Ethiopia EE1972 400 birr

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Heritage sale 440, lot 50709
Courtesy Heritage Auctions
Heritage sale 3076, part of lot 32340
Ethiopia H3076-32340r.jpg

The coin shown is a 400 birr gold coin, dated 1972 (Ethiopian Era). On the obverse is a portrait of children playing. The reverse promotes the Year of the Child.

Ethiopia underwent a revolution in 1974, with a military council (the Derg) deposing King Haile Selassie. He died the following year. The country was reformed as the People's Democratic Republic with Major Mengistu Haile Mariam as leader. The Soviet Union and Cuba replaced the western powers as Ethiopia's primary allies. The country underwent years of insurrection and famine until the collapse of the Mengistu regime in 1991 to counter-revolutionary forces. Despite radical changes in government structure, Ethiopia continued with currency denominated in cents and birr.

The first specimen was lot 50709 on May 31, 2007, at the 2007 May/June Long Beach, CA Signature World Coin Auction #440 by Heritage Auctions. It brought $431.25. The catalog description reads: "Republic gold 400 Birr 1972, Proof 67 Ultra Cameo NGC, struck as part of the Year of the Child celebration. From the Marrero Family Collection." The second specimen was part of lot 32340 in Heritage sale 3076 (Long Beach, CA, September 2019), which sold for $10,500. The catalog description[1] noted, "International gold 12-Piece Certified "Year of the Child" Proof Assortment 1974-1982 NGC, ...5) Ethiopia: Republic 400 Birr EE 1972 (1979) PR68 Ultra Cameo; ...7) Mongolia: Republic 750 Tugrik 1980 PR67 Ultra Cameo, KM40.... Not a traditional 'set' as it were, as these represent 12 different issues from 12 different countries; nonetheless they are often collected as a complete series, and as such this run of high-grade Proofs are sure to appeal to those interested in the type. All are superlative specimens with uniform dazzling reflectivity and varied gold coloration. The group is sold with case and accompanying certificates. Total AGW 5.815 oz."

Recorded mintage: 3,387.

Specification: 17.17 g, 0.900 fine gold, 0.4968 AGW.

Catalog reference: KM 60.


  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000, 47th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 7th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2003.
  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano and Warren Tucker, Heritage World and Ancient Coins Auction 3076, featuring the Allen Moretti Swiss Collection and the James Mossman Collection of Canadian Coinage, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2019.

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