The Katanga cross is a scarce and unusual piece of primitive money. It is a large cast copper cross that was used in parts of what is now Zaire up to the early 20th century. One would buy about 22 pounds (10kg.) of flour or five or six chickens. Ten would buy a gun. The Katanga Cross is about 6” to 7" (16 cm) across and weighs about 1 1/4 pounds (600 grams). This large and unusual form of money was pictured on the coins of Katanga during its brief period of independence in the early 1960's.

A bloody civil war broke out in the Congo (Zaire) upon gaining independence from Belgium in 1960 when the copper rich province of Katanga declared independence from the Congo.  After a bloody civil war it was forcibly reunited with the Congo.  These bronze 1961 1 Franc and 5 Franc coins were issued by Katanga during its brief period of independence.  The coin displays the country's traditional form of money, the Katanga Cross, on one side of the coin. A bunch of bananas is on the other.

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