Not worth the 5 cents?

14 07 2010

Rummaging through a set of old coins, I found a few coins that I had almost forgotten about … limited circulation coins that were minted in 1971, and issued in February 1972 in conjunction with Singapore’s participation in the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Educational Coin Programme. When the coins were first issued, it was during a time when dud or counterfeit coins were quite common and many of the older folk who received these coins as change had assumed that these were counterfeit as well, being a lighter at 1.26 grammes (although they were larger 21.23mm in diameter) as they were minted in aluminium alloy, as opposed to the smaller cupro-nickel coins (1.41 g and 16.26 mm) that were in circulation then (one of the things you would look for in trying to identify a counterfeit coin was how light it felt). The coin features a reverse side that is similar in design to the coins in circulation then, with a pomfret shown on the obverse with the words “INCREASE PRODUCTION” and “MORE FOOD FROM THE SEA” at the edges.

The aluminium alloy 5 cent coins in between the old 5 cent coins (on the left) and the ones that are currently in circulation (on the right).

When the FAO coins were issued, I suppose due to the novelty, many of my schoolmates held on to them instead of using them, and due to the limited circulation, were quite difficult to come by. I guess I must have held on to a few myself, which is why I still have a few of them around. These days the 5 cent coins in circulation are also quite distinct, having a gold coloured finish, being made of Aluminium Bronze. Slightly larger in diameter than the old cupro-nickel coins at 16.75 mm, they are also heavier at 1.56g.