In The Groove – Security Edges and Contemporary Counterfeiting in British West Africa and Nigeria – Gary Oddie

The official coinage of British West Africa has been well documented and catalogued. This note focusses on the prevalence of contemporary counterfeiting in British West Africa of the silver, tin-brass, and nickel-brass coins and the later white metal counterfeits of the cupro-nickel coins of the British Protectorate of Nigeria.


In July 1781 Mr Joshua Steele wrote to the Society at Adelphi in London informing that several Gentlemen of property and liberal education had formed a Society on the island of Barbados for the ‘Promotion of Useful Arts’. These included agriculture, manufacturing and innovation all in order to provide vocation training and employment to the poorer classes, both white and black, on the island. In May 1782 the Society decided to commission an Award Medal to be presented to deserving individuals contributing to the aims of the Society. Have any of these award medals survived?

Jamaica ‘Type X’ Countermark – A Modern Fake – K. V. Eckardt

Again, along the recent series of Blog Posts regarding modern fakes readers should be made aware of a potentially convincing fake countermark on 8 Reale coins from Jamaica (c.1758-9). While the fabricators of these fake coins or countermarks may have some familiarity with the issues they are copying generally their knowledge is not as developed as an advanced collector/student and inevitably they get one or more aspects wrong which then is a marker for their handiwork. Numismatists must be vigilant and conduct a through investigation when a new variety makes it’s appearance in the marketplace. While legitimate contemporary material continues to be discovered, from time to time, the modern fabricator will use this route to their advantage in placing their modern material into the marketplace. The quality of modern fakes will undoubtedly improve, but I trust that ‘we’ shall be able to find that one little thing that they get wrong.

British Coins and their links to the West African slave trade – Graham Birch

The topic that I address in my blog piece is to ask the question: “In the light of the current anti-racism protests, should numismatists be concerned about the obvious slave trading associations of certain British coins in their collections?”.  I then go on to examine the origins of the metals which went into the “Elephant” and “Elephant & Castle” guineas (Royal African Company link) as well as the silver coins minted with SSC on the reverse (South Sea Company link). 

The 1943 East Africa Shilling – Gary Oddie

This article looks at the shilling coins issued by the East African Currency Board struck at various mints between 1921 and 1952, and especially the scarce 1943 pieces struck at the Bombay mint. The existence of contemporary counterfeits of the 1943I shillings confirms that the pieces circulated and also highlights the poor state of the circulating medium at the time.

Dominica to Trinidad – A Potential West Indies Re-attribution – K. V. Eckardt

An attribution is always sought for coins created to meet the needs of local circumstances when officially minted coins are not available.  Official documentation or contemporary accounts are often non-existent for the cut and countermarked coinage of the colonial West Indies.  In the absence of proper coinage from the home countries crude measures had to be employed to allow for day to day business transactions and for the local marketplace to function.  In many cases an attribution can be made from the countermark; for other more investigative work is needed.  The attribution of the cut countermarked coin examined in the following paper has been previously assigned to two different islands and in this case contemporary documentation has actually resulted in a misleading direction.  While the attribution now proposed cannot be taken as an absolute it has been arrived at on the basis of a detailed review of the published facts and a ‘reasonable scenario’ based on these facts.

An Unusual 1920G Shilling from West Africa – G. Oddie

In West Africa around 1920 the silver coinage was replaced by a tin-brass alloy. The contract for 4,000,000 shillings was given to J.R. Gaunt and Son Ltd. of Birmingham, however the company was unable to complete the work and only produced just 16,000 pieces. Surviving pieces are quite rare, and this brief article makes a few observations on some known examples. Click here to read the article