WEST AFRICAN STATES (Page 2 of 2)

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**Now covers both issues of 2003 and of 2004.**

New Bi-metallics for West African States

   In the second week of December 2003, the Central Bank of the West African States (La Banque Centrale des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (BCEAO)) announced details of the forthcoming release of two new bi-metallic circulation coin types - a 200 F-CFA and a 500 F-CFA. In mid-2003 the bank announced that they had plans for these two coins and on the 12th December 2003 a contact of mine in that part of Africa told me that a release date of 24th December 2003 had been set for these new coins. With a quick look on the bank's site at   http://www.bceao.int/   I soon found a new press release, dated 12th December 2003, with details of new issues of coins and notes. The site had also been updated with images of the new coins.
   Basic descriptions and my images of the new types (as received on 22nd January 2004) are as follows :-

West African States 200 Francs 2003
The 200 FCFA coin I got in January 2004.

   The 200 FCFA coin’s centre is coloured as per Aluminium-Bronze, the outer is coloured as per Copper-Nickel, mass 7.00 grams, diameter 24.50mm. As for the edge - it comprises 5 plain sections and 5 finely milled sections - all ten sections being of similar length.

West African States 500 Francs 2003
The 500 FCFA coin I got in January 2004.

   The 500 FCFA coin’s centre is coloured as per Copper-Nickel, the outer is coloured as per Aluminium-Bronze, mass 10.60 grams, diameter 28.00mm. As for the edge - it comprises 3 plain sections and 3 coarsely milled sections - all six sections being of similar length.
   The denomination appears on the pieces as "200 FCFA" and "500 FCFA" respectively - something new for circulation types. FCFA meaning “Franc de la Communauté Française d'Afrique”. The “CFA” part of the currency unit’s name had never before been included in the design of a West African States circulation coin types, nor any of the Central African States either.
   You will notice from the images that neither privy marks nor designer marks, as associated with Monnaie de Paris, appear anywhere on either of these two types. This is another first for circulation coins of West African States and most likely signifies that these two new types were made by a mint other than Monnaie de Paris.

UPDATE - 2004 Dated Pieces of the New Bi-metallics of West African States

   In August 2004 my source for the 2003 dated 200 and 500 Franc-CFA coins told me of 2004 dated examples of those two types. Especially since I had not heard of these 2004 dated pieces before I made arrangements to acquire one of each - they arrived in October 2004.
   To my surprise I found that these 2004 dated pieces are different to those of 2003. The 2003 pieces had been the first West African States coins to be without the privy marks of the French Mint. The (British) Royal Mint in their annual report of 2003-04 confirmed, through images, that they had struck the 2003 dated 200 and 500 Franc-CFA coins. This contract was the main overseas circulating coinage contract to be mentioned in the report. My 2004 dated pieces must have been made not by the (British) Royal Mint but by the French Mint (Monnaie de Paris). They differ a little on each side - primarily through the use of privy marks and designer's initials.

RJ on a 500 Franc-CFA of 2004
“RJ” on a 500 Franc-CFA of 2004

   The designer's initials "RJ" (for Raymond Joly) have been added, for the 2004 dated pieces, next to the large fish weight image on the obverse.

Privy marks about the date on a 500 Franc-CFA of 2004
Privy marks about the date on a 500 Franc-CFA of 2004

   Then on the reverse, of the 2004 dated pieces, the dash before the date has been replaced by the cornucopia privy mark (for the mint) and the dash after the date has been replaced by the privy mark of Hubert Larivière. This new privy mark for the "Engraver General" was introduced on 1/Jul/2003. Mr Larivière, the manager of the mint's engraving workshop formed his privy mark from elements representing a French horn, a few waves and the silhouette of a fish. Further info on these two privy marks can be seen at: http://www.monnaiedeparis.com/collectionneurs/different.htm .
   Other lesser differences can be seen between the 2003 and 2004 dated issues. The font used for the main legends can be seen to vary slightly. One distinct difference from one font to the next being that the "E" used on the 2003 dated pieces has a serif on the second horizontal stroke and that on the 2004 dated pieces (included in the “RJ” image) does not have such a serif. The main images on these coins also vary slightly from one date to the next, there are differences generally in relief and also several other very slight differences. The clearest of these slight differences is to be seen on the 500 Franc-CFA coins. The berries adjacent to the "5" in "500" are of much bolder dots on the 2004 dated pieces as compared to those on the 2003 dated pieces.

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The background image is of a fish styled Ashantee gold weight as pictured on the coins of the West African States.






This page new with "New Bi-metallics for West African States" at February 2004.
Update with big update regarding 2004 dated issues at January 2005.