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The 5 qapik coin (alternatively spelled 5 qəpik, 5 qäpik, and 5 gapik) is a current circulation and former collectors' piece of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It was issued by the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) in four types from 1992 to 2011, two under the obsolete second manat and another two under the current third manat. Because Azerbaijan does not have an official mint, its coins were struck under contract by the Baku Metal Powder Factory in Bakıxanov or Suraxanı from 1992 to 1993, the Austrian Mint in Vienna in 2006, and the National Bank of Ukraine in Kiev in 2011.
In November 1992, nearly a year after Azerbaijan broke away from the Soviet Union, the country released its first 5 qapik piece. According to CISCoins.net, a website specializing in coins of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), this initial type never actually entered circulation, and was sold as a souvenir issue to collectors. It was followed in 1993 by a similar 5 qapik coin, which saw limited use that year before inflation rendered it virtually obsolete. Prior to their demonetization on January 1, 2006, both pieces carried a legal tender face value of 0.05 manat in Azerbaijan (excluding Nagorno-Karabakh).
With the introduction of the third manat on January 1, 2006, a new 5 qapik coin was issued by the Central Bank of Azerbaijan. This piece was later manufactured again in 2011, but only for mint sets. A gold version of the coin was also released in 2006, but as a limited collectors' piece, it was never intended for circulation. The base metal and gold 5 qapik coins are currently legal tender in their country of origin, each holding a value of 0.05 manat.
Coins of the second manat (1992–1993)Edit
On February 11, 1992, nearly two months after Azerbaijan gained its independence, President Ayaz Mutallibov (1938–; i.o. 1991–1992) signed a decree establishing the Central Bank of Azerbaijan. His successor, Abulfaz Elchibey (1938–2000; i.o. 1992–1993), then issued a decree on July 15 of the same year authorizing the creation of a national Azerbaijani currency, the manat. Notes for the manat were eventually introduced in August 1992, while coins were released starting in November.
According to CISCoins.net, two series of coins were introduced from 1992 to 1993, a souvenir and circulation issue. Both were struck at the Baku Metal Powder Factory, a company based in Bakıxanov or Suraxanı, Baku. The souvenir issue, which consists of 5, 20, and 50 qapik pieces, was fully released in 1992. It never entered widespread circulation, and was marketed toward collectors. The circulation series includes coins denominated at 5, 10, 20, and 50 qapik. With the exception of the 5 qapik piece, which was released in 1993, all of the coins in this series were introduced in 1992.
The souvenir 5 qapik coin is composed of a brass alloy and measures 2.4 grams in mass, 17 millimeters in diameter, and 1.25 millimeters in thickness. Its circulating counterpart, which is made of aluminum, has the same 17-millimeter diameter, but weighs a lighter 0.85 grams and measures a larger 1.45 millimeters in thickness. Both pieces have medallic alignment and a plain edge, and are round in shape. The rims of the both sides of each coin are raised and undecorated.
The designs of the souvenir and circulation 5 qapik coins are identical. The Gregorian date of minting is inscribed horizontally in the center of the obverse, below three small flames. In Azerbaijan, flames are symbolic of culture and sovereignty, and appear in the nation's emblem and in regional heraldry, such as the coat of arms of Baku. On the coin, the date and flames are surrounded by an octagram, a symbol appearing on both Azerbaijan's flag and national emblem. There is no consensus on the octagram's official meaning, but some associate it with the sun; the eight letters in the Arabic name of Azerbaijan, "أذربيجان" (Romanized: 'aḏarbayjān); or the "eight Turkic peoples of the world" (the Azerbaijanis, Chagatais, Kazakhs, Kipchaks, Ottomans, Seljuks, Tatars, and Turkmens).
The face value "5 qəpik" is displayed on two lines in the center of the reverse, the numeral "5" rendered in larger print than the following word. Printed along the rim is the Azerbaijani name of the Republic of Azerbaijan, "AZƏRBAYCAN RESPUBLİKASI". The first word, "AZƏRBAYCAN", travels clockwise along the coin's upper periphery, whereas the second, "RESPUBLİKASI", extends in the opposite direction at the lower boundary.
The mintages of both the souvenir and circulation coins are currently unknown. They were only struck with standard finishes.
Coins of the third manat (2006–2011)Edit
In an attempt to finance its fiscal deficit from 1993 to mid-1995, Azerbaijan dramatically increased its monetary base, causing inflation rates to exceed 1,000 percent during the period. As a result, the coins and lower denominated banknotes of the second manat, having lost virtually all of their purchasing power, disappeared from circulation. Azerbaijan began to take steps toward economic stabilization in early 1996, and inflation rates reached single digits again shortly afterward. Although the Azerbaijani economy quickly stabilized, he effects of the high inflation on the manat remained visible for years, as only large denomination banknotes circulated in Azerbaijan until 2006.
On February 7, 2005, President Ilham Aliyev (1961–; i.o. 2003–) issued a decree calling for the redenomination of the Azerbaijani manat. The first banknotes and coins for the new currency, designed by Austrian artist Robert Kalina (1955–), were manufactured in mid to late 2005, and released into circulation on January 1, 2006. The coins, denominated at 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, and 50 qapik, were engraved by Helmut Andexlinger and initially struck at the Austrian Mint in Vienna, alongside similar non-circulating gold pieces. Production of the coins continued in 2011 at the National Bank of Ukraine in Kiev, but these pieces were exclusively sold in sets and never entered circulation.
The 5 qapik piece was struck in copper-plated steel and .9999 fine gold. The plated type measures 4.85 grams, whereas the gold coin weighs a noticeably larger 10.7 grams. Both measure 19.75 millimeters in diameter and 2 millimeters in thickness. They have medallic alignment and a reeded edge, and like most coins, are round in shape. The rims of both sides of each piece are raised and undecorated.
A flat projection of Azerbaijan, including the nation's nine contiguous regions and the exclave of Nakhchivan, is illustrated in the middle of the obverse. Printed clockwise along the rim above is the official name of the country in Azerbaijani, "AZƏRBAYCAN RESPUBLİKASI", and engraved horizontally on a single line below is the face value "5 QƏPİK". In the value, the numeral "5" is rendered in noticeably larger print than the following word.
The Maiden Tower, a 12th century monument in the Old City of Baku, is featured in the center of the reverse. This structure, representing the history of Azerbaijan, is among the nation's most distinctive and recognizable landmarks, and has appeared frequently on Azerbaijani currency and official letterheads. On the coin, written on a single horizontal line below is the face value "5 QƏPİK", the numeral displayed in a larger font than the word.
The mintage of the circulation coins is currently unknown. As many as 50 examples of the non-circulating gold piece were manufactured. They, along with around 500 copper-plated steel pieces from 2011, were distributed in official sets by the Central Bank of Azerbaijan.