Manilla, Nigeria

Manilla, Nigeria

Usage conditions apply
Manillas were regularly used in exchange in West Africa, especially along the coast of modern-day Nigeria, from at least the fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Cast from various metals, including copper, brass, and iron, they are crescent-shaped and resemble an open bracelet. They were produced by Portuguese, British, Dutch, and French merchants specifically for trade in West Africa. Manillas were used in everyday purchases at markets. They were also a central currency of the transatlantic slave trade.
Currently not on view
Object Name
alternative currency
Manilla, Copper
Other Terms
Manilla, Copper; Africa; Gold Coast, Lower Nigeria
place used
Physical Description
copper (overall material)
brown/gold (overall color)
green patination (overall color)
cast (overall production method/technique)
overall: 6.2 cm x 6.39 cm x 2.3 cm; 2 7/16 in x 2 17/32 in x 29/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
The Chase Manhattan Bank
See more items in
Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection
West African Currency
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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