Ethiopia EE1889 1/32 birr K-10

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ETH 1889EE thirtysecondbirr-ARdie-obv (2).JPG
ETH 1889EE thirtysecondbirr-ARdie-rev (2).JPG

The coin shown is a 1/32 birr copper coin, dated 1889 (Ethiopian Era). On the obverse is a portrait of King Menelik II. The date is along the base and is written in a format particular to Ethiopia, with and extra digit denoting magnitude. The reverse has the crowned lion of Judah with Amharic script in exergue. This issue is unlike KM-11 only in that the dies were meant to be used for a 1/8 silver birr issue, so the denomination (below lion, reverse) had to be effaced by gouging the die.

Menelik II brought the Ethiopian Empire into the modern world. Previous to his reign, transactions were by barter, salt, or by imported coins such as the Maria Teresa Thaler[1]. He instituted a state coinage and successfully defended the empire against the attempted colonization by Italy in 1896. Ethiopia dates its coins using the Julian calendar, which is backdated approximately 7 years from the Gregorian calendar.

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specifications: copper.

Catalog reference: KM 10.


  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 9th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.
  • [1]Gill, Dennis, Coinage of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Italian Somalia, New York: Printing Mart of Long Island, Inc, 1991.

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