African Wars: a humiliating defeat for the British (Anglo-Sudan War)

The Mahdist War (1881–99) was a British colonial war of the late MAHDI WAR19th century, which was fought between the Mahdist Sudanese of the religious leader Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah (The Mahdi), who had proclaimed himself the “Mahdi” of Islam (the “Guided One”), and the forces of the Khedivate of Egypt, initially, and later the forces of Britain. From 18 years of colonial war resulted the joint-rule state of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (1899–1956), a MAHDI war 2condominium of the British Empire and the Kingdom of Egypt until 1956.

The British participation in the colonial war is called the Sudan Campaign, which is vividly described in The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan (1899) by Winston Churchill, a participant in the war; other names for this colonial war are the “Madhist Revolt,” the “Anglo–Sudan War,” and the “Sudanese Mahdist Revolt.”

Muhammad Ahmad ibn as Sayyid Abd Allah (otherwise known as The Mahdi or Mohammed Ahmed) (1844 – June 22, 1885) was a Muslim religious leader and a Sufi teacher, in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. He declared a jihad and raised an army after declaring himself the Mahdi, a Messianic figure in Islamic thought, in 1881, and led a successful war of liberation from the Ottoman-Egyptian military occupation. He also achieved a remarkable victory over the British, who were the de facto rulers of Egypt.

Briefly, he led an independent Islamic state. He died of typhus soon after his liberation of Khartoum, where he defeated the British general, Charles George Gordon (1833-1885), who was killed in the battle. This made a British reprisal inevitable, which came in form of ANGLO-EGYPTIAN SUDANHoratio Herbert Kitchener, who later led the British during World War I. The state Ahmad founded fell to the British in 1899.



Founding of Afghanistan and its First King

afghan coinAhmad Shāh Durrānī (c. 1722 – 1772), the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan began his career by enlisting as a young soldier in the military of the Afsharid Kingdom and quickly rose to become a commander of the Abdali Regiment, a cavalry of four thousand Abdali Pashtun soldiers. After the death of Nader Shah Afshar in 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani was chosen as King of Afghanistan.

Rare Coins and Stamps of  Middle East & Afghanistan

One of the Greatest Battles in Africa against Colonial Power (Italy)

MENELIK 1 GHERSH 2Emperor Menelik II (1844 – 1913) One of the greatest battles in the history of Africa (Battle of Adwa) in 1896. Colonial Italy was defeated resoundingly by Ethiopia at a time when almost all of Africa was colonised by various 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.

Coins and Stamps of the World

A Roman Emperor in Syria

antonius pius rome
Antonius Pius, Rome
Hadrian, God Father of Antonius Pius

Antoninus Pius (Latin: Titus Fulvus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, 19 September, 86 AD – 7 March, 161 AD), also known as Antoninus,  acquired much favour with the Emperor Hadrian, who adopted him as his son and successor on 25 February 138. Antonius succeeded as Roman Emperor from 138 until 161.

Antonius Pius, Provincial Coin, Syria



It is probable that Antonius Pius visited Syria in 154-155 AD taking with him Caesar Marcus Aurelius, later emperor, reference: The Reign of Antonius Pius, E.E Bryant, Thirwall Dissertation, Cambridge Historical Essays 1895 No VIII

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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.

History on Gold, A Symbol of trade, power and gods

Since the earliest times of civilization gold has been the pursuit of kings, emperors and the rich alike as a symbol of their power, glory and splendour. Gold enshrined the Thrones, Crowns, Sceptres and other royal attire of rajas, rulers and tsars alike. Pharaohs even carried the glitter to their graves. As early as 1000 BC King Solomon sent his navy across the world in search of the precious metal to adorn his temple and his 500 concubines.   It is not surprising to see these ambitious great men and women to have their symbol of trade, power and gods on gold. Hence the birth of gold coins as early as 500 BC in Greece, followed by the Romans and Persians.

GOLD SHIVA 1Rome accumulated great wealth in gold through its conquests, including the vast deposits of the Iberian Peninsula, formerly held by Carthage. But like the Greeks, the Romans held most of their gold in reserve and struck gold coins only in emergencies. The first Roman gold coin was struck in 215 B.C. to help finance the Second Punic War against Carthage. Julius Caesar’s Aureus was the THEODOSIUSfirst Roman gold coin not struck out of necessity, and made circulating gold coinage more common. In the first century A.D., Emperor Nero further expanded gold coinage by continuing to strike an aureus and adding a gold Quinarius, which was half the value of an aureus. Both coins used almost pure gold and were issued in large quantities.

LAKSHMI GOLDGold coins continued to go through various debasements and reforms over the next 200 to 300 years in Rome, but they continued to enjoy widespread circulation in the Roman Empire and found their way to other lands through trade. After the empire was split, its eastern faction, the Byzantine Empire, continued to supply Europe with gold coins as the metal became scarce in Western Europe.

ISABELL SPAIN PHILIPPINESThe Kushan kings of India around 100 to 300 AD were the first to adopt Greek style coinage in India and on their coins were depicted the first mortal image of Buddha (Bodoo) and probably the first image of Shiva and Nandi, that too on gold.

In the modern era the rush for gold changed the demography of the world. The discovery of gold nuggets in the Sacramento Valley in early 1848 sparked the Gold Rush, arguably one of the most significant events to shape American history during the first half of the 19th century. By a cruel hand of fate the Mexicans without knowing had signed off their land rich in gold to the Americans in the treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848. Nine days later these Mexicans were being treated as foreign prospectors in a land that was their own.  As news spread of the discovery, thousands of prospective gold miners travelled by land and sea to San Francisco and the surrounding area; by the end of 1849, the non-native population of the California territory had risen to 100,000 (compared with the pre-1848 figure of less than 1,000). A total of $2 billion worth of precious metal was extracted from the area during the Gold Rush, which peaked in 1852.

Thousands of miles apart Australia found its gold in the mid-19th century. The Australian gold rushes brought about significant immigration of workers, both more locally and from overseas, to areas which had discoveries of gold deposits. A number of gold finds occurred in Australia prior to 1851, but only the gold found from 1851 onwards created gold rushes when gold found its way into the poor prospectors who became rich.

PERSIAGold coins became a yard stick of wealth of European colonial powers particularly in the 18th to 19th centuries and are sought after by collectors. Today these gold coins are prestigious objects in private collections and Museums.

Gold Coins from Antiques International

A Coin for the Lepers, A twist in Numismatic History

LEPER COIN 1922 2In 1906 the Bureau of Health for the U.S. Territory of the Philippines established a colony for leper patients on the small island of Culion in the China Sea. For health and quarantine reasons, the decision was made that the leper colony should have a separate coinage of its own which would not circulate in the rest of the Philippines.

One of the fascinating features of the monetary system in the leper colony was the strict regulations which separated the circulation of government coinage from the special “Leper Coins”. In the colony proper “Leper Money” was the only legal medium of exchange. Government coinage was not allowed within the colony and non-lepers that did business in the colony had to exchange their LEPER COIN 1922“Government Money” for “Leper Money” before they entered the colony. When they exited the colony they exchanged their “Leper Money” for “Government Money”. In this way “Leper Money” only circulated within the colony. The police strictly enforced these regulations and violators were subject to a fine of not more than Fifteen Pesos, imprisonment of up to one month or both. The first issue of “Lepar Money” consisted of Half Centavo, One Centavo, Five Centavos, Ten Centavos, Twenty Centavos, and One Peso coins which were struck in aluminum by the firm of Frank and Company, Manila in 1913. The obverse used a simple inscription of value as its central design. “Culion Leper Colony” was inscribed at the top, and “Philippine Islands” below. The reverse design was a “Caduceus” surrounded by the inscription “Bureau of Health” at the top and the date below. The 1913 issue carried no mint marks.

CULLION LEPER COLONYThe second issue, also in aluminum, was struck at the newly opened Manila mint in 1920. The second issue consisted of Ten Centavos, Twenty Centavos, and One Peso coins, all of which used the same obverse and reverse designs as the 1913 issue. All subsequent Culion Island Leper Colony Coinage was produced at the Manila mint.

The aluminium coins proved totally unsatisfactory due to rapid deterioration from the climatic conditions in the Philippines and the chemicals used to disinfect leper colony money. Starting in 1922 all Leper Colony coinage was struck in copper-nickel.

The third issue, struck in copper-nickel by the Manila mint in 1922, consisted of Twenty Centavos and One Peso coinage. These coins continued the same obverse and reverse designs as the 1913 and 1920 issues but added an incuse monogram “PM” (Philippine Mint) Mint-mark on the obverse.

The fourth issue consisted of only one denomination, a copper-nickel One Peso which was struck at the Manila mint in 1925. The obverse design for the 1925 peso features a bust of Jose Rizal (Filipino patriot and martyr who was killed by the Spanish in 1896) and carries the inscriptions “Culion Leper Colony” and “Philippine Islands”. The reverse design features the seal of the Philippine Health Service and carries the inscription “Philippine Health Service”, the date and value. The reverse also carries the mint-mark for the Philippine Mint. The mint-mark is a very unusual double mint-mark represented by a “P” on the left side of the reverse under a star and an “M” on the right side of the reverse under a star

Only 20,000 One Peso coins were issued in 1925. The design of this coin was completely different than any other Culion Lever Colony coin that preceded it. Although the peripheral text remained the same as previous issues, the denomination central to the obverse, was moved to the bottom of the reverse and replaced with a bust of the highly revered Philippine hero Dr. José Rizal. The reverse changed as well. The Caduceus was replaced with the seal of the Philippine Health Service, the denomination was placed at the bottom, and the date was reduced in size and resided between them. This was also the last Peso struck for the Leper Colony..

The fifth issue consisting of One Centavo and Five Centavo denominations was struck in nickel-copper by the Manila mint in 1927. The Five Centavos used the same obverse design as the 1925 Peso. The reverse changed the date and denomination but was otherwise the same as the 1925 issue. The One Centavo was issued in two die variations. Both die varieties featured a bust of Apolinario Mabini (known as the “brains” of the Philippine Revolution) on the obverse with the same inscriptions as the 1927 Five Centavos.


Ceylon; Visit nearly five centuries of Colonial Rule on Coins

Four years before Henry VIII became the king of England in 1509 portuguese soldoPortuguese had arrived in Ceileo (Ceylon).  300 years later this ancient island was destined to fall into the lap of the  British. The Dutch took the island from the Portuguese in 1640 but only to fall prey to the skulduggery of the British in 1796. However the British had to fight hard to subdue the resilient DUTCH 1767Kandyan Kingdom which at last capitulated in 1815 making George III the king of the island,





The British Monarchs of Ceylon

CEYLON 1 STIVER1815-1820 King George III

He died of an unidentified mental illness thought to be caused by a biochemical disorder called porphyria



George IV 1820 – 1830




Son of King George III with an extravagant life style





William IIII 1830 -1837                                                          


Brother of King George iV






Queen Victoria 1837 – 1901



Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Under her monarchy Britain became the world’s greatest empire ever.


Edward VII 1901- 1910


The eldest son of Queen Victoria who came to personify the fashionable, leisured elite with a playboy life-style.





King George V (1910-1936)



Son King Edward VII and grandson of Queen Victoria





George VI (1936-1952) Second son of King George V



Last Emperor of India and father of Queen Elizabeth II





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Antiques International

Anton Sebastian  is an internationally acclaimed author (A Complete Illustrated History of Sri Lanka, A Dictionary of the History of Medicine, A Dictionary of the History of Science, Dates in Medicine), antiquary and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians London. His decades of avid collection of Antiquities, Antiques, Coins & Rare Books is now for Sale by Antiques International


An exhilarating journey into the Past through Coins

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