieces have the same on both sides - either a depression or an evelation.

Varieties of Swaziland’s Latest 5 Cents

    As for the 5 Cent coins, particularly the latest type (KM-48) - these too are the same 12-scallop shape, but the varieties to be found are different. There are three known obverse varieties. Two are as per the two 20 Cent obverses with “small obverse design” - so similar in fact that an illustration of them will not be included here - please refer to the first image in this text as reference for their appearance.

Normal and Bolder Obverse Legend varieties for 5 Cents
Two 5 Cent obverses both with the “L” in “SWAZILAND” pointing to an elevation in the edge. The second piece with a bolder obverse legend and first piece is shown for comparison. Scale - 300dpi.

    The third 5 Cents obverse variety has the “L” in “SWAZILAND” pointing to an elevation in the edge and what seems to the naked eye to be just a bolder legend “SWAZILAND” as compared to that on the other two 5 Cent obverses. However analysis of high resolution scans showed the portrait to be approximately 2 percent larger on the “bold obverse legend” pieces.

Two reverse varieties for 5 Cents
Reverse images of a 5 Cents with a depression of the edge to the top of the reverse and of a piece with an elevation of the edge to the top of the reverse. Scale - 300dpi.

    Looking at the reverses of the 5 Cent coins it can be seen that pieces with a depression of the edge to the top of the reverse have on that reverse the “N” in “CENTS” above a depression in the edge. Similarly pieces with an elevation of the edge to the top of the reverse have the “N” above an elevation in the edge.

    Summary - 5 Cent combinations known are:-

        1995, 1996, 1999, 2001 and 2002 dated pieces with a depression at top on both sides.
        1998 dated pieces with an elevation at top on both sides.
        1998 dated pieces with a depression at top on the obverse and an elevation at top on the reverse.
        2000 dated pieces with bold obverse legend and a depression at top on both sides.

    Note: the second variety of the 1998 dated pieces is, unlike any of the other variety of 12-scallop coin mentioned here. It has a depression at the top of the obverse oddly matched to a reverse with an elevation at the top. Pieces of this variety therefore all have a 15 degree die rotation.

    Elsewhere in the Swaziland series - all earlier 5 Cent and 20 Cent coins (the types prior to 1995) have the same scallop orientation of depression at the top of both sides of the coin. There are no scallop orientation variations on any of the 10 Cent types which have an 8-scallop shape. There are however positional/sizing varieties in the 2 Emalangeni type (KM-46) and those varieties bear some similarity to some of the variations mentioned above.

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