POUND BANKNOTES IN POST INDEPENDENCE BRITISH AFRICA

Many of the former British colonies continued to use pound notes after independence before issuing national currencies. From the former British West Africa, three out of the four countries continued to use the pound after independence; Gambia (1965), Ghana (1957), and Nigeria (1960), the exception being Sierra Leone (1961), which adopted the Leone from the onset. Within a few years of independence they also changed, to Dalasis, Cedis,and Naira, respectively.

GAMBIA POUNDS GHANA POUNDS NIGERIA POUNDS

A similar sequence took place on the East coast of Africa. However, the monetary issues of British East Africa were tied to the shilling rather than the pound; this includes Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika (now Tanzania).

Further south, Malawi (formerly Nyasaland), and Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) and Southern Rhodesia (which became Rhodesia and eventually Zimbabwe in 1980) continued to use pound denominations.

MALAWI POUNDS RHODESIA POUNDS ZAMBIA POUNDS

Although we have a similar post-independence pattern occurring in six former colonies, we have a marked variation occurring in today's valuations, which raises the question on the validity of current market and catalog prices.

POST INDEPENDENT POUND ISSUES WITH CURRENT UNC DOLLAR CATALOG PRICES (2010)

COUNTRY
ONE POUND
FIVE POUNDS
CURRENCY NOW
Gambia
150
300
Dalasis
Ghana
60
200
Cedis
Nigeria
30
350
Naira
Malawi
350
1200
Kwacha
Rhodesia
750
900
Pound
Zambia
900
2500
Kwacha

What are the reasons for this wide disparity? Almost certainly not the rarity of individual notes nor the devaluation of the currencies, or the note content (we have both heads of state and African wildlife). More probably it is the current collector base and as this evolves over time we can expect the West African notes to increase in value more rapidly as local collectors increase in affluence and awareness; and begin to search for, and collect objects of their past history.