Up until the mid 19th century the accepted legal tender
as a medium of exchange in The Gambia was payment using
Cowrie Shells. The earliest forms of currency were 'coins'
made of copper or brass rods and sometimes metal tokens.
Early Legal Tender:
1880 coins made of silver, predominantly in the shape
of French 5 Franc monetary units, were in widespread
circulation. In 1892 the African Banking Corporation
was established in Lagos, Nigeria, and one of the Bank’s
functions was to supply West African countries with
new British coins and remove old silver coins from the
monetary supply and send them back to the UK. In 1894
these functions were given to the Bank of British West
Notes & Coins:
In 1912 a committee was set up to examine possible ways
of establishing a more consistent currency and to establish
policies for the future. In 1915 the committee that
had now become the West African Currency Board, updated
its established constitution to allow it to issue bank
notes. The proposal was put forward that currency notes
be issued to each West African colony but that these
should be "under the authority of the Currency
Board in London". The notes were to be the same
design but bearing the differentiating mark of each
This system stayed in place until 1949. Although a
1 penny and 1 /10th of a penny coin had been issued
from 1907, and a 1/2 penny from 1911, the French 5 Franc
silver piece was still in widespread use The Gambia.
In 1913 a 3 penny, 6 penny, 1 Shilling and Florin coin
were introduced into the country's general cash circulation.
An order was thus placed with the London printers, Waterlow
& Sons Ltd., for 2 shilling, 10 shilling and £1
banknotes. These entered circulation in The Gambia towards
the end of 1917. With the exception of the 2 shilling
note, the reception was generally favorable. The following
year when a 1 shilling note was printed by the Bank
of England it was also found to be as unpopular as the
2 shilling. The year 1919 marked the issue of a £5 note
that was withdrawn only four years later through lack
of popularity. It was not until 1954 that this note
was reissued in The Gambia
The Gambia gained internal self-government in October
1963 and on the orders of the West African Currency
Board an order for notes was lodged with a company called
Bradbury Wilkinson & Co. Ltd. for 10 shilling, £1
and £5 notes.
These were put into issue only four days after the new
currency ordinance, that formed The Gambia Currency
Board, came into force 1st October 1964.
On the 18th February 1965 The Gambia Currency Board
issued its own coinage, produced by the Royal Mint,
to replace the West African Currency Board coins, on
21st November 1966. The values remained the same although
the 1 tenth and 1/2 penny coins were not issued, whilst
a 4 Shilling piece went into circulation. An 8 shilling
coin was subsequently struck in 1970.
The Introduction of The Dalasi:
The dalasi was adopted in 1971. It replaced the Gambian
pound at a rate of 1 pound = 5 dalasi, i.e., 1 dalasi
= 0.2 pound = 4 shillings. In 1971, coins in 1, 5, 10,
25 and 50 Bututs and 1 dalasi were introduced. The reverse
designs of the three higher denominations were taken
from the corresponding denominations of the previous
currency (1, 2 and 4 shillings), with the reverse designs
for the lower three coins coming from the 6, 1 and 3
pence coins, respectively.
Banknotes currently in circulation are 5, 10, 25, 50,
and 100 Dalasis. 1 dalasi notes were issued between
1971 and 1987.
The assets and liabilities of The Gambia Currency Board
were vested in 1971, in the Central Bank Of The Gambia.
That same year the currency was decimalised on the basis
of 1 Dalasi = 100 Bututs. The coins were minted by the
Royal Mint. The notes of 1, 5, 10 and 25 Dalasi denominated
were printed by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co. Ltd. With
the royal effigy being replaced by the portrait of H.
E. The President of the Republic of The Gambia on both
the notes and the coin.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the country's
independence a new 10 Dalasi coin was introduced into
general circulation in 1975.
A new 1 dalasi coins were introduced in 1987, based
on the 50 pence coin of the United Kingdom.
On July 27, 2006 new banknotes were issued with similar
designs but with security upgrades in order to frustrate
the attempts of counterfeiters.
On April 16, 2009, the Central Bank issued into circulation
new D5 and D10 banknotes. The new notes bearing the
signatures of Governor Saho and First Deputy Governor
Njai, are a reprint of the current design banknotes.
The design and features of these banknotes are similar
to the current family of freshly designed banknotes
introduced in 2006. The new D5 and D10 banknotes will
circulate side by side with the current existing banknotes.
In 2015 new banknotes were issued alongside the existing
ones. New denominations were also issued which were
the D20 and D200.