Saint Helena
 

 
               21 May 1502  Discovered and claimed for Portugal by Admiral
                             João da Nova.
               30 Jul 1503  Re-discovered.
        1513 - 1545         Fernão Lopez (Fernando Lopez), a Portuguese prisoner
                             on his way home, marooned himself on the Island.
               08 Jun 1588  Claimed for England by Thomas Cavendish.
 15 Apr 1633 - 1651         Claimed by the Dutch, but unsettled.
                      1657  (English) East India Company granted a charter to
                             settle St. Helena by Oliver Cromwell.
               05 May 1659  England takes possession of St. Helena
                             (under East India Company rule).
 01 Jan 1673 - 15 May 1673  Dutch occupation.
               16 Dec 1673  East India Company granted proprietary possession of
                             St. Helena.
               22 Oct 1815  Ascension annexed by Britain (a dependency of
                             St. Helena from 1922).
 15 Oct 1815 - 05 May 1821  Deposed Emperor Napoléon I exiled on St. Helena.
               14 Aug 1816  Tristan da Cunha annexed by Britain.
               28 Aug 1833  British crown of colony of Saint Helena
                             (effective 22 Apr 1834).
               12 Sep 1922  Ascension made a dependency of St. Helena.
               12 Jan 1938  Tristan da Cuhna, Gough (28 Mar), Inaccessible and
                             Nightingale islands made a dependency of St. Helena.
                      1945  Saint Helena and Dependencies
               25 May 2002  Voters reject adoption of ministerial form of
                             government in referendum 52.6% to 47.2%.
               01 Sep 2009  Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
                             Constitution Order
 

 
Saint Helena, named after Saint Helena of Constantinople, is an island of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha which also includes Ascension Island and the islands of Tristan da Cunha. Saint Helena measures about 16 by 8 kilometres (10 by 5 mi). The island was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502. It is one of the most isolated islands in the world. For centuries, it was an important stopover for ships sailing to Europe from Asia and South Africa. The British also used the island as a place of exile, most notably for Napoleon I, Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo and more than 5,000 Boer prisoners. Saint Helena is Britain's second oldest remaining colony (now termed overseas territory), after Bermuda. Capital: Jamestown (Fort St. John 1659-1665). Motto: "Loyal and Unshakeable".

The British Nationality Act 1981 reclassified Saint Helena and the other Crown colonies as British Dependent Territories. The islanders lost their status as "Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies" and thus lost the right of abode in Britain. For the next 20 years, many could find only low-paid work with the island government, and the only available overseas employment was on the Falkland Islands and Ascension Island. The Development and Economic Planning Department, which still operates, was formed in 1988 to contribute to raising the living standards of the people of Saint Helena. In 1989, Prince Andrew launched the replacement RMS St Helena to serve the island; the vessel was specially built for the Cardiff–Cape Town route and features a mixed cargo/passenger layout. The Saint Helena Constitution took effect in 1989 and provided that the island would be governed by a Governor and Commander-in-Chief, and an elected Executive and Legislative Council. In 2002, the British Overseas Territories Act restored full passports to the islanders, and renamed the Dependent Territories (including Saint Helena) the British Overseas Territories. In 2009, Saint Helena and its two territories received equal status under a new constitution, and the British Overseas Territory was renamed Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. In 2011, the UK government announced it would invest £200m in an airport on the island, which would benefit the British government in the long term, as £26m a year in aid would no longer be required. It is expected the airport will be up and running by 2015. The aims of the airport are to reduce prices of transportation of goods, increase tourism by more than 50 fold and to create new job opportunities. Flying to the island will only be available from South Africa, according to initial plans.
 
 
Monetary standard: Saint Helenian Pound (SHP) = 100 pence.
The Saint Helena pound (also called simply "pound") is the currency of the Atlantic islands of Saint Helena and Ascension, which are constituents of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. It is fixed at parity with the pound sterling and is subdivided into 100 pence. Tristan da Cunha, the third part of the territory, uses Pound sterling rather than the St Helena pound. However there are occasionally commemorative coins minted for the island. Initially, the British Pound Sterling circulated on Saint Helena, with the pound subdivided into 20 shillings, and each shilling into 12 pence. The first coins were first introduced in 1821, in which copper Half Pennies were issued for Saint Helena by the East India Trading Company and these were used for a majority of the Company's influence in the area. Prior to February 1961, the South African pound, which was then equal in value to sterling, was also accepted on the island, but this stopped with the introduction of the new decimal South African Rand, such that one rand was worth only ten shillings sterling. In 1976, the St. Helena government began issuing new, decimal denominated banknotes for use on the island, with the introduction of circulation coins intended for use on St. Helena as well as Ascension beginning in 1984 (1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 50p and 1 Pound). Beside commemorative coins issued on St. Helena and Ascension (from 1986), circulated coins are also reported to be produced in 1991, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2006. Prior to 1984, both Saint Helena (from 1973) and Ascension Island (from 1978) had issued non circulating commemorative coins separately but officially used British circulation coins. The St. Helena issued banknotes circulated alongside British coins and banknotes.
 

KM#A4 Half Penny (1/200 Pound). Year: 1821. Weight: 9.53g [9.40g]. Metal: Copper. Edge: Plain. Diameter: 29.00 mm. Alignment: Coin. Mint: N/A. Obverse: Date in the center. "ST. HELENA" written above and "HALF PENNY" below the Date. Wreath around the border. Reverse: East India Company Emblem in the center with "AUSP: REGIS & SENAT ANGLIÆ" written on the banner. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type.

Note: This coin also exits in Proof as KM#4a in Bronze and as KM#4b in Gilt Bronze with same weight and diameter.

 
Commemorative coins
 

KM#5 25 pence. Year: ND (1973). Weight: 28.14g [28.28g]. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Edge: Reeded. Diameter: 38.50 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: "ST. HELENA * TERCENTENARY" written on the upper part. Sailing ship in the center. Value "25 pence" written below the sailing ship. Year "1673" written on the left side of the value and "1973" on the right side. Reverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center with "ELIZABETH" written on the left side clockwise and "THE SECOND" on the right side clockwise. Mintage: 100,000. Minted Years: One year type. Subject: 300 years of British rule. Engravers: Arnold Machin (Elizabeth II's side) and Leslie Durbin (value side).

Note: This coin also exits in 0.9250 silver as KM#5a (Mintage: 10,000) with same weight and diameter.

KM#6 25 pence. Year: ND (1977). Weight: 28.37g [28.28g]. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Edge: Reeded. Diameter: 38.50 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: "ST. HELENA" written at the top. Aldabra giant tortoise in front of a government building, which is surrounded by tress and mountains. Value "TWENTY FIVE PENCE" written at the bottom. Reverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center with "QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND 1952-1977" written around her. Mintage: 100,000. Minted Years: One year type. Subject: 25th Anniversary (silver jubilee) of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Note: This coin also exits in 0.9250 silver as KM#6a (Mintage: 25,000) with same weight and diameter.

KM#8 25 pence. Year: 1980. Weight: 28.30g [28.28g]. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Edge: Reeded. Diameter: 38.50 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth, The Queen's Mother portrait in oval picture frame at the top. War ship with Jamestown in the background. "1980" year at the bottom. Reverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center with "QUEEN ELIZABETH II · ST. HELENA" written around her. Value "· 25 PENCE ·" at the bottom. Mintage: 100,000. Minted Years: One year type.

Note: This coin also exits in 0.9250 silver as KM#8a (Mintage: 25,000) with same weight and diameter. Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (04 August 1900 – 30 March 2002) was the wife of King George VI and the mother of Queen Elizabeth II. She was queen consort of the United Kingdom from her husband's accession in 1936 until his death in 1952, after which she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to avoid confusion with her daughter.

KM#9 25 pence. Year: ND (1981). Weight: 28.26g [28.28g]. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Edge: Reeded. Diameter: 38.50 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Prince Charles picture on the left side in an oval with Lady Diana's picture on the right side in an oval. Both facing each other. Above their pictures, part Saint Helena's Coat and Arms in an oval. Flower joining their pictures below. "CHARLES PRINCE OF WALES AND LADY DIANA SPENCER" written around them. Date of their marriage "· 29TH JULY 1981 ·" at the bottom. Reverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center with "QUEEN ELIZABETH II . ST. HELENA" written around her. Value "25 PENCE" at the bottom. Mintage: 50,000. Minted Years: One year type.

Note: This coin also exits in 0.9250 silver as KM#9a (Mintage: 30,000) with same weight and diameter.

KM#13 50 pence. Year: ND (1984). Weight: 28.18g [28.28g]. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Edge: Reeded. Diameter: 38.50 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Prince Andrew portrait in the center, facing left. "H.R.H. PRINCE ANDREW · ROYAL VISIT APRIL 1984" written around him. Reverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center with "QUEEN ELIZABETH II · ST. HELENA" written around her. Value "· 50 PENCE ·" at the bottom. Mintage: 125,000. Minted Years: One year type.

Note: This coin also exits in 0.9250 silver as KM#13a (Mintage: 5,000) with same weight and diameter.

 
Circulating coins of Saint Helena & Ascension
 
1984
Engravers: Michael Hibbit (value side) and Arnold Machin (Queen Elizabeth side).
 

KM#1 1 penny. Year: 1984. Weight: 3.56g. Metal: Bronze. Edge: Plain. Diameter: 20.32 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom. Reverse: Yellow Fin Tuna in the center. Value "1" and "ONE PENNY" at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type.
Note: Yellow Fin Tuna, which is abounds around the island and is the most popular eating fish. Many weight as 200-240 Pounds a piece.

KM#2 2 pence. Year: 1984. Weight: 7.13g. Metal: Bronze. Edge: Plain. Diameter: 25.91 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom. Reverse: Donkey carrying firewood in the center. Value "2" and "TWO PENCE" at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type.
Note: The Donkey has played an important role in the economy of St. Helena. Today they are still used by many to carry firewood and fodder in the country areas.

KM#3 5 pence. Year: 1984. Weight: 5.66g. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Edge: Reeded. Diameter: 23.60 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom. Reverse: Wirebird running left in the center. Value "5" and "FIVE PENCE" at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type.
Note: The Wirebird has been in St. Helena since it was first discovered. This distinctive bird is indigenous to St. Helena.

KM#4 10 pence. Year: 1984. Weight: 11.31g. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Edge: Reeded. Diameter: 28.50 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom. Reverse: Arum Lily in the center. Value "10" and "TEN PENCE" at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type.
Note: The Arum Lily which is St. Helena national emblem grows wild and is a common sight, known locally as Yam.

KM#5 50 pence. Year: 1984. Weight: 13.50g. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Edge: Plain. Diameter: 30.00 mm; 7-sided (heptagonal). Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom. Reverse: Green Turtle swimming towards right in the center. Value "50" and "FIFTY PENCE" at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type.

Note: For thousands of years, the Green Turtle has traveled to Ascension Island all the way from South American coast to lay its eggs. It is one of nature's mysteries, how the turtle is able to travel so far to find the same beach year after year.

KM#6 1 Pound. Year: 1984. Weight: 9.50g. Metal: Nickel-Brass. Edge: Reeded with incused lettering "COLONY OF ST. HELENA". Diameter: 22.50 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom. Reverse: Two Wideawake (Sooty Tern) flying left in the center. Value "ONE POUND" at the top left side. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type.
My coin has edge readable when Date (Queen Elizabeth II) side is on the top.

Note: Wideawake (sooty Tern) is called because of the sound of its call. The airfield on Ascension, which is important in the Falklands War, was named after this bird.

 
1991
 

KM#16 50 pence. Year: 1991. Weight: 13.53g [13.50g]. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Edge: Plain. Diameter: 30.00 mm; 7-sided (heptagonal). Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom. Reverse: Green Turtle swimming towards right in the center. Value "50" and "FIFTY PENCE" at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type.

Engravers: Michael Hibbit (value side) and Raphael David Maklouf (Queen Elizabeth side).

KM#17 1 Pound. Year: 1991. Weight: 9.47g [9.50g]. Metal: Nickel-Brass. Edge: Reeded with incused lettering "COLONY OF ST. HELENA". Diameter: 22.50 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom.
Reverse: Two Wideawake (Sooty Tern) flying left in the center. Value "ONE POUND" at the top left side. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: 1991, 2003 and 2006. Engravers: Michael Hibbit (value side) and Raphael David Maklouf (Queen Elizabeth side). My coin has edge readable when Value (Birds) side is on the top.

Note: Edge Lettering:- (1991, 2003): COLONY OF ST. HELENA and (2006, 2015): ST. HELENA ISLAND.

 
1997
 

KM#13a 1 penny. Year: 1997. Weight: 3.57g [3.56g]. Metal: Copper plated Steel. Edge: Plain. Diameter: 20.32 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom. Reverse: Yellow Fin Tuna in the center. Value "1" and "ONE PENNY" at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: 1997, 2003 and 2006.

Engravers: Michael Hibbit (value side) and Raphael David Maklouf (Queen Elizabeth side).

 
1998
 

KM#12a 2 pence. Year: 1998. Weight: 7.23g [7.13g]. Metal: Copper plated Steel. Edge: Plain. Diameter: 25.91 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom. Reverse: Donkey carrying firewood in the center. Value "2" and "TWO PENCE" at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: 1998, 2003 and 2006.
Engravers: Michael Hibbit (value side) and Raphael David Maklouf (Queen Elizabeth side).

KM#22 5 pence. Year: 1998. Weight: 3.25g [3.25g]. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Edge: Reeded. Diameter: 18.00 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom.
Reverse: "JONATHAN THE GIANT TORTOISE" written at the top. Tortoise in the center. Value "5" and "FIVE PENCE" at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: 1998, 2003 and 2006. Engravers: Robert Elderton (value side) and Raphael David Maklouf (Queen Elizabeth side).

KM#23 10 pence. Year: 1998. Weight: 6.58g [6.50g]. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Edge: Reeded. Diameter: 24.50 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom. Reverse: Two dolphins in the center. Value "10" and "TEN PENCE" at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: 1998, 2003 and 2006.
Engravers: Robert Elderton (value side) and Raphael David Maklouf (Queen Elizabeth side).

KM#21 20 Pence. Year: 1998. Weight: 5.07g [5.00g]. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Edge: Plain. Diameter: 21.40 mm; 7-sided (heptagonal). Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom. Reverse: "TWENTY PENCE" written at the top. Ebony flower in the center. Value "20" written at the bottom.  Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: 1998, 2003, 2006 and 2015.
Engravers: Robert Elderton (value side) and Raphael David Maklouf (Queen Elizabeth side).
 
2003
 

Same as KM#12a mentioned above, but...

Year: 2003. Weight: 7.15g [7.13g]. Mintage: N/A.

Same as KM#23 mentioned above, but...

Year: 2003. Weight: 6.55g [6.50g]. Mintage: N/A.

KM#27 50 pence. Year: 2003. Weight: 7.94g [8.00g]. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Edge: Plain. Diameter: 27.30 mm; 7-sided (heptagonal). Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom.
Reverse: Green Turtle swimming towards right in the center. Value "50" and "FIFTY PENCE" at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: 2003 and 2006. Engravers: Michael Hibbit (value side) and Raphael David Maklouf (Queen Elizabeth side).

Same as KM#17 mentioned above, but...

Year: 2003. Weight: 9.51g [9.50g]. Mintage: N/A. Edge Lettering: "COLONY OF ST. HELENA".

Note: My coin has edge readable when Date (Queen Elizabeth II) side is on the top.

 
2006
 

Same as KM#13a mentioned above, but...

Year: 2006. Weight: 3.52g [3.56g]. Mintage: N/A.

Same as KM#12a mentioned above, but...

Year: 2006. Weight: 7.15g [7.13g]. Mintage: N/A.

Same as KM#22 mentioned above, but...

Year: 2006. Weight: 3.30g [3.25g]. Mintage: N/A.

Same as KM#21 mentioned above, but...

Year: 2006. Weight: 5.02g [5.00g]. Mintage: N/A.

Same as KM#27 mentioned above, but...

Year: 2006. Weight: 8.10g [8.00g]. Mintage: N/A.

Same as KM#17 mentioned above, but...

Year: 2006. Weight: 9.64g [9.50g]. Mintage: N/A. Edge Lettering: "ST. HELENA ISLAND".

Note: My coin has edge readable when Date (Queen Elizabeth II) side is on the top.

 
2015
 

KM#22a 5 pence. Year: 2015. Weight: 3.24g [3.25g]. Metal: Copper Clad Steel. Edge: Reeded. Diameter: 18.00 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom.
Reverse: "JONATHAN THE GIANT TORTOISE" written at the top. Tortoise in the center. Value "5" and "FIVE PENCE" at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type. Engravers: Robert Elderton (value side) and Raphael David Maklouf (Queen Elizabeth side).

KM#23a 10 pence. Year: 2015. Weight: 6.48g [6.50g]. Metal: Copper Clad Steel. Edge: Reeded. Diameter: 24.50 mm. Alignment: Medal. Mint: British Royal Mint. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II portrait facing right in the center. "QUEEN ELIZABETH II ST. HELENA + ASCENSION" written around her. Year at the bottom. Reverse: Two dolphins in the center. Value "10" and "TEN PENCE" at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type.
Engravers: Robert Elderton (value side) and Raphael David Maklouf (Queen Elizabeth side).

Same as KM#21 mentioned above, but...

Year: 2015. Weight: 4.96g [5.00g]. Mintage: N/A.

Same as KM#17 mentioned above, but...

Year: 2015. Weight: 9.52g [9.50g]. Mintage: N/A. Edge Lettering: "ST. HELENA ISLAND".

Note: My coin has edge readable when Date (Queen Elizabeth II) side is on the top.

 
 
 
 

French Possessions on Saint Helena

 

 
 18 Mar 1858  British government cedes two sites on Saint Helena related to the
               forced stay of the deposed Emperor Napoléon I on the island -
               Longwood House (where he lived) and the Valley of the Tomb
               (where his was buried until 1840) - to France as French Possessions
               on Saint Helena (Domaines Français de Sainte-Hélène)
               (confirmed 07 May 1858).
 23 Jun 1940  Administrator loyal to the Free French to 1945.
 26 May 1959  Briars Pavilion (where the Emperor spent the first days of his
                stay on the island 17 Oct - 10 Dec 1815) added.
 
In 1815, the British government selected Saint Helena as the place of detention of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was brought to the island in October 1815; he stayed at the small Briars pavilion in the grounds of the Balcombe family's home until the building of his permanent home of Longwood was completed, where he died on 05 May 1821. During this period, Saint Helena remained in the East India Company’s possession, but the British government met additional costs arising from guarding Napoleon. The island was strongly garrisoned with British troops, and naval ships circled the island. In 1858, the French emperor Napoleon III successfully gained the possession, in the name of the French government, of Longwood House and the lands around it, last residence of Napoleon I (who died there in 1821). It is still French property, administered by a French representative and under the authority of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Capital: Longwood House.
 
Longwood House, Saint Helena. Site of Napoleon's captivity 1815-1821. Above photo taken in June 1970.
 
 
Countries / Territories
 
Chiefa Coins