Sumita and I are visiting our friend in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, Ghana from the 1st February 2013 to 5th March 2013. This Post is an advance write-up on the Coinage and Currency of Ghana and the images/people/events which have figured on Ghana coins and Banknotes since Ghana's Independence from British Rule.
Naturally, I will be supplementing this Post with pictures/scans of the Ghanaian coins and currency notes, which I will be coming across to complete this Post as and when the opportunity presents itself.
Ghana means a “Warrior King”. Before the British colonised it, Ghana was divided into a number of Akan kingdoms which included the Ashanti Empire, the Akwamu, the Akyem, the Bonoman, the Denkyira and the Fante. Non Akan states created by Ga and those by Dagomba also existed.
An image of the Bank of Ghana on High Street, Accra, Ghana.
- (Kwame Nkrumah (21.09.1909 – 27.04.1972) was an advocate by Profession, and was a prominent leader in the Gold Coast, which later was renamed as Ghana. He was arrested by the British Colonial government in 1948 for disturbances in Accra, Kumasi, which brought him into prominence as a leader of the Youth Movement. He spoke up for Self- Governance for the Gold Coast and many Ghanaians responded to his Call. He organised the Trade Unions and various other groups into the “Convention People’s Party” (CPP) and was a leading voice in Ghana’s freedom struggle.
- Ultimately, thanks to the efforts of several Freedom Fighters, Ghana achieved its Independence on 06.03.1957 and he was hailed as the “Osagyefo” (or redeemer in “Twi” language). He was, also, one of the Founding Members of the “Organisation of African Unity” and the “United Gold Coast Convention” (UGCC).
An image of the Independence or the Black Star Gate.
The above is an image of the "KATH" logo. The Medical symbol exhibits the Staff of Hermes, the Messenger of the Gods in Greek Mythology, with two entwined snakes around it, as opposed to, the Rod of the Greek Physician Ascelpius with a single Filarial worm entwined against the Physician's stick/Rod.
The above is an image of a five pesewa coin issued in 1967 for the first time. On the obverse, it shows the emblem of Ghana .
On the reverse is mentioned "Freedom and Justice", the motto of Ghana appearing on the emblem and "Ghana", the lettering being shown all along the periphery of the coin. In the centre are four cocoa beans within a circle. These coins were issued from 1967 to 1975.
Only 300,00,000 of these coins were minted.The specifications of this coin are : metal composition: Cupronickel; Diameter: 19.5 mm, Weight: 2.5 gms.
Interestingly, this coin was discovered by me lying in the dust on a window sill in the house where Arvind stays. The dust coating seemed to indicate that it had been lying there for decades or so I would like to believe. Now it is playing an important role in helping me to coin together the coinage development in Ghana's history.
Also, 200 cedi coins were issued during 1996-1998, which remained legal tender till 2007.
Obverse of a 200 cedi coin issued in 1998 showing the emblem of Ghana.This face of the coin bears a frosted outer periphery surrounding the emblem.
Reverse of the above coin, with an image of a Cowrie (or Cedi) in the centre with the words "Freedom and Justice " and "Ghana" inscribed on the periphery of the coin.
(Larabanga mosque is a historic mosque built in the Sudanese architectural style, in the village of Larabanga in Ghana.
An image of the Larabanga mosque in Ghana.( For a complete study of the Larabanga mosque history and the Mystic stone, please click on the following link: The Larabanga mosque and the Mystic Stone. A link is also given at the bottom of this article).
(Akosombo Dam is also referred to as the Akosombo Hydroelectric Project is situated on the “Volta River” in south-eastern Ghana in the Akosombo Gorge and part of the Volta River Authority.
The construction of the Dam flooded a part of the Volta River Basin, which resulted in the creation of Lake Volta which is the largest man-made lake in the World spread over 8500 sq. kilometres or 3280 miles which is an area equal to about 3.6% of Ghana’s land mass).
This Note was issued for the first time in 1978.
(Kente cloth, also, known as “nwentoma” or “woven cloth”, is a kind of silk and cotton fabric made of interwoven cloth strips and is traditionally used by the “Ewe” and “Ga” people of the Volta Region of Ghana and by the Akan people. It is a Royal and sacred cloth worn at times of extreme importance and was once the cloth of Kings. In the present day, the use of Kente has become wide-spread. It was mostly used in the Ghana, Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) and Togo. The word “Kente” comes from the word “kenten” which means basket.
(The Gye Nyame symbol is the best known Adinkra symbol from Ghana. Adinkra symbols are ancient visual symbols originally created by the “Akan” people of Ghana and the “Gyaman” of Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa, which represent concepts or aphorisms. More than 80 Adinkra symbols are recognized, as of now, particularly in the Ashanti Region,(where we will be staying for most of our trip to Ghana, hence we may have a good opportunity to study these symbols in more detail).
A Gye Nyame symbol.
Some of the most commonly found 53 Adinkra symbols in Ghana. (For a complete study of the history and origin of all the 83 Adinkra symbols known so far, please read my detailed article at the following link: Adinkra symbols of Ghana/West Africa. (Another Link given below this post).
( The Ghana Coat of Arms is composed of a shield, divided into four quarters by a green St. George Cross, rimmed with gold. (Interestingly, St. George is the patron St. of England from which Ghana has recently gained Independence).The following symbols are represented in the four quarters:
The second Cedi did not fare well against the Ghanaian/British Pound and was devalued to an exchange rate of 2.45 Cedis to 1 Pound. High inflation led to further devaluations of the Second Cedi even against the US dollar.
(Ephraim Amu (13.09.1899 – 02.01.1995) was a Ghanaian composer, musicologist and teacher. He is popular for composing several musical pieces and popularising the use of “Atenteben” a traditional Ghanaian bamboo flute throughout Ghana and composing popular music for it. Of Ephraim Amu’s compositions, “Yen Ara Asase Ni” has become a nationally acclaimed patriotic song that is performed at National functions. He believed in the dignity of labour and doing his own work himself. He preferred the title “Owura” to “Mister” as a prefix to his name. He also, promoted the use of African cultural artefacts and good technological and social inventions).
(The National Theatre was opened in 1992 and is located in the Victoriaborg District of Accra, Ghana. It was built by the Chinese and gifted to Ghana by them. It houses the National Dance Company, the National Symphony Orchestra and the National Theatre Players.
The above is an image of the National theatre gifted to Ghana by the People's Republic of China.
Obverse of the one cedi bimetallic coin issued in 2007,showing the Emblem of Ghana.
Reverse of the above coin. The image shown here represents the scales of justice, symbolising equity and fairness in delivery of justice and reinforces the rule of law in Ghana.
Obverse of the 50 pesewa coin issued in 2007 showing the emblem of Ghana.
On the reverse is the image of a market woman symbolising the significance of women in business and thier contribution in building the Ghanaian economy and society as a whole.
The specifications of this coin are : Metal composition : Nickel plated steel; weight: 6.08 gms; diameter: 26.4 mm Edge: reeded.
Obverse of the 20 pesewa coin issued in 2007 showing the emblem of Ghana.
On the reverse isdepicted a cocoa pod representing the Agricultural wealth of Ghana and the economic importance of cocoa over the years for Ghana.
The specifications of this coin are : Metal composition : Cupro Nickel; weight: 4.4 gms; diameter: 23.5 mm Edge: plain.
Obverse of the 10 pesewa coin issued in 2007 showing the emblem of Ghana.
On the reverse is depicted a book which emphasises the role of Education in a democratic society.
The specifications of this coin are : Metal composition : Cupro Nickel; weight: 3.23 gms; diameter: 20.4 mm Edge: reeded.
On the reverse is depicted a traditional horn blower representing the traditional mode of communication in Ghana.
The specifications of this coin are : Metal composition : Nickel clad steel; weight: 2.5 gms; diameter: 18.0 mm Edge: reeded.
It is very difficult to come across a coin of this denomination in Ghana, because of its diminishing value for the users, although this denomination is still legal tender in Ghana.
Obverse of the 1 pesewa coin issued in 2012 showing the emblem of Ghana.
On the reverse is depicted the Adomi bridge highlighting the significance of infrastructure and freedom of movement of goods and the people in Ghana.
Like the 5 pesewa coin, although it is still legal tender, the one pesewa coin is rarely seen or come across in Ghana and vendors simply refuse to acknowlege or accept these coins, so much so that the Bank of Ghana has had to conduct studies on what to do with coins of this denomination.
(Interestingly, on the penultimate day of our stay in Ghana on the 4th March 2013, when Arvind took us to see the Accra Shopping Mall, we came across three "brand new" coins issued in 2007, which were found lying at different locations in the Mall, perhaps thrown away by exasperated shoppers who saw no use for the 1 pesewa coins. The coin figuring here happens to be one of those coins completing my collection of 2007 coin-issues in Ghana).
The specifications of this coin are : Metal composition : Copper plated steel; weight: 1.82 gms; diameter: 17.0 mm Edge: reeded.
(The “Big Six” were leaders and Founder-members of the “United Gold Coast Convention” (UGCC), which was the leading political party in the Gold Coast. They were detained by the colonial authorities in 1948 following disturbances leading to the killing of 3 World War II veterans (Sergeant Cornelius Frederick Adjetey, Private Odartey Lamptey and Corporal Attipoe) by the British Colonial Authorities (who were protesting about their poor conditions and unpaid war benefits and proposed to submit a memorandum to the British Authorities) in what is termed as the “Christiansborg Cross-Roads shooting”.
They were: Ebenezer Ako-Adjei, Edward Akufo-Addo (later Chief Justice and President of Ghana), J.B. Danquah, Kwame Nkrumah (later the First Prime minister and then First President of Ghana), Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey and William Ofori Atta.
An image of the Parliament House of Ghana.
Parliament of Ghana logo design.
(The Balme Library is located on the main campus of the University of Ghana and has six Departments and one special library for the physically handicapped students. It has over 1,00,000 books, 1000 microfilms and educational videos etc.
An image of the Balme Library in the University of Ghana. Below is an image of the Library entrance.
An image of the Christiansborg Fort as it existed during Danish possession in the 1660s.
Christiansborg or Ozu Castle/Fort as it exists today.
(Note: All the coin/Banknote images shown above are of coins and notes which have been given by Arvind for my collection during our visit to Ghana).
1) Adinkra symbols of Ghana, West Africa
2) Lake Bosumchwe or Bosumchwi, Ghana
3) Mole National Park, Ghana
4) El Mina Castle/Fort, Ghana
5) Funerals in Ghana
6) Larabanga Mosque and the Mystic Stone
7) Food and culture of Ghana
8) A visit to Ghana
9) Oware: The ancient National Game of Ghana