Ethiopia EE1891-A gersh

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ETH 1891A-EE 1gersh-EF-obv.JPG
ETH 1891A-EE 1gersh-EF-rev.JPG

The coin shown is a silver one gersh dated 1891 (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 an extra digit denoting magnitude. The reverse has the crowned lion of Judah with Amharic script in exergue. The mintmark A for Paris (and privy marks) are shown below the lion. The denomination 'gersh' is equivalent to 1/20 birr.

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: 4,000,000.

Specifications: 1.4038 g, 0.835 fine silver, 0.0377 ASW.

Catalog reference: KM 12.


  • 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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