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Shipwreck carried money for slaves

I recently read that a large number of manilas were recovered from the wreck of the English schooner “Douro” during the 1970s. What was the function of a manila as money?


The “Douro” sank after hitting the Great Crebawethan rock off the isles of Scilly in 1843, the ship carrying thousands of bronze manilas manufactured in Birmingham, England, for use in purchasing slaves in West Africa. These bracelet-shaped 2.2-inch (across) pieces of odd and curious money functioned as tokens, each token purchasing one slave. They were manufactured between 1830 and 1850.

Is there a school where I can earn a degree in numismatics?

You can take classes at various coin conventions as well as the summer seminars held at American Numismatic Association headquarters. The ANA also offers a diploma in numismatics. College degrees in the United States are more challenging to find. Coin dealer Jonathan Kern has a Bachelor of Arts with a major in numismatics he earned in 1973 at the University of Kentucky. According to Kern, “80 percent of my independent study credit hours were devoted to my undergraduate thesis.”

Coin dealer Donald Kagin has a Ph.D. in numismatics. He describes his bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University as “an ad hoc major in numismatics.” According to his company website: “Graduate and post graduate studies at the Union Institute and University, Northwestern, Drake and Johns Hopkins Universities along with the American Numismatic Association, the American Numismatic Society and Smithsonian Institution earned Kagin the first doctorate in numismatics ever granted in the United States.”The University of Tuebingen in Germany and the University of Vienna in Austria offer numismatic degrees. Most numismatic museum curators have degrees in related humanities subjects.

Have private contractors ever struck U.S. coins?

The 1787 Fugio cents were struck by private contractors. Since that time there have been others who have proposed striking coins for the United States. However none of these proposals has ever been accepted.

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More Collecting Resources

• Are you a U.S. coin collector? Check out the 2017 U.S. Coin Digest for the most recent coin prices.

• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .