Nickel-plated steel 500 Tanzanian Shilling coin

BOT brings sexy back with sleek and robust

When the Bank of Tanzania’s (BOT) Emmanuel Boaz announced the introduction of a 500 shillings coin back in September this year (2014), I was pretty excited. It has been a while since I could look forward to the prospects of using new money and I have been eagerly waiting to have the new arrival on the palm of my hands. The 500 Shilling was expected to enter our everyday money cycle by early October. A quick google search reveals that there had been speculation of the new coin since back in 2012.


Early yesterday morning I popped-in my usual café for a quick takeaway and I felt super lucky when the cashier handed me the new coin. There it was, resting on my palms in all its shining glory. Having personally witnessed the 500 coin I can proudly say that the Bank Of Tanzania has brought sexy back and here is why:


Sleek and robust Nickel-plated steel
There is no contest that steel is the metal of choice for its hardness and tensile strength. Adding an additional layer of nickel means that the new five hundred shillings has an increased resistance to corrosion, improved resistance to wear, strength and improved ductility.

Light and comfortable dimensions
At 9.50 grams and a diameter of 27.50 mm the TZS 500 coin has close resemblance to the TZS 200 coin as far as dimensions go. In fact it is hard to tell the difference when you stuck them up. So there is no worry about having to treat it any differently in terms of storage.

 Creative back face design 
The introduction of a combination of curved lines and text with varying size and positioning makes the TZS 500 the most creatively designed coin in our circulation so far.

That cool hologram effect
At the top edge of the coin you will find an arc containing a hologram effect. Twist the coin from side to side and you will see ‘500’ alternate with the ‘BOT’ acronym. That is some serious branding and we love it.

 The Buffalo
Tanzanian currency has a heritage of using animal representation and as far as the coins go we have had the fish, horse, rabbit, giraffe, rhino, impala, lion and the buffalo. For those that live for mystical interpretation then the buffalo is a symbol of abundance and manifesting goals. People with this totem are unafraid, often unpredictable, and willing to meet a challenge head on. The perfect representation of the role and challenge ahead for the TZS 500 which is here to carry on and improve on the weakness of its predecessor the TZS 500 note which was seen to be much prone to wear and tear.

The new 500 Shillings coin

The new 500 Shillings coin


The wins

 The end of rejection
Since the TZS 500 note was the most commonly used denomination among the lower income of the economic spectrum there were many occurrences where it was deformed to a point that resulted to it being rejected in many day to day economic transactions. We don’t see that happening with the TZS 500 coin unless there is a serious case of vandalism. Suppliers and banks are going to rejoice to the prospect of receiving much cleaner and better condition TZS 500s.

 Fatter piggy banks
You know how some parents award their kids with left over change form the super market. The TZS 500 brings a reason to rejoice for piggy bank owners, as they will soon begin to see their personal savings grow at tremendous speed.

 More generous random change donations
Like the case of the piggy banks, the receivers of change donations will also begin to see an increase in donations as their benefactors become more generous with the increased value of the coin denomination.


The loses

 Heavier pockets
This will be most felt by the bus conductors, street vendors and ‘mama ntilie’ (women who sell food on the street). Already having to pocket three different coin denominations an introduction of a fourth coin will add to the headache

A case of mistaken identity

The TZS 500 has close similarity to the TZS 200 in size and when the lighting or eye sight conditions are unfavorable there is many chances that users will get confused while using the coin at least during the initial stage. Care needs to be taken until it becomes a staple

Bad news for Mr. or Ms. Grumpy

For all those that wake up in the morning looking for a fight over whether that person will accept that crunched up TZS 500 note unfortunately the TZS 500 coin brings an end to that past time.



The exiting TZS 500

The exiting TZS 500


Fun facts

 The slang for TZS 500 is ‘jero’

Some of Tanzanian coins; old and current

Some of Tanzanian coins; old and current



Further Reading

For a news style report of the BOT press conference read ardenkitomaritz

For a scholastic argument on whether to make the transition from note to coin read wewrite

For the source of the 500 coin picture used in this article view pwezapweza



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