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The Mombasa Rupee of British East Africa

02 Dec 2016  Fri

Once upon a time the ancient currency of India crossed the Indian borders and spread across many countries of Asia and Africa. The East African Protectorate adopted Rupee as a denomination on the coins issued by Imperial British East Africa Company.

In 1888 the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC) which was based in Bombay was given a charter by Queen Victoria to trade in East Africa. Indian commercial laws, the Stamp, Designs, Insolvency acts were adopted and the Indian Rupee was the East African currency until 1920.

When the sultan of Zanzibar ceded control over the port of Mombasa to British administration, the place became the chief mint of the British to mint British Indian rupees and fractions. Known as Mombasa rupees, these coins are remarkable. Made of 0.917 pure silver, the Mombasa Rupees weighed around 11.66 grams.

These hefty silver coins depict the symbol of the Imperial British East Africa Company - Crown above radiant sun with the motto LIGHT AND LIBERTY on the obverse along with the denomination of one rupee at the top and Mombasa at the bottom.

The reverse depicts a scale with Arabic letters in the centre with Imperial British East Africa Company written around it. The date is seen at centre bottom with H written above it. The H stands for Heaton - mint in Birmingham for Mombasa.

With Less than a hundred thousand were minted, these coins are somewhat rare.

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