Tristan da Cunha Coins
This page outlines the history of Tristan's coinage and describes the commemorative coins that have been produced for sale.
tristandc.com has been made aware of various false allegations
circulating world-wide on 'blogging' sites and elsewhere
discrediting bona fide commemorative coins being offered for sale.
This coins page, first published on 25th July 2006:
outlines the history of Tristan's coinage;
describes the commemorative coins that have been produced for sale;
and provides links to approved dealers
so that friends of the Tristan Community can buy with confidence
Tristan da Cunha Commemorative Coins
Administrator Mike Hentley
outlines the background to the island's 21st Century coins which are now available for sale
 
Tristan is one of the few UK Overseas Territories not to have it's own currency.  In the old days no-one needed money - goods and services were exchanged by barter trade.  Even when the Island was garrisoned by British Forces during World War II, the common 'currency' was cigarettes or potatoes.  With the establishment of the Fish Factory and an import/export trade with South Africa in the early 1950s, Rand notes and coins were used.  However, when Tristan was resettled in 1963 after the exodus caused by the 1961 volcanic eruption, the returning Islanders brought back with them the money saved during their stay in the UK.  Thus, pound sterling notes & coins entered circulation, and are today long established as the official currency (although visitors to the Island may also pay in Rand, US Dollars and Euro, which is converted at the prevailing rates of exchange).
Tristan does, however, have a Commemorative Coins Ordinance which enables the Governor (with the prior approval of the British Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs) to 'cause coins to be made and issued to commemorate notable events of importance to Tristan'.  Coins made and issued under the provisions of this law are, in fact, legal tender on the Island (not that they would ever be used as such because their collectible or metal value is likely to exceed their face value).
The Ordinance has been used from time to time.  But design and production costs, when combined with the logistical challenges of bringing the commemorative coins to the Island for distribution and sale, resulted in a net loss of revenue for the Tristan Government which, after the economic decline in the mid 1990's, was unable to afford to produce further issues.
A change for the better happened in  November 2004 when, with the approval of the Governor and the Secretary of State, the Tristan Government entered into a five year agreement with the Commonwealth Mint & Philatelic Bureau Ltd (formerly known as London Mint Ltd).  This innovative partnership enables Tristan to select and approve designs for proposed issues, with the company arranging production and distribution to collectors via established dealerships worldwide.  Production costs are met by the income from sales and, in addition, the Government receives a royalty on each coin sold.  This provides a welcome revenue stream in addition to traditional income from the fisheries sector, a modest amount of tourism, and sales of stamps and souvenirs; and helps to finance the provision of essential government services such as Camogli Hospital and St Mary's School. 
List of Official Coins (Photographic images will be added to the page soon)
The Island Council, via it's Stamps & Coins sub-committee has to date recommended the following commemorative coin issues which have subsequently received approval under the terms of the Ordinance:
January 2005:   
200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar - a set of £1 and £5 gold coins, and 25p silver and bronze coins.

March 2005:      
60th Anniversary of VE Day(i) - a set of four silver and four bronze 25p coins, plus gold 25p and 50p coins.
60th Anniversary of VE Day(ii) - a set of silver and bronze 60p coins.
60th Anniversary of VE Day(iii) - a set of silver and bronze 25p coins, plus gold 25p and 50p coins (issued in the Gough Island series).
60th Anniversary of VE Day(iv) - a set of silver and bronze 25p coins, plus gold 25p and 50p coins ( in the Nightingale Island series).

March 2005:    
The life of Pope John Paul II - a set of £1 and £5 gold coins, and 25p silver and bronze 25p coins.
March 2005:   
The life of HM Queen Mother - a set of five bronze, five silver and five gold 25p coins (issued in the Nightingale Island series).
March 2005:   
Royal Wedding(i) - a set of £1 and £5 gold coins, and 25p silver and bronze coins.
July 2005:      
'Friends of the Sea' - Dolphins - a 25p gold coin.
September 2005: 
Royal Wedding(ii) - a set of five silver and five brass 25p coins (issued in the Nightingale Island series).
September 2005: 
US Privateers - a set of two silver and one brass 25p coins, plus gold 25p and £1 coins.
January 2006:   
HM Queen's 80th Birthday(i) - a set of silver and bronze £5 coins.
HM Queen's 80th Birthday(ii) - a set of silver, bronze and gold £5 coins
HM Queen's 80th Birthday(iii) - a set of silver, bronze and gold 25p coins (issued in the Nightingale Island series).
Next Issue ? :
The Island Council sub-committee are currently considering designs for a coin commemorating St Christopher - patron saint of travellers.
How to order
Tristan da Cunha Commemorative Coins are available through licensed dealers world-wide.
A link to approved dealers will appear here soon.