Paper, Pick #1, Circulated
115 x 77 mm (4-1/2” x 3”)
HISTORY: Issued by “BANQUE CENTRALE DES ETATS DE L’AFRIQUE DE L’OUEST,” officially formed in 1959 to become the common bank for its seven-member countries (Ivory Coast, Dahomey, Haute-Volta, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal). Dahomey is now Benin.
OBVERSE: A matron figure conducts a ceremony for a pubescent woman with an assistant behind, holding a white shawl. In the distance, a French soldier rides a white stallion against the backdrop of a fort wall. A carved antelope props the corner.
REVERSE: Prominent is a shaman figure, possibly a Dogon from central Mali, holding a serpent above his shoulders. Behind is the then modern Dahomey port city of Cotonou Littoral, on the Gulf of Guinea, looking east-northeast toward Littoral, with Lake Nokoue on the northern horizon.
WATERMARK: Face profile.