Author Topic: Coins of Kiribati  (Read 9907 times)

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BC Numismatics

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Coins of Kiribati
« on: July 07, 2007, 12:02:11 PM »
Kiribati is a country that is also very young as a coin issuer.I have found the coins of Kiribati a real challenge to collect.

So far,I have managed to get the following coins;
1979 1 Cent.
1992 1 Cent.
1979 2 Cents.
1979 5 Cents.
1979 10 Cents.
1979 20 Cents.
1979 50 Cents.
1979 1 Dollar.
1989 2 Dollars (10th. Anniversary of Independence).

I have a friend who has been to Kiribati a few times to serve as a judge of the Kiribati Court of Appeal.He told me in one of his letters that he never saw a single Kiribati coin in circulation.The only coins that he saw were all Australian,as the Kiribati Dollar is permanently pegged at a 1:1 ratio against the Australian Dollar.Had he seen a Kiribati coin,he would have pulled it out of circulation & put it into his pocket as a souvenir.

Aidan.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2007, 02:01:43 AM »
Interesting and useful information, Aidan. The toatl population of Kiribati is 92.500, about half of the population of Wellington. The main occupation is subsistance fishing. Such an economy does not need its own currency. Nevertheless, I guess that at least in theory the coins could circulate. I just wonder if they've ever been seen solitary. I bought mine as a set (promptly broken up).

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

translateltd

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2007, 09:08:25 PM »
A friend of mine went to Kiribati for a conference a few years ago and he found the same - the only i-Kiribati coins in circulation were the 1989 $2 and the rest were Australian.  The $2 coins he brought back were very worn, indicating quite heavy use.

BC Numismatics

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2007, 12:40:37 AM »
Martin,when former Governor-General Sir Michael Hardie Boys was in Kiribati,he didn't even get any of the 1989 commemorative $2 coins in change at all.I can only guess that even the heavily circulated ones got snapped up & taken out of Kiribati as souvenirs.I actually do have one of the heavily circulated $2 coins,which is still good enough for being in a collection.

Aidan.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2007, 12:44:14 AM »
OK, so I had misunderstood. At least for a while at least some of the coins circulated.

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

translateltd

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2007, 11:58:11 AM »
OK, so I had misunderstood. At least for a while at least some of the coins circulated.

Peter

The situation is probably how I believe it to be in San Marino and the Vatican - they make their own coins but most disappear into the pockets of tourists and collectors, leaving Italian coins do most of the work.  The i-Kiribati coins were presumably meant to circulate but were not made in sufficient numbers or have been withdrawn (which?), so Australian coins are used instead.  The $2 is of a different size to the Australian, so it would be interesting to see whether both are used in tandem.  A good friend was NZ High Commissioner to Kiribati a few years ago, and I've never thought to ask him about the coins - I must put this oversight right fairly soon!

I understand most "native" coins have been withdrawn in the Cook Islands, too, leaving New Zealand coins in circulation there.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 11:42:33 PM by translateltd »

BC Numismatics

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2007, 12:21:50 PM »
Martin,New Zealand doesn't appoint Ambassadors to British Commonwealth member states - only High Commissioners.The Kiribati $2 coin is a huge coin,& believe it or not,the Kiribati $1 coin is the same shape & size as the Australian 50c. coin.

I think you will find that the Cook Islands are still issuing their own coins,as I have seen ones dated 2003 - the scalloped-shaped $1 coin,& the triangular $2 coin,so far.I don't know if the New Zealand $1 & $2 coins are in circulation over there though.

Aidan.

translateltd

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2007, 03:07:52 AM »
Here's the word from our former High Commissioner (couldn't remember Kiribati's exact current status last night, hence the vacillation over his title), who lived there for three years in the late 90s/early 00s:

It is true that the main currency circulating in Kiribati, including the coins, is Australian but the Kiribati coins do still circulate pretty freely. 
I recall (and we have) Kiribati coins for 20c, 50c and $2.  Don't recall a Kiribati $1 coin.
As I say, these are still pretty common.  One thing I notice is that all the 20c and 50c pieces are dated 1979 and all the $2 coins (6 or 8 of them) are dated 1989.  1979 was the year of independence, and 1989 would of course have been the 10th anniversary.


BC Numismatics

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2007, 03:45:50 AM »
Here's the word from our former High Commissioner (couldn't remember Kiribati's exact current status last night, hence the vacillation over his title), who lived there for three years in the late 90s/early 00s:

It is true that the main currency circulating in Kiribati, including the coins, is Australian but the Kiribati coins do still circulate pretty freely. 
I recall (and we have) Kiribati coins for 20c, 50c and $2.  Don't recall a Kiribati $1 coin.
As I say, these are still pretty common.  One thing I notice is that all the 20c and 50c pieces are dated 1979 and all the $2 coins (6 or 8 of them) are dated 1989.  1979 was the year of independence, and 1989 would of course have been the 10th anniversary.



Martin,if that is the case,then why did Sir Michael Hardie Boys not see a single Kiribati coin in his change at all when he was there?

Kiribati coins are NOT common at all.Kiribati coins,like those of Tuvalu,are extremely difficult to find.You often see the 1979 Proof set from Kiribati,but as for the circulation coins - that is a very different story.

The Kiribati $1 coin has an outrigger canoe on the reverse.The obverse has the shield from the Kiribati Coat-of-Arms without the motto (which would be in Gilbertese anyway),but with the country's name & the date.

Kiribati has only ever had the one $2 coin in circulation - the 1989 10th. Anniversary of Independence commemorative one.

Aidan.

translateltd

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2007, 01:09:54 PM »
Here's the word from our former High Commissioner (couldn't remember Kiribati's exact current status last night, hence the vacillation over his title), who lived there for three years in the late 90s/early 00s:

It is true that the main currency circulating in Kiribati, including the coins, is Australian but the Kiribati coins do still circulate pretty freely. 
I recall (and we have) Kiribati coins for 20c, 50c and $2.  Don't recall a Kiribati $1 coin.
As I say, these are still pretty common.  One thing I notice is that all the 20c and 50c pieces are dated 1979 and all the $2 coins (6 or 8 of them) are dated 1989.  1979 was the year of independence, and 1989 would of course have been the 10th anniversary.



Martin,if that is the case,then why did Sir Michael Hardie Boys not see a single Kiribati coin in his change at all when he was there?

Kiribati coins are NOT common at all.Kiribati coins,like those of Tuvalu,are extremely difficult to find.You often see the 1979 Proof set from Kiribati,but as for the circulation coins - that is a very different story.

The Kiribati $1 coin has an outrigger canoe on the reverse.The obverse has the shield from the Kiribati Coat-of-Arms without the motto (which would be in Gilbertese anyway),but with the country's name & the date.

Kiribati has only ever had the one $2 coin in circulation - the 1989 10th. Anniversary of Independence commemorative one.

Aidan.

I know all that - I'm simply quoting a memory from someone who lived on the spot for three years, which is rather longer than Sir Michael's presumably brief visit.  It would appear from John's recollections that only the 20c, 50c and $2 appeared with any frequency, since they were the only denominations that they recalled (and brought home as souvenirs), so it's equally possible that the $1 and the coins smaller than 20c are not regularly used.  However, I do think this is sufficient proof that at least some i-Kiribati coins do see circulation in the home country, which was the reason I contacted my colleague in the first place.


BC Numismatics

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2007, 02:15:48 PM »
Martin,the Kiribati Court of Appeal relies on expertise from other British Commonwealth legal jurisdictions.Sir Michael's trips over there were not exactly short,as there was a backlog of cases to deal with.It takes several weeks for the Kiribati Court of Appeal to hear all the cases that have been appealed from the lower courts.Beyond the Kiribati Court of Appeal is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London (which only hears constitutional cases from Kiribati).

The Kiribati Government (which is headed by His Excellency,the President of Kiribati) paid Sir Michael & his fellow judges very well - all in Aussie Dollars!

Aidan.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2007, 02:51:23 PM »
What I find remarkable is that you all agree that the commemorative $2 independence is the most used coin of Kiribati. That's pretty unique, that a high value commemorative is in such heavy use. My respect for this coin has increased quite a few notches now.

This whole discussion indicates how difficult it has become to find out what people really use, even from contemporaries. Different people will say different things at different times and the situation may even be different in different parts of the country. Rather than deplore te uncertainty, I think this is one of the charms of collecting. All the more so, because the mainstream coins are getting less and less interesting to me and I am constantly looking at the fringes. Thanks for a thorough discussion, gentlemen!

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

Offline muntenman

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2007, 04:56:39 PM »
Interesting topic!!!!!!!!!! and it is certainly one of the most-desired world-series containing animals...
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BC Numismatics

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2007, 08:53:31 PM »
I have found out why Kiribati coins are so difficult to find.There was only 20,000 coins of each denomination from the 1c. right up to the $1 struck.Fortunately,I have finally completed the 1979 coin issue.

If anyone has a brass Kiribati 5c. that depicts a gorilla's head on it that they want to offload,please let me know.

Aidan.

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Re: Coins of Kiribati
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2008, 08:47:29 PM »
More info on the 1979 Kiribati "circulation" set. It was produced by the Royal Mint and was designed by Michael Hibbit. Mr Hibbit also designed the beautiful Botswana circulation set of 1976 and the even more beautiful St. Helena-Ascension circulation set of 1984. Those two sets were also produced by the Royal Mint.