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Zaire: Mobutu pattern coins of 1987

Started by <k>, July 15, 2019, 07:37:40 PM

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<k>

My thanks to Dr. Gerhard Schön for providing me with the following photos. They are of pattern coins minted by the Athens Mint.
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See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>



Pattern coin for 1 zaire, obverse, featuring a portrait of President Mobutu of Zaire.






Reverse of the 1 zaire pattern coin.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>



Pattern coin for 5 zaires, obverse, featuring a portrait of President Mobutu of Zaire.






Reverse of the 5 zaires pattern coin.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#3


For comparison, the issued official 5 zaires coin of 1987.



For comparison, the issued official 5 zaires coin of 1987.

Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#4


For comparison, the issued official 10 zaires coin of 1987.




See: Zaire, and the many faces of Mobutu.

Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Does this suggest that the Athens Mint produced the official coins, which look so similar to the pattern coins?
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Figleaf

The portraits (minus the border) looks so much like the Athens mint pattern that there are only two possibilities. Either the client changed the denomination of the coins ordered or the client used the Athens design for a new order for other denominations at another mint. Zaire may have owned the rights to the design. Or maybe not.

For background, Athens would have been uncompetitive in 1987, due to overstaffing, high inefficiency and graft. However, the creditworthiness of Zaire approached zero in 1987. Zaire may have found no mint ready to take its order as they guessed (probably correctly) they'd never get paid. Yet, Zaire had and has a fairly good income from its exports. At some point, a cheaper mint may have convinced (with some "goodwill payments") the Zairians that they could save a lot of money if they would give them the order, but they would have to put the payment in escrow in an offshore bank. Or maybe not.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

<k>

Here is the definitive story from Dr. Gerhard Schön:

The Greek Mint took part in the tender and produced a few samples, but instead of them, Thomas de la Rue won the tender and subcontracted production to the Royal Mint, who in turn only produced the 5Z denomination, while the 1Z was made at the Birmingham Mint in 1987. The subsequent order for 10Z coins was filled by the Birmingham Mint a year later. The Mobutu portrait
used for these coins and patterns was originally created by Belgian Roger Duterme.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Figleaf

That doesn't explain the portrait likeness you pointed out.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

<k>

Roger Duterme had provided most of Mobutu's previous numismatic portraits. Mobutu was a dictator. Clearly he had stipulated the portrait to be used on these coins, but he left the options open for the reverse of the coins.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.