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New Hebrides, so named by Captain Cook in 1774 due to its resemblance to the Scottish Islands

These islands in the east of Papua New Guinea saw its first European visitor Pedro de Queiros of Portugal in 1606 followed by the Frenchman Louis de Bougainville in 1768.

new-hebrides-1967-1New Hebrides, named for the Hebrides Scottish archipelago, was the colonial name for the island group in the South Pacific Ocean that now is the nation of Vanuatu. Native people had inhabited the islands for three thousand years before the first Europeans arrived in 1606 from a Spanish expedition led by Pedro Fernandes de Queirós. The islands were colonized by both the British and French in the 18th century, shortly after Captain James Cook visited the islands.

The two countries eventually signed an agreement making the islands an Anglo-French condominium, which divided the New Hebrides into two separate communities: one Anglophone and one Francophone. This divide continues even after independence, with schools teaching in either one language or the other, and with different political parties. The condominium lasted from 1906 until 1980, when the New Hebrides gained their independence as Vanuatu.

Ceylon, Commemorative issue ,2500 years of Buddha, 5 rupee, Silver 1957 UNC

Ceylon, Commemorative issue 2500 years of Buddha, 5 rupee, Silver 1957 UNC Commemorative issue

Buddha Jayanthi 2500th Anniversary

buddha-2500-years-5-rs500,000 coins minted in 1957 of which 258,000 were melted down in 1962



An adaptation from the Anuradhapura Moonstone. The numeral 2500 at the centre with Flower petals around in inner annulus, next a procession of elephant, horse, lion and bull (2 sequences). next a procession of sixteen geese, with lotus flowers hanging from their beaks.
Note:These coins are popularly referred to as the Buddha Jayanthi coins

Sandakada pahana, also known as Moon-stone, is a unique feature of the Sinhalese architecture of ancient Sri Lanka. It is an elaborately carved semi-circular stone slab, usually placed at the bottom of staircases and entrances.

Lettering: 2500

Engraver: Bernard Sindall


A design based on the Jasmine flower surmounted by a Lotus flower. The value in Sinhalese and the year of issue 1957 is superimposed at the center. The value FIVE RUPEES in English on left and Tamil on right and in Sinhalese `Sri Lanka’ at the apex and the anniversary `Buddha Jayanthi’ at the bottom.



Abyssinia, From Solomon to Selassie

Menelik II

Abyssinia rulers take their origin from King Solomon. Menelik I, also known as Ebna la-Hakim (“Son of the Wise”[) was the first Solomonic Emperor of Ethiopia, who is traditionally believed to be the son of Solomon of ancient Israel and Makeda, the ancient Queen of Sheba. Menelik is believed to have ruled around 950 BC, and tradition credits him with bringing of the Ark of the Covenant to Ethiopia, following a visit to Jerusalem to meet his father.

King Solomon intended to send one son of each of his nobles, and one son of each temple priests with Menelik on his return to his mother’s kingdom.  Menelik is supposed to have made a replica of the Ark to take with him on his mission. Upon the death of Queen Makeda, Menelik assumed the throne with the new title of Emperor and King of Kings of Ethiopia. The Solomonic dynasty ruled Ethiopia through 225 generations, except for a few interruptions, for three thousand years.

MENELIK COINSThe Abyssinian Emperor Menelik II  (1844 –  1913) was  baptized as Sahle Maryam, his birth name being Negus of Shewa (1866–89). He was later raised to the status of Nəgusä Nägäst (King of Kings)  from 1889 to his death.  Earlier at the zenith of his rule in 1898 Menelik had expanded his territory and created a modern empire, thus restoring the ancient Ethiopia to its past glory of Axumite Empire which was one of the four most powerful kingdoms of the ancient world.

Menelik’s victory over the Italian invaders at Adwa in 1896 earned him great fame.  Colonial Italy was defeated resoundingly by Ethiopia in one of the greatest battles in the history of Africa. This victory over Italy at the Battle of Adwa  came at a time when almost all of Africa was colonized by European powers. Emperor Menelik is credited with rallying his fellow Ethiopians behind him to fight back fiercely enough so as to deliver an unimaginable victory against the so called powerful and mighty forces of a European army.

In 1889 Menelik proclaimed that the territories north of the Merab Melash (modern Eritrea) did not belong to  his  rule as the land was not peopled by Abyssinians, but by other tribes such as  Adals, Bejas, and Tigres. This is probably the reason he ceded Eritrea to the Italians.

As the 20th century approached, most of Africa had been carved up among the European powers.  But the young Republic of Liberia on the west coast of the continent and the Ethiopian Empire in the strategic Horn of Africa were still free. The newly unified Kingdom of Italy was a relative newcomer to the colonial scramble for Africa. Italy already held the African territories, Eritrea and Somalia. Both these states were in an impoverished state and in proximity to the more fertile and rich Abyssinia on the Horn of Africa.

Benito Mussolini came to power in Italy in 1922 with a grandiose intent to create a new Roman Empire and was on a predatory watch over the world including Africa. His target was Abyssinia (Ethiopia), sandwiched between two small Italian colonies  Eritrea and Somalia

SELLASIE COINAbyssinia at this time, ruled by Haile Selassie, was a member of the League of Nations, created after World War I to maintain peace by solving international disputes without resorting to war. Britain, France, and Italy were members of the League.  If a member was attacked by another country, the League was supposed to come to its aid, but in fact the League lacked the strength needed to back this mandate.

Throughout the summer of 1935, Mussolini amassed troops on the Abyssinian border, and in October 1935 he launched a full invasion’ Selassie appealed to the League for help but the League’s intervention was too slow and weak. Mussolini conquered Abyssinia, creating the Italian East African Empire.

SELLASIEThe ruler Haile Selassie was born in 1892 as Tefari Makonnen and became governor of Harar, a city in Ethiopia in 1911. In 1928 he was crowned king and ruler of Ethiopia. On November 3 1930 Selassie appeared on the cover of Time magazine as  “Man of the year” and one of the Top 25 Political Icons in history. Writing about Haile Selassie, TIME stated, the King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judah, Elect of God. (All were used to describe Haile Selassie) ruled as Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930.

An year later in 1931 he introduced the first constitution of Ethiopia. In 1935 when Italy invaded Ethiopia after a gruesome battle for 5 years Selassie went into exile.

Finally before the fall of Italy in 1941 during the Second World War Allied East African Forces forces retook Ethiopia. On January 18, 1941 Haile Selassie marched in the East African Campaign against Mussolini’s occupation.

In 1955, in an attempt to modernize the country, Selassie granted a new constitution with more rights for his citizens. In 1963, he presided over the first meeting of the Organization of African Unity In 1972. Selassie was ultimately deposed in a organized military coup by people who were discontented with his regime. However Selassie’s contribution to African solidarity earned him fame as one of the reformists in emerging African political scene.


Japanese Occupation of Manila and the Escalation of World War II

JAPANESE OCCUPATION MINT X 2The Japanese occupation of the Philippines occurred between 1942 and 1945, when the Empire of Japan occupied the Commonwealth of the Philippines during World War II. The invasion of the Philippines started on 8 December 1941, ten hours after the Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbour.

 JAPANESE OCCUPATION X 4 MINT 2ND SETEarlier in preparation for war, on July 26, 1941, General Douglas MacArthur had brought the 12,000 strong Philippine Scouts under his command with the 16,000 American soldiers stationed in the Philippines. Even these combined forces were poorly trained and equipped for an adequate defence of the islands against a Japanese invasion.

MACARTHUR X 4 SHEETThe attack on the Philippines was coordinated ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. As the American aircrafts were entirely destroyed on the ground, lacking air cover, the American Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines withdrew to Java on December 12, 1941.

Japanese troops landed at the Lingayen Gulf on December 22, 1941 and advanced across central Luzon towards Manila. On the advice of President Quezon, General MacArthur declared Manila an open city on December 25, 1941 and removed the Commonwealth government to Corregidor. The Japanese occupied Manila on January 2, 1942.

MACARTHUR COINThe final Battle of Manila commenced on 3rd February 1945 and was a major event in the Philippine campaign of 1944-45 during World War II, fought by the American and Filipino forces against the Empire of Japan in Manila. This one-month battle culminated in the massacre of over 100,000 civilians and complete devastation of the city. In the process of ending the three years of Japanese military occupation in Philippines (1942–1945) battle destroyed architectural and cultural heritage of the city dating back to its foundation. General Douglas MacArthur emerged as the victor in the campaign to re-take Philippines.




Curious Coins of the World

Australia, Merino Ram

AUSTRALIA 1946 RAMA breed of sheep for wool introduced by Elizabeth MacArthur generated  £ 55,000.000 for Australia, more than any of its other resources in 1930. By 1940 Australia held the largest sheep population in the world, 123 million

Ceylon, Parākramabāhu I (reign 1153-1186), Lion Copper Massa Coin only 12 known to exist.  James Princep (1799-1840)  calls altogether a unique perverted art


Paradox USA , Liberty & Slavery, Year 1800

USA 1800In year 1800 in Virginia 39.2 percent of the total population were black slaves.

Gabriel Prosser (1776-1800), an enslaved African American blacksmith elevated himself by learning to read and write. Having born into a slave family and learning to be a blacksmith he was regarded as “a fellow of great courage and intellect above his rank in life” by his mates. As Gabriel neared the age of twenty, he stood “six feet two or three inches high” with a long and “bony face, the stuff that war heroes are made of. He organized a slave revolt intending to march on Richmond, Virginia in the spring of 1800. However two of the slaves betrayed him to their owner and his plan was foiled. Gabriel paid the ultimate price for trying to free himself and his people from slavery. Gabriel turned fugitive, but not for long before he was captured and hanged with his two brothers and 23 fellow slaves. Alerted by this incident with no precedence, Virginia and other state legislatures passed several restrictions on blacks as well as prohibiting their education, assembly, and hiring out of slaves, in order to restrict their chances to learn and to plan similar rebellions. Thus was the travesty of slavery and liberty in early America.

LINCOLN 1909The spirit of liberty prevailed but not until 60 years later when Abraham Lincoln made war against slavery but he too paid with his life for his liberal views.

World Coins USA

Slave Trade for 350 years.
43,600 voyages.
12.5 million Africans forced aboard European and American slave ships.
10.7 million survivors of the Middle Passage disembarked in the New World.

Mother India: All the colors within the rays in the Sun turn to magic in the Rainbow.

INDIA mapsAll the colors within the rays in the sun turn to magic in the rainbow. Together these shades join to light the world, feed the plants and give meaning to day and night so that man can toil and rest. Without the sun there would be no day. But he too must take rest, hence the moon to sooth us from the demands of the Helios. India is the sun with all its shades of culture, language and religions blending as one to make India what it is today.  Pregnant with 54 clans and tribes it is a wonder that the mother India holds herself self together to challenges within herself and from the outside.


José Martí, the National Hero of Cuba

José Julián Martí Pérez (January 28, 1853 – May 19, 1895), popularly known as Jose Marti, is a Cuban national hero and revolutionary as well as writer in Latin American literature. His writings and political activity, became a symbol for Cuba’s bid for independence against Spain in the 19th century, He wrote about the cuba-1935-1threat of Spanish and US expansionism into Cuba. The Spanish-American War put an end to the European threat but risk still remains from the USA. José Martí was killed in battle against Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Ríos, near the confluence of the rivers Contramaestre and Cauto, on May 19, 1895. After his death, one of his poems from the book, “Versos Sencillos” (Simple Verses) was adapted to the song “Guantanamera”, which has become the definitive patriotic song of Cuba.

Coins and Stamps of Cuba

A Visit to the House of Hanover, Coins of British Monarchs1714-1901

Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, which had been in personal union under the House of Stuart since 24 March 1603. Since then there have been 12 monarchs of Great Britain and the United Kingdom.

The German royal descent of the English Royal family came with Hanoverian succession as a result of the Act of Settlement 1701, passed by the Parliament of England, which excluded Roman Catholics “Papists” (that is, Roman Catholics) from the succession to the throne. The Hanoverian succession and the Union were ratified by the Parliament of Scotland in 1707.

On 1 January 1801, Great Britain merged with the Kingdom of Ireland (also previously in personal union with Great Britain) to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. After most of Ireland left the union on 6 December 1922, its name was amended on 12 April 1927 to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Monarchs of House of Hanover (German) 1714 -1901


 King_George_I_by_Sir_Godfrey_Kneller,_Bt George I (1660-1727)

Born in Hanover George I (Georg Ludwig) became King of Great Britain and Ireland on 1 August 1714 following the death of Queen Anne of Great Britain.

Reign 1714-1727GEORGE 1




George II (1683-1720), Born and brought up in Northern Germany (Georg II) he became King of Great Britain and Ireland on 11 June 1727. George was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain.  Reign 1727-1680








 George_III George III (1738-1820)

The grandson of King George II, George III was born in London and became king of Great Britain and Ireland 25 October 1760. He died of a mental illness of unknown cause.

Reign 1760-1820



 GEORGE IV George IV (1762-1830)

King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover following the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten years later. He served as Prince Regent during his father’s final mental illness.

Reign 1820-1830



William IV (1765-1837)

King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death. He was third son of George III and younger brother and successor to George IV, and the last king and penultimate monarch of Britain’s House of Hanover.

Reign 1830-1837



Alexandrina Victoria (1837-1901)

Granddaughter of George III, daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

Reign 1837-1901



Ceylon- Sri Lanka, a Timeline on Stamps and Coins

augustusThe coins dating back to about 2000 years discovered in Ceylon, the present Sri Lanka (since 1972), is a testament to the antiquity of foreign trade in the island. Although corroborated in the chronicles it is the living evidence in your hands that brings a reality to this past.

GOLD SHIVA 2Roman coins of Augustus Caesar and the coins of Kushan kings of India, some of them in gold, discovered in Ceylon, relates to these empires which had some form of trade or influence in ancient Ceylon. Coins bearing Hindu deities such as Shiva and Lakshmi are among the earliest coins discovered in the island, followed by Chola King Raja Raja’s coins ceylon coinwhich set the generic trend for coins of King Parakramabahu onwards.

portugueseFor the next 1500 years the island continued its independence until the Portuguese arrived in 1506 at Galle. Their coins bearing the globe are a symbol colonial expansionism that was beginning to sweep the world from east to west from the 16th century onward. Spaniards discovered the Caribbean Islands and held fast to their possessions until the Spanish American War of 1898 when they had to give up Cuba and Philippines to the Americans…

dutch 1792When the Dutch took over the Ceileo of Portuguese around 1650s the initial coinage used in the island were of global VOC mintage. Around 1670s Dutch began to mint their own coins in Galle and Jaffna which had definitive mint marks. British took over the island during the reign of George III whose earliest coins designated for Ceylon were minted at London in 1801. At the death of George in 1820 his son George IV took over the reign during whose reign the ceylon 1805coins were generic to India and Ceylon. King William IV, third son of George III, reigned from 1830 to 1838 when Victoria the only child (born 1819 May 24) of the fourth son Edward was crowned queen of the United Kingdom on 1838 until her death on 1901 January 22nd. The first postage stamps in the island were introduced in 1855, bearing Queen Victoria’s effigy. On a global basis this was also a generic period for the earliest stamps in most colonies. The American colonies were already lost to the British during the reign ceylon george iiiiof King George III but it took more a century for Ceylon to attain its independence in 1947.

Today you can take this journey through coins at antiques international by clicking here.