Thursday, January 10, 2008

Trader's Currency Token of the Magdalen Islands

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The Magdalen Islands had only one coin - a 1 Penny token issued in 1815 by Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin.

The obverse of the coin depicts a seal on an ice floe. It is inscribed 'MAGDALEN ISLAND TOKEN 1815'. The reverse of the coin depicts two gutted fish similar to that depicted on 1/2d. tokens from Prince Edward Island. The reverse inscription is 'SUCCESS TO THE FISHERIES', which refers to the fishing industry essential to the islands' economy.

This coin is very sought after by collectors of British Empire coins, not just those of Canada, as this piece is very rare.

After the American Revolution, the Magdalen Islands were granted to Sir Isaac Coffin, who only once visited his American possessions; this was in 1815. Before starting, he ordered a large number of these coins and a coining press from Sir Edward Thomason, of Birmington. These, he brought to the Islands, where the coins were distributed. It was originally intended to strike half-pennies also, but none were struck.

The Musé de la Mer in Amherst, Magdalen Islands has one or two of these coins on display. There is a photograph of one of the coins at the Council of Anglophone Magdalen Islanders or C.A.M.I. of Old Harry, Magdalen Islands.

1 comment:

dennis said...

Strangely, one of these tokens found its way to Rhode Island. The morning after a dream I had, in which my grandmother very visibly told me to visit a local coin shop and there I would find a surprise, I went to the shop and there found one of these tokens for sale for $10. I nearly fell off the chair when I saw it in the owner's stock book. Although it is rare indeed, and mine is quite worn with age, its sentimental value is of greater importance to me than its monetary value, as it is part of our family's history, having survived the Coffin regime.