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The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 8, February 18, 2001, Article 6


Bob Leonard writes:

"One point not made by Ben Keele in his excellent article--probably because it wasn't discussed in the sources he consulted--is that the Biafran circulating coins (but not the banknotes) plainly depict a manilla, the former bracelet money of this part of Nigeria, on the side with the palm tree. The shape is similar to that of the Onoudu pattern, though not exact (it is a little too open). Onoudu (onadoo) manillas were made circa 1825-1875, and apparently circulated as late as the mid-1920's. All remaining manillas were demonetized and withdrawn by the British in 1948 and 1949--only 20 years before the Biafran coinage of 1969. (See Sven-Olof Johansson, Nigerian Currencies, and my 1998 article, "Manillas -- Money of West Africa," for more information.)"

[Editor's note: the Johanasson book was reviewed in the April 1968 issue of The Numismatist (p455); According to Leonard, his article "was in the Chicago International Coin Fair giveaway of the Chicago Coin Club that year, and I haven't submitted it to anyone else for reprinting yet. I could of course send a copy to anyone interested. The Chicago Coin Club is out of the giveaways."

Mr. Leonard may be reached via email at this address:]

Wayne Homren, Editor

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