Thu, 27 May 2010
I have often stated that if you can think of a subject, it is probably represented on a Non-Circulating Legal Tender (NCLT) coin. The coin just issued by authority of the Government of the West African Republic of Benin is bound to confirm the veracity of that statement. As the first in a series of “Famous Plants of the World”, the 100 Central African Franc denominated coin features Cannabis Sativa, colloquially known as Marijuana, Pot, Mary Jane, Weed, Grass, etc. A Marijuana coin...
The Republic of Benin, formerly known as Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north, while its short coastline to the south leads to the Bay of Benin. It comprises an area of just over 42,471 square miles and according to the latest census, has a population of almost 8,500,000. Its capital is the city of Porto-Novo, founded by the Yoruba in the late sixteenth century, but the seat of government is the nearby city of Cotonou.
A democratic government between 1960 and 1972 was followed by a highly repressive and self-proclaimed "Marxist-Leninist" dictatorship between 1972 and 1991, which led to economic collapse. Multiparty elections have taken place since 1991. About a third of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 per day. Main income sources are subsistence agriculture and cotton. During the colonial period and at independence, the country was known as Dahomey. It was renamed on November 30, 1975, to Benin after the body of water which the country borders, the Bight of Benin.
The marijuana coin has been struck from a 27 gram copper-nickel planchet, 38.61 millimeters in diameter that is subsequently silver-plated. The reverse features a bright green Cannabis Sativa leaf that when rubbed, releases the distinct aroma of Marijuana, although I have been assured that the aroma comes from a synthetic additive and not from the plant itself. This process can be repeated approximately forty times before the smell disappears. In addition, the legend “Fameuses Plantes du Monde” and “Cannabis Sativa” can be seen as well as the year 2010 that appears to have been engraved by a mint worker that was taking the subject of his work way too seriously. The obverse features the country’s Coat of Arms, the legend “Republique du Benin” and the denomination. Total mintage for this coin is limited to 2,500 pieces and if early indications are correct, this coin is destined to become an instant classic, appealing to both coin collectors as well multitudes of rock band followers from the sixties and seventies.
Benin has also issued it's Marijuana coin struck from 1 ounce .999 Proof Silver in a denomination of 1,000 Central African Francs. Mintage on this Silver Proof coin is only 999!