Marriages are quoted to be made in heaven but occasionally they end up in hell. Hundreds of causes are proposed for failure of marriages from broken homes to infidelity. Everybody gets married with a sense of commitment although the reasons may vary from love to money. The trials of marriage usually occur in early stages of matrimony and early recognition may help to prevent a breakdown. As a physician, it is heart-warming to meet couples who have made their progress from silver, ruby to golden anniversary and beyond. The longer they have stayed together stronger is their bondage. The final sad hour of their life is when one spouse departs from the world leaving the other with a sense of emptiness and sorrow.

We have no way of knowing how many marriages would have been saved with correct intervention and support. The following is form of stress test for both the man and the woman to measure the depth of their problem and gauge the prognosis. The test is meant to be guideline only and not infallible.

Do you believe that your Husband is concerned about your health and well being +1 -1
Do you believe that your husband prioritises your quality of life above money +1 -1
In case of divorce do you believe that your husband will fight hard  to give you only the minimum benefits -1   +1
Do you think your husband will be very concerned about the effect of divorce on the children, if any +1 -1
Do you believe that your husband may never want to see you again after divorce -1   +1
Is your husband diagnosed to have mental illness or physical addiction to drugs or alcohol -1    +1
Is your husband being negatively influenced by others +1   -1
Has your husband ever left home over differences -1    +1
Does your husband have an ongoing extramarital affair or had one in the past -1   +1
A total score of 0 points denotes that marriage can be saved with intervention and counselling
Each negative score thereafter reduces the chances of the survival of marriage by about 20%


Do you believe that your wife is concerned about your health and well being +1 -1
Do you believe that your wife prioritises your quality of life above money + 1                -1
In case of divorce do you believe that your wife will fight hard for every penny and more -1                +1
Will your wife be very concerned about the effect of divorce on the children, if any + 1                -1
Do you believe that your wife may never want to see you again after divorce -1               + 1
Is your wife diagnosed to have a diagnosed mental illness or physical addiction to drugs or alcohol -1               +1
Is your wife being negatively influenced by others + 1                -1
Has your wife ever left home over differences -1               +1
Does your wife have an extra marital affair ongoing or in the past -1               +1
A total score of 0 points denotes that marriage can be saved with intervention
Each negative score thereafter reduces the chances of the survival of marriage by about 20%


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.




History of Sri Lanka through Coins and Stamps

The trade and cultural ties to other countries of the world could be traced through the coins as old as 2000 years found in Sri Lanka.   Among hoards of foreign coins found in the most unlikely places in the island such as Sigiriya,  the site of the citadel of Kassayapa, the sleepy village of Kantharodai in Jaffna. Nearly 3000 Roman coins excavated nearthe Sīgiriya site suggest a Roman connection during early Christian era.  Most of the coins found here belong to the period from Constantine the great (r. 306-337) to (Flavius) Honorius (reigned 393-423), which predate Kassapa (reigned ca 477-495) by nearly a century. The earliest Roman coin found in the region dates to about 317, nearly 150 years before Kassapa founded Sīgiriya. From the above evidence it is likely that Kassapa did not choose Sīgiriya by chance and it was already a hub of culture and trade. Some gold coins issued during the reign of King

Vijayabāhu currently exhibited at the British Museum, as well as in the Colombo Museum follow the types of Raja Raja Cholan when he was in possession of Pollonnaruva.

The relationship between the Tamils and the Sinhalese is also seen through the ancient coins in Sri Lanka.  The The Mullaitivu coins (kahāpaṇas) as old as 200 BC arguably attributed to Eḷāra (Ellalan, bear a tree with branches (probably Sacred Bo Tree) on one face, and the bull (probably the Sacred Bull of the Hindus) suggesting that Eḷāra respected both religions.  Mahāvaṃsa itself (XXI, 26) reveals the earliest date of kahāpaṇa (coins) in Lanka when Eḷāra spent 15,000 kahāpaṇas to repair a  Buddhist stupa.

Known as Ceylon until it became a republic in 1972, the island had the most eye-catching colors of the Victorian Era in stamps.

Sri Lanka Post has a long history of 209 years, dating back to 1798, when the colonial Dutch rulers started five post offices in the Maritime Districts under their control. In 1799, they published the first postal regulations and postage rates. The Dutch East India Company operated the Postal service, which was not meant for the public but for official use.

1861 ceylonThe first postmaster by the British was appointed in 1802 and hand stamps were first supplied in 1813. The British took control of the whole island by conquering the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815 at the time of reign of King George III. Although horse drawn mail delivery commenced in Ceylon around 1832, the postage stamps were issued only on  1 April 1857.
VICTORIAN CEYLONThe first Stamp features a portrait of Queen Victoria and is brown in color and of 6 pence value used to send a half ounce letter from Ceylon to England. Eight more stamps were issued in year 1857, all featuring the portrait of Queen Victoria. One of the 5 stamps that were issued on 23 April 1859 is considered to be the most valuable stamp in Sri Lanka: it is a 4 pence with a dark pink color known as the ‘Dull Rose.
CEYLON WAR STAMPSA week after the First World War ended in 1918, Ceylon under King George V  adopted war stamps when all postal rates were increased to defray war expenditure. The 2c, 3c, and 5 c were all overprinted “WAR STAMP” in two lines, and the 5 cent was also overprinted with an additional “ONE CENT” with a line struck through the original value. There are a number of varieties in the overprints, such as double and inverted overprints.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         CEYLON 1972Sri Lanka later is the only country to include details in a stamp in three languages viz. Sinhala, Tamil and English. The first stamps marked Sri Lanka were issued on 22 May 1972.
The first ever souvenir sheet of Sri Lanka was issued on 5 February 1966 on the topic ‘Typical Birds of Ceylon’. This sheet was reissued on 15 September 1967 to commemorate the 1st National Stamp Exhibition of Sri Lanka, overprinted ‘FIRST NATIONAL STAMP EXHIBITION 1967’.

Cars as Colourful and Pretty as the Birds of Cuba,

cuba carsHow did these cars get to the island and managed to stay put. From the discovery of Cuba by Columbus in the late 15th century up the Spanish-American War of 1899 the Spaniards governed the island with an iron fist from their grandiose palaces, gardens and assemblies. The lavishness of their life style can be seen and felt today on the streets of Havana when we look at the Colonial architecture that they left behind. The Museum in the Old Havana square today displays the stunning lavishness of the Spaniard Lords.


The Americans had a free hand in Cuba from 1899 during their own
administration until 1902 when Cuba gained its independence. The subsequent Cuban governors were partly stooges of the Americans and as result Americanism flourished in Cuba.

We mostly see the magnificent and colorful American mobiles from as early as the 1930s to late 1950s until Fidel and Raul Castro, Che Guevara with the help of the Cuban people brought about the revolution of P11802211959. This is probably the reason we hardly see any American cars after the 1960s. Now that reconciliation may be on its way we hope that it comes on Cuba’s terms to preserve the integrity culture and not the least its old beautiful cars. We hope that the bea
ches of Cuba such as the Varadeo, the best in the Caribbean, remain as close to nature as it they are today and don’t become a tourist hub of ice creams parlors and touts.

History of Havana on Coins & Stamps


Poorest Country in the World, A Colonial Heritage

Kinshasa, Congo ….it is the poorest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is also the poorest country in the world, at a GDP of $55 billion.

Many of its residents live on less $1 a day.


 One of the most exploited countries in Africa by the west. Now they are the poorest

Belgian Congo, French Congo Belge,  former colony (coextensive with the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo) in Africa, ruled by Belgium from 1908 until 1960. It was established by the Belgian parliament to replace the previous, privately owned Congo Free State, after international outrage over abuses there brought pressure for supervision and accountability. A rebellion broke out in several eastern districts in 1919 and was not suppressed until 1923. Private European and American corporations invested heavily in the Belgian Congo after World War I. Large plantations (growing cotton, oil palms, coffee, cacao, and rubber) and livestock farms were developed. In the interior, gold, diamonds, copper, tin, cobalt, and zinc were mined; the colony became an important source of uranium for the United States during World War II. In the late 1950s, France and the United Kingdom worked with their colonies to prepare for independence.  The first nationwide Congolese political party, the Congo National Movement, was launched in 1958 by Patrice Lumumba and other Congolese leaders. Riots broke out in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) after a rally was held calling for the independence of the Congo in 1960. Suddenly Belgium capitulated and Congo became an independent republic on June 30, 1960.


The Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979


Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1919-1980)

At the time of revolution which first took root in 1977 Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1919 – 1980) was head of the state as Shah of Iran. However he was not of royal descent but a son of an army commander Rezā Shāh (1878 – 1944) who engineered a coup with the assistance of British, and deposed Ahmad Shah Qajar, the last Shah of the Qajar dynasty in 1925. Having established a constitutional monarchy Pahlavi was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran on 16 September 1941. His son Mohammed Reza Shah followed as the next Shaw, and initiated a strong policy of modernization of Iran supported by the United States and the rest of the west.

IRAN 1912 225 Centuries of Iranian Empire

During Shah’s regime Iran marked the anniversary of 2,500 years of continuous monarchy since the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great. The Shah also changed the benchmark of the Iranian calendar from the hegira to the beginning of the Persian Empire, measured from Cyrus the Great’s coronation. He also introduced the ‘White Revolution’, a series of economic, social and political reforms with the proclaimed intention of transforming Iran into a global power and modernizing the nation by nationalizing certain industries and granting women suffrage.

Final decisive Year of Revolution 1979

However as a secular Muslim, PERSIA GOLD 1882 2Mohammad Reza gradually lost support from the Shi’a clergy of Iran as well as the working class, particularly due to his strong policy of modernization, secularization, conflict with the traditional class of merchants known as bazaari, relations with Israel, and corruption issues surrounding himself, his family, and the ruling elite. In order to counteract the revolution additional controversial policies were enacted, including the banning of the communist Tudeh Party, and a general suppression of political dissent by Iran’s intelligence agency, SAVAK. According to official statistics, Iran had as many as 2,200 political prisoners in 1978, a number which multiplied rapidly as the evolution took hold.

Several other factors contributed to strong opposition to the Shah among certain groups within Iran, the most notable of which were United States and UK support for his regime, clashes with Islamists and increased communist activity. Demonstrations against the Shah commenced in October 1977, developing into a campaign of civil resistance by secular and religious elements intensified in January 1978. Between August and December 1978 strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country. The Shah left Iran for exile on January 16, 1979, as the last Persian monarch, leaving his duties to a regency council and an opposition-based prime minister. Ayatollah Khomeini who was exiled for 15 years, was invited back to Iran by the government, and returned to Tehran to a greeting by several million Iranians. The royal reign collapsed shortly after on February 11 when guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah in armed street fighting, bringing Khomeini to official power.  Iran voted by national referendum to become an Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979, and to approve a new theocratic-republican constitution whereby Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country, in December 1979.

The revolution was unusual for the surprise it created throughout the world as it lacked many of the customary causes of revolution (defeat at war, a financial crisis, peasant rebellion, or disgruntled military, and blood shed). The revolution occurred in a nation that was enjoying relatively good wealth and prosperity.  The outcome resulted in the exile of many Iranians, and replaced a pro-Western semi-absolute monarchy with an anti-Western authoritarian theocracy  based on the concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists (or velayat-e faqih). It was a relatively non-violent revolution, and helped to redefine the meaning and practice of modern revolutions.

History of Iran on Coins and Stamps


The Second Round of Exploitation? Congo

GORILLAThe oldest national park in Africa is the Congo’s Virunga National Park. It is home to rare mountain gorillas, lions, and elephants. The park is currently under threat by the UK oil company, Soco, which has begun oil exploration there. Despite heavy criticism SOCO is yet to relinquish its operating permits or commit to an unconditional withdrawal.

The First Round of Exploitation

LEOPOLDLeopold II (9 April 1835 – 17 December 1909) was the second King of the Belgians, chiefly remembered for the founding and exploitation of the Congo Free State as a private venture. Born in Brussels as the second son of Leopold I and Louise of Orléans, he succeeded his father to the throne on 17 December 1865, reigning for 44 years until his death. This was the longest reign of any Belgian monarch.

CONGOLeopold was the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State, a private project undertaken on his own behalf. He used explorer Henry Morton Stanley to help him lay claim to the Congo, an area now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885, the colonial nations of Europe authorized his claim by committing the Congo Free State to improving the lives of the native inhabitants. Far from this intention Leopold ignored these conditions, and ran the Congo with mercenary Force Publique for his personal enrichment. The great sums of the money from this exploitation were used for public and private construction projects in Belgium during this period. He donated the private buildings to the state before his death, to preserve them for Belgium.



Central African Republic, The fallen President Bokassa

A Lesson in History, A fallen President,


Jean-Bedel Bokassa (1921-1996) distinguished himself in the war in Indochina and became a war hero. In 1966, Bokassa used his position and declared him-self president of Central African Republic. He then began a reign of terror and corruption, taking all important government posts for himself. He personally supervised judicial beatings and introduced a rule that thieves would have an ear cut off for the first two offenses and a hand for the third. In 1977, in emulation of his hero Napoleon, he crowned himself emperor of the Central African Empire in a ceremony costing $20 million, practically bankrupting the country. His diamond-encrusted crown alone cost $5 million. In 1979 he had hundreds of schoolchildren arrested for refusing to buy uniforms from a company owned by one of his wives. Bokassa was reported to have personally supervised the massacre of 100 of the schoolchildren by his Imperial Guard.

On 20 September 1979, French paratroopers deposed him and re-installed Dacko as president. Bokassa went into exile in France where he had a chateau and other property bought with the money he had embezzled. After his overthrow in 1979, Central Africa reverted to its former name and status as the Central African Republic. In his absence, he was tried and sentenced to death. He returned to the Central African Republic in 1986 and was put on trial for treason and murder. In 1987, he was cleared of charges of cannibalism, but found guilty of the murder of schoolchildren and other crimes. The death sentence was later commuted to life in solitary confinement, but just six years later, in 1993, he was freed. He lived a private life in his former capital, Bangui, and died in November 1996 at the age of 75 years.

central-africa-1975-1The French colony of Ubangi-Chari (Oubangui-Chari in French), part of French Equatorial Africa, had become a semi-autonomous territory of the French Community in 1958 and then an independent nation as the Central African Republic on 13 August 1960.

The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo to the south and Cameroon to the west.



The Magic of South Pacific, the Fiji Islands on Coins

FIJI 1934 1Fiji  in the South Pacific, is an archipelago of over 300 islands  formed through  volcanic activity starting around 150 million years ago. The rugged landscape of blue lagoons,  palm-lined beaches, mountains and forests make it one of FIJI 1934 2the idyllic islands of the world. Fiji is believed to have been settled around 3500 to 1000 BC, although with sporadic influx from the Polynesian islands. Abel Jan Tasman was the first European to sight Fiji Islands on 1643 and Captain James Cook visited the island in 1774. Captain FIJI 1947 1William Bligh and his loyal members of the crew on HMS Bounty sailed through Fiji on their epic voyage to Timor in 1789.

Later traders and adventurers arrived in 1801 and by 1840 the islands had been surveyed while a cosmopolitan FIJI 1943population existed with Suva as capital. The islands were under King Cakobau who in 1874 sought help from the British to control the warring tribes.

British as they had done in their other colonies brought indentured labor from India which was to cause conflict later in 1970 among the original tribes and immigrant Indian people.

British coinage was used in the islands since 1881, and Australian coins were in circulation from 1910. The distinctive coins bearing the island’s name were produced in 1934 with effigy of King George V and an outrigger canoe.  Fiji was one of the first to issue coins of King Edward VIII in 1936. These coins were followed by holed half and one pennies of cupro-nickel and brass in 1942 and of bronze in 1949. The 12 sided nickel brass pence with the head of King George VI appeared in 1947.

The crowned effigy of British monarchs continued until 1969 when the denomination was replaced by the dollar. A year later in 1970 Fiji attained independence from the British.


The Legend of the Buffalo Nickel Coin USA

BUFFALO USA 1913 1Also known as Indian Head Coin, this piece was struck by the United States Mint from 1913 to 1938. Its engraver sculptor James Earle Fraser chose “Black Diamond” (1893-1915), a famous buffalo at the Central Park zoo in New York City to represent the
USA, and more BUFFALO USA 1913 2importantly on the obverse is Iron Tail, an Oglala Sioux chief, Two Moons, a Cheyenne chief, and Big Tree, a Kiowa chief.

Earlier in an effort to beautify the  historic series of US coins, five new designs were submitted between LIBERTY HEAD 1883 USA 11907 and 1909.  In 1911, Taft administration officials decided to replace Charles E. Barber’s Liberty Head design, sometimes referred to as the V nickel because of its reverse design, which had been in use since 1883 until 1912, with at least five pieces being surreptitiously struck dated 1913. The obverse of this coin fearured a left-facing image of the Goddess of Liberty.

The new design by Sculptor James Earle Fraser (November 4, 1876 – October 11, 1953) showing a Native American and an American bison impressed the treasury officials and the design was approved in 1912, but had to be delayed several months because of objections from the Hobbs Manufacturing Company, which made mechanisms to detect slugs in nickel-operated machines. The company was not satisfied by changes made in the coin by Fraser, and in February 1913, Treasury Secretary Franklin MacVeagh finally decided to issue the coins despite the objections.

Initially the American Mint tried to adjust the design, as the coins proved to strike indistinctly, and to be subject to wear—the dates were easily worn away in circulation. In 1938, after the expiration of the minimum 25-year period during which the design could not be replaced without congressional authorization, a new coin was substituted with the Jefferson nickel, designed by Felix Schlag. However Fraser’s Indian-Buffalo design is still admired and has been used on commemorative coins and gold bullion pieces.

Coins of USA from Antiques International