Coins Of The British Virgin Islands


coinsBVIA new book narrating the story of the British Virgin Islands coins of the 1800s and 1900s has been published by Laurel Publication International in 2011. The well-documented, ground-breaking work has a foreword by Michael O’Neal, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Island Resources Foundation. “Coins of the Virgin Islands” is a significant contribution to the memory bank of Virgin Islands history,” Dr. O’Neal said. The Author of “The Beautiful and Mysterious Coins of the British Virgin Islands” is BVI Philatelic Society president Dr. Giorgio Migliavacca. The findings of years of research on archive sources and lesser known published works are presented by the Author who has achieved a good balance between the historical background, the slavery issue and the numismatic focus. Migliavacca’s presentation of numismatic aspects is humanistic rather than strictly scientific and provides a much wider picture. In fact, the Author throws new light on the role of local coinage during the 1800s utilizing newly uncovered and significant archival material. Modern coins and Virgin Islands currencies from the 1800s to date are also examined. “This book goes beyond the numismatic side of the story and explores the socio-economic facets revealing important aspects that have not emerged before in history books. Virgin Islands coinage dates back to the early 1800s. On 3 February 1801, an Act was passed by the local Legislature to stamp, or countermark, silver and copper coins in order to create an insular coinage,” Migliavacca said. “In the Virgin Islands, slaves hoarded the local coins to buy their freedom, and emancipated blacks used “cut money” to buy estates, big and small. Even before emancipation, slaves, free blacks and Liberated Africans used Virgin Islands coins every day of the week. The local coinage was not a simple witness, it became part of unprecedented and unsuspected changes: from the abolition of slavery, to emancipation, to apprenticeship, to the dark, long and hopeless days of economic stagnation. “Cut money” became the key that opened the gate of true freedom, resulting in a sense of self reliance, autonomy, and security that still typifies the Virgin Islands of the third millennium,” said Dr. Migliavacca. Migliavacca’s narrative style makes easy reading and will prove of great interest to both coin collectors and persons interested in Virgin Islands and Caribbean history. The 52-page book is generously illustrated with well-chosen color photographs. Dr. Migliavacca is a member of the British Virgin Islands Stamp Advisory Committee since 1987. He has written articles for the ancient coins magazine Celator, and has contributed entries to the International Dictionary of Numismatics. AVAILABLE at