Tonga issued its first full set of circulation coins. It was a FAO series, devoted to agriculture and foodstuffs. At first glance the designs look rather childlike and comical, but the set has some interesting points. A pig appears on the 1 seniti coin, while a hen and chicks are featured on the 5 seniti coin. This reminds me of another country’s coinage: was the artist paying homage to the Irish barnyard series?
The designs play with number, linking the design to the denomination – an old trick but an enjoyable one: the 2 seniti coin features two water melons, while there are 5 bananas on the 5 seniti coin. But it gets more ambitious, ending up with 50 fish on the 50 seniti coin and 100 trees on the 1 pa’anga coin (100 seniti = 1 pa’anga). Unusually for modern times, the smiling king appears in a military cap and a rather well detailed uniform, but only on the obverse of the coins from the 10 seniti denomination upwards. The 1, 2 and 5 seniti coins, however, have different designs on each side and no common obverse. Usually a coin set either has a common obverse or else each design is different (the USA’s coinage is an example of this), but this Tongan set combines both characteristics in a single set.
See also: 50 fish on 50 cents: Denomination reflected in design
1 seniti. Maize. Re: Pig.
2 seniti. Two water melons. Re: Family planning symbol.
5 seniti. Hen and chicks. Re: Bunch of bananas.
10 seniti. Taufa'Ahau Tupou IV. Re: Cows grazing.
20 seniti. Taufa'Ahau Tupou IV. Re: Bees leaving hive.
50 seniti. Taufa'Ahau Tupou IV. Re: Concentric circles of stylised fish.
1 pa'anga. Taufa'Ahau Tupou IV. Re: 100 palm trees.