The birr is the official currency in Ethiopia since 1931, when Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, made the formal request to use the name Ethiopia instead of Abyssinia. A few years later, after the Italian occupation, the Italian lira was introduced, and the Ethiopian banknotes were out of circulation. In 1941, during the East African Bell of the British Empire, Indian, Egyptian, British and British East African currency were introduced, and all accepted as official means of payment. The Italian lira was allowed only up to 50 lire, but finally, the East African shilling ended up being designated as the only official currency in 1942.
Two years later, after the different monetary changes as a result of the various occupations that the country suffered, coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 santim issued by the State Bank of Ethiopia, which was replaced by the National Bank of Ethiopia in 1964. Then, in 1976, the birr was designated as the official name of the currency in Ethiopia. The last series consists of 5, 10, 25 and 50 santim and 1 birr issued between 1996 and 2008.
The 1 Ethiopian santeem coin front design features a stylized lion illustration: the National Animal of the country and the issue date. The reverse coin design illustrates a farmer herding two oxen to plow the land and the denomination. This coin is part of 1969 – 1997, its rim is plain, and its color is silver.
Text: Ethiopia, 1977, 1, One Santeem.