Ethiopia EE1923 1/2 werk

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Courtesy Heritage Auctions
Courtesy Heritage Auctions

The coin shown is a half werk gold coin, dated 1923 (Ethiopian Era). On the obverse is a portrait of King Haile Selassie. The date is along the base and is written in a format particular to Ethiopia, with and extra digit denoting magnitude. The reverse has a scene of St. George slaying the dragon.

King Haile Selassie took the throne upon the death of his cousin, Empress Zewditu, in 1923EE (1930 AD). His reign extended to 1974, with an interuption during WWII when Italian forces invaded. During this time the king lived in exile, returning when patriotic Ethiopian forces, with the help of British troops, ousted the Italian army. Ethiopia dates its coins using the Julian calendar, which is backdated approximately 7 years from the Gregorian calendar.

This specimen was lot 51020 on Jan 7, 2007, at the 2007 January New York Signature World Coin Auction #425 by Heritage Auctions. It brought $1265. The catalog description reads: "Haile Selassie gold 1/2 Werk 1923EE (1931), nice prooflike UNC, some faint hairlines in the obverse fields. Rare and attractive type. Reeded edge."

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specifications: 3.50g, 0.900 fine gold, 0.1012 AGW, this specimen 3.15 grams.

Catalog reference: KM 20.


  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000, 47th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.
  • Gill, Dennis, Coinage of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Italian Somalia, New York: Printing Mart of Long Island, Inc, 1991.

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