Coins, Currency, and Commemorative Medals

Swedish Plate Money
Swedish Plate Money

Swedish Plate Money, Copper Coins



Sweden issued copper "plate money" as legal tender from 1644 to 1777. The money was very unpopular because of its weight. On March 3, 1719, the Swedish central banker who was blamed for the plate coinage was beheaded.

Manilla, or "Slave Trade Money"

Bronze Coin

West Africa


The use of the manilla as an exchange medium might date back to the ancient Phoenicians who traded on the West African coast hundreds of years B.C. European traders arrived in the late 1400s and found they could use the manilla to buy slaves. The British outlawed the manilla in 1902, but its use continued until 1949.

Manilla slave trade currency

Katanga Cross, African currency

Katanga Cross, Copper Coin

Belgian Congo, Africa
Early 20th Century

The sand-cast Katanga Cross was valuable coinage in the Belgian Congo during the 19th and early 20th centuries. One cross weighs about 2 pounds. When the Congo issued standard sized coins in 1961, the coins featured an image of a Katanga Cross. Today Belgian Congo is called Zaire.

Fractional Currency

United States

The government of the United States issued fractional currency notes from August 21, 1862, through February 15, 1876. Hoarding of gold, silver, and copper coins led to the use of paper "coins" during the Civil War.

.25 cents fractional currency

Great Seal of the Confederate States of America

Great Seal of the Confederate States of America

Circa 1870

The original Great Seal was engraved in 1864 in London, England. It was the symbolic emblem of Confederate sovereignty. In 1874, the same British engraver certified this reproduction "to be a faithful reproduction of the identical Seal engraved in 1864."

Currency, Confederate Fifty Dollar Bill

Richmond, Virginia, USA

This Confederate fifty-dollar bill features the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis.

Confederate U.S. Fifty dollar currency

Commonwealth of Virginia Confederate currency

Currency, One Dollar, Virginia Treasury Note

Commonwealth of Virginia, USA

In 1861, during the American Civil War, the Commonwealth of Virginia withdrew from the Union and began printing its own money in support of the Confederacy. Serial no. 47199.

Spade-Shape Chinese Coin

Non-precious "base" metals

China Spade money was first issued in the Shantung Peninsula and south of the Yellow River Valley around 600 B.C. 

Chinese spade currency

Chinese knife currency

Knife Coins

Non-precious "base" metals

The shape of spades and swords inspired the shapes of ancient Chinese coins. Archaeologists found Chinese "knife money" from the Yellow River Valley dating to 500 B.C. This is one of the earliest known coins on the Eurasian continent. Eurasia comprises the traditional continents of Europe and Asia.

Chinese Coins (Copper Coins)

Date unknown

This collection might be a remnant of a Chinese coin sword of the Quianlong Dynasty (1736-1793).

Chinese copper coins

Chinese coin

Chinese Coin


This coin is believed to be a Ta Kuan T'ung Pao coin from the Northern Sung Dynasty (960-1127 A.D.).

Bronze Medal

Portland, Oregon

This medal is a commemorative medallion from the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, held in Portland, Oregon.

Lewis & Clark Centennial bronze medal

Centennial of the Louisiana Purchase souvenir

Bronze Commemorative Medallion

U.S. Mint, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
St. Louis, Missouri, USA

A celebration of the Centennial of the Louisiana Purchase, the largest land acquisition of the United States, took place at the World's Fair of 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri. In memory of this event, 39,158 bronze medals were given out: 33,158 as prizes and 6,000 as souvenirs.

Bronze Commemorative Medallion

World's Columbian Exposition

This medallion commemorates the 400th anniversary of the landing of Columbus.

World's Columbian Exposition medal

Teddy Roosevelt inaugration medal

Copper and Zinc Commemorative Medallion


This medallion commemorates Theodore Roosevelt's presidential inauguration.

Bronze Commemorative Medallion


This medallion commemorates the presidential inauguration of John F. Kennedy.

JFK medal

Oregon Trail medal

Bronze Commemorative Medallion

Oregon Trail Celebration
United States of America

R.F. Wade Company, of Portland, Oregon, made this medallion as a souvenir for the 1865-1965 "Old Oregon Trail" commemoration.