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The 20 senti coin is a circulation piece of the United Republic of Tanzania that was issued in a single type by the Bank of Tanzania from 1966 to 1984. Lacking a coining facility of its own, the Tanzanian government contracted the Royal Mint of the United Kingdom to strike the piece. Although it continues to hold legal tender status in its country of origin, the piece no longer circulates frequently due to its low face value of 0.20 shillings.
The coin is composed of a nickel-brass alloy and measures 5 grams in mass, 24 millimeters in diameter, and 1.5 millimeters in thickness. It has medallic alignment; raised, undecorated rims; and a plain edge, and like most coins, is round in shape.
The design of the obverse, created by English artist Christopher Ironside (1913–1992), follows that of most Tanzanian coins minted from 1966 to 1986. A left-facing depiction of Julius Nyerere (1922–1999), the President of Tanzania from 1964 to 1985, is displayed in the center and flanked on both sides by flowers engraved near the rim. The Swahili caption "RAIS WA KWANZA", translating to English as "first President", is printed between the two flowers below, extending counterclockwise along the coin's lower boundary. Printed in the opposite direction at the upper rim is the state title "TANZANIA" and the Gregorian date of minting, which is represented in Western Arabic numerals.
The reverse, also designed by Ironside, features a Masai ostrich (Struthio camelus massaicus) walking left in its center, a large numeral "20" inscribed horizontally below. A type of large flightless bird, the Masai ostrich is native to parts of eastern Africa, including Tanzania, where it is known locally as the mbuni Masai. The Swahili rendering of the coin's face value, "SENTI ISHIRINI" (English: "twenty senti/cents"), partially surrounds the illustration, the first word engraved clockwise along the left rim and the second in the same direction at the right periphery.
Excluding the mintages of 1975, 1982, and 1984, which are currently unknown, over 101,655,500 examples of the coin were struck, including over 101,650,000 business strikes and 5,500 proofs. All of the proofs were struck in 1966 and initially sold in sets by the Bank of Tanzania. Some of these sets have since been broken up, making individual 20 senti proofs available to collectors.
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation – Tanzania - 20 Senti, KM# 2 (1966–1984)
- Colnect – 20 Senti (1966–1984)
- Numista – 20 Senti (1966–1984)
- Bank of Tanzania – Currency Museum: Coins
- Tanzanian shilling on the English Wikipedia