New Circulation Coin Series Launched in Kenya

By Michael Alexander

January 10, 2019 – The Central Bank of Kenya have launched a new series of circulation coins which updates both the designs and brings the coins in line with a 2010 Constitutional provision which legislated the removal presidential & political portraits from all future circulation type coins and banknotes.

The 1-shilling-coin features the image of a giraffe. Photo: Central Bank of Kenya.

The 1-shilling-coin features the image of a giraffe. Photo: Central Bank of Kenya.

As part of the preparation for deciding on new designs, the Central Bank of Kenya invited the public to provide their views on the elements that they wished to see depicted on the coins. Having considered all submissions, the Central Bank considered the most appropriate elements including the designs that best meet the Bank’s and cash handler’s technical requirements as well as serving the public aspirations. 

The 5-shilling coin features the image of a rhino. It is bi-metallic, with a golden centre and a silver-coloured outer ring. Photo: Central Bank of Kenya.

The 5-shilling coin features the image of a rhino. It is bi-metallic, with a golden centre and a silver-coloured outer ring. Photo: Central Bank of Kenya.

The Central Bank the President of the Republic of Kenya, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, who made his first visit to the Central Bank since taking office in 2013, he also received a symbolic cheque of dividends on behalf of the government which was symbolic of the achievements during his tenure in office in terms of the stability of the country’s economy and governance. The President remarked during the launch that he had not visited the premises of the Central Bank since 1984 and on that occasion, it was to exchange Kenyan Shillings in order to attend school abroad.

The 10-shilling piece features the image of a lion. It is bi-metallic, with a silver-coloured centre and a golden-coloured outer ring. Photo: Central Bank of Kenya.

The 10-shilling piece features the image of a lion. It is bi-metallic, with a silver-coloured centre and a golden-coloured outer ring. Photo: Central Bank of Kenya.

The Central Bank presented a video of the new coins to the assembled audience of invited guests and the media, thereafter, the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Patrick Ngugi Njoroge presented a specially struck set of the four new coins to the President and commented that the coins new designs bear significant aspect of the country and will serve as a means of passing knowledge, conserving culture, and promoting Kenya’s global uniqueness.

The new series retains the same diameters, weights and composite metals as the current series of coins but unlike the older or previous generation coins which included portraits of former presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi, the new legal tender coinage features images of Kenya's rich wildlife heritage, as follows:

The 20-shilling coin features the image of an elephant. It is bi-metallic with a golden centre and silver-coloured outer ring. Photo: Central Bank of Kenya.

The 20-shilling coin features the image of an elephant. It is bi-metallic with a golden centre and silver-coloured outer ring. Photo: Central Bank of Kenya.

Each coin also includes a dual denomination of the unit of “KENYA” shown on the obverse. The coin’s denomination is included with wording in English shown above the primary design and in Swahili placed below. The reverse includes a depiction of the country’s national crest or coat of arms along with the text “REPUBLIC OF KENYA” placed above the crest with “JAMHURI YA KENYA” shown below.

The new coins, which were officially issued on the 11th December 2018, continue to include tactile features enabling visually impaired persons to identify the coins. The market regulator of the Central Bank will in the coming days rollout a campaign to create awareness, educating the public on the new coinage. The issue of the new coins conform to the country’s new regulation on the issue of national currency without images of political figures. A series of banknotes has been proposed without political figures depicted and is expected to be unveiled by the Central Bank of Kenya in due course. 

The author, Michael Alexander is president of the London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre.

For additional information on these and other coins and banknotes issued by the Central Bank of Kenya, please visit their website.

Another detailed explanation of the new Kenyan coins is available on YouTube.

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