The Info List - Saint Helena Pound

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The Saint Helena
Saint Helena
pound is the currency of the Atlantic
islands of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
and Ascension, which are constituent parts of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. It is fixed at parity with the pound sterling and as such both currencies are commonly accepted and circulated. It is subdivided into 100 pence. Tristan da Cunha, the third part of the territory, officially adopted the Pound sterling. However, there are occasionally commemorative coins minted for the island.[1]


1 History 2 Coins 3 Banknotes 4 Exchange rates 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

History[edit] Initially, the British pound
British pound
sterling circulated on Saint Helena, with the pound subdivided into 20 shillings, and each shilling into 12 pence. This was supplemented by occasional local issues of paper currencies. One coin, a copper halfpenny, was also struck specifically for use in the islands in 1821, which intermingled with British coinage. The notes were denominated in pounds and shillings and valued to the British pound
British pound
at par. Prior to February 1961, the South African pound, which was then equal in value to sterling, was also accepted on the island, but this stopped with the introduction of the new decimal South African rand, such that one rand was worth only ten shillings sterling. In 1976, the St. Helena government began issuing new, decimal denominated banknotes for use on the island, with the introduction of circulation coins intended for use on St. Helena as well as Ascension beginning in 1984. The use of these coins and notes was extended from St. Helena and Ascension island later on to Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
as well. For a more general history of currency in the South Atlantic
region, see The Sterling Currency
in the South Atlantic
and the Antarctic. Coins[edit] The first coins were introduced in 1821, in which copper half pennies were issued for Saint Helena
Saint Helena
by the East India Trading Company
East India Trading Company
and these were used for a majority of the Company's influence in the area. During this period the island was also used as a penal ground for high-ranking political prisoners, including Napoleon Bonaparte. Circulating coinage for St. Helena would not be issued again for another 163 years, in 1984. Prior to 1984, both Saint Helena
Saint Helena
and Ascension Island
Ascension Island
had issued non-circulating commemorative coins but officially used British circulation coins. The St. Helena issued banknotes circulated alongside British coins and banknotes. In 1984, circulation coins were first introduced in the names of St. Helena and Ascension in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 50 pence and 1 pound. The coin series was designed by engraiver and coin designer Michael Hibbit. All of the coins are the same size and composition as the corresponding British coins and valued with the British pound
British pound
at par. Each coin depicts flora and fauna unique to the islands. Both the coins and notes of St. Helena and Ascension are also in use on the Island of Tristan Da Cunha, along with British coins and notes. It is not included on the series by name as the Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
chain was originally not politically incorporated into the St. Helena and Ascension Colony at the time of the currency's official release. Later issues have also yet to include Tristan da Cunha's name as an incorporated territory. Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
still considers the British pound as its official currency. There are also non-circulating commemoratives and unofficial coin issues separately under the name of Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
as well as the uninhabited Gough Island
Gough Island
but are not recognised tender. Queen Elizabeth's effigy was redesigned on most of the denominations in 1991, followed by the rest in 1998. Seven sided 20 pence coins were also first introduced in 1998, and older 5 and 10 pence were replaced by downsized issues featuring new animal designs that same year. However, the 50 pence was not actually downsized until 2003. Until that time the original, larger sized 50 pence continued to circulate before being phased out. In 2002, nickel-brass 2-pound coins were introduced to replace the note, and bimetallic 2-pound coins were also first introduced to the islands the following year. The edge inscriptions of the 2-pound coins are (in capitals) "500th Anniversary" for the 2002 coin and "Loyal and Faithful" for the 2003 coin. All circulation coins have on the obverse side a portrait of the head of Queen Elizabeth II, "Queen Elizabeth II", "St. Helena • Ascension" and the year written. Many of the commemorative coins over the years however only have written either "St. Helena" or "Ascension Island". Some of the coin reverse designs have changed since 1984. The five pence pieces issued prior to 1998 showed the Saint Helena
Saint Helena
plover (the "wirebird", which is the national bird of St Helena), whilst the ten pence coins issued prior to 1998 showed orchids. The following table shows the current designs:

Depiction of St Helena and Ascension coinage (reverse side)

£0.01 £0.02 £0.05

Tuna Donkey
with firewood "Jonathan" the giant tortoise

£0.10 £0.20 £0.50

Dolphin Ebony Green sea turtle

£1.00 £2.00

Sooty tern Coat of arms of Saint Helena  

Banknotes[edit] St. Helena has had a very long history of its own currencies which have come and gone over extended up and down economic periods, especially in comparison to other British colonies. From 1716, the Governor and Council of the Island of St Helena issued notes for 2½ and 5 shillings and 1 and 2 pounds. These were issued up until the late 18th century. The next issue of notes occurred sometime after 1917. It was produced by the St Helena Currency
Board in denominations of 5, 20 and 40 shillings. In 1976, the currency board of the Government of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
began issuing 1- and 5-pound notes, followed by 50-pence and 10-pound notes in 1979.[2] The 50 pence and 1 pound notes were withdrawn and replaced by coinciding coins in 1984, with 20-pound notes first being introduced in 1986. A redesign of the 5-pound note was introduced in 1988. In 2004, a new series of 5, 10, and 20-pound notes was introduced featuring a redesign and newer security features, produced by De La Rue Banknote and Engraving Company. At the issuance of this new series, the 1-pound note was discontinued and withdrawn from circulation. Exchange rates[edit] The latest exchange rates are published by the Bank of St Helena. Indicative rates for other currencies can be obtained as follows:

Current SHP exchange rates






See also[edit]

Bank of St Helena Economy of Saint Helena

References[edit] Notes

^ Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
Coins ^ Linzmayer, Owen (2012). "Saint Helena". The Banknote Book. San Francisco, CA: www.BanknoteNews.com. 


Krause, Chester L.; Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0873411501.  Pick, Albert (1994). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: General Issues. Colin R. Bruce II and Neil Shafer (editors) (7th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-207-9. 

External links[edit]

Numismondo St Helena banknotes (historic and current)

v t e

Banknotes of the pound sterling

England and Wales

Bank of England


£5 £10 £20 £50


10/- £1


Bank of Scotland

£5 £10 £20 £50 £100

The Royal Bank of Scotland

£1 £5 £10 £20 £50 £100

Clydesdale Bank

£5 £10 £20 £50 £100

Northern Ireland

Bank of Ireland

£5 £10 £20 £50 £100

Danske Bank/Northern Bank


£10 £20


£5 £50 £100

First Trust Bank

£10 £20 £50 £100

Ulster Bank

£5 £10 £20 £50 £100

British Crown Dependencies

Guernsey pound Jersey pound Manx pound

British Overseas Territories (at parity with Sterling)

Gibraltar pound Falkland Islands pound Saint Helena
Saint Helena

See also

Pound sterling Coins of the pound sterling Economy of the United Kingdom Sterling area

v t e

Currencies of Africa


Algerian dinar Egyptian pound Euro

Plazas de soberanía

Libyan dinar Mauritanian ouguiya Moroccan dirham Sahrawi peseta
Sahrawi peseta
(unrecognized) Sudanese pound Tunisian dinar


Angolan kwanza Burundian franc Central African CFA franc

Cameroon Central African Republic Chad Republic of the Congo Equatorial Guinea Gabon

Congolese franc Rwandan franc


Comorian franc Djiboutian franc Eritrean nakfa Ethiopian birr Kenyan shilling Seychellois rupee Somali shilling Somaliland shilling
Somaliland shilling
(unrecognized) South Sudanese pound Tanzanian shilling Ugandan shilling


Botswana pula British pound
British pound

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Zimbabwe


French Southern and Antarctic Lands Mayotte Réunion Zimbabwe

loti Malagasy ariary Malawian kwacha Mauritian rupee Mozambican metical Namibian dollar Saint Helena
Saint Helena
pound South African rand

Lesotho Namibia Swaziland Zimbabwe

Swazi lilangeni U.S. dollar


Zambian kwacha Zimbabwean dollar
Zimbabwean dollar
(defunct due to hyperinflation since April 2009) Zimbabwean bond coins
Zimbabwean bond coins
(since 18 December 2014 - denominated in U.S. Cents) Zimbabwean bond notes
Zimbabwean bond notes
(since 28 November 2016 - denominated in U.S. Dollars)


Cape Verdean escudo Euro

Canary Islands Madeira

Gambian dalasi Ghanaian cedi Guinean franc Liberian dollar Nigerian naira São Tomé and Príncipe dobra Sierra Leonean leone West African CFA franc

Benin Burkina Faso Guinea-Bissau Ivory Coast Mali Niger Senegal Togo

v t e

Currencies named pound or similar


Pound sterling: (Alderney pound • Falkland Islands pound • Gibraltar pound • Guernsey pound • Jersey pound • Manx pound • Saint Helena
Saint Helena
pound) Egyptian pound Lebanese pound South Sudanese pound Sudanese pound Syrian pound Turkish lira

Local alternative currency

Bristol Pound Brixton Pound Lewes Pound Stroud Pound Totnes Pound


Anglo-Saxon pound Australian pound Bahamian pound Bermudian pound Biafran pound British West African pound Canadian pound Connecticut pound Cypriot pound Delaware pound Fijian pound French livre:(Livre parisis • Livre tournois) French colonial livre: ( Guadeloupe livre  • Haitian livre • New France livre • Saint Lucia livre) Gambian pound Georgia pound Ghanaian pound Irish pound Israeli pound Jamaican pound Japanese government-issued Oceanian Pound Libyan pound Lombardo-Venetian pound Luccan pound Luxembourgish livre Malawian pound Maltese pound Maltese lira Maryland pound Massachusetts pound New Brunswick pound New Guinean pound New Hampshire pound New Jersey pound New York pound New Zealand pound Newfoundland pound Nigerian pound North Carolina pound Nova Scotian pound Oceanian pound Ottoman lira Palestine pound Papal lira Parman lira Pennsylvania pound Pound Scots Prince Edward Island pound Rhode Island pound Rhodesian pound Rhodesia and Nyasaland pound Sammarinese lira Sardinian lira Solomon Islands pound South Carolina pound Southern Rhodesian pound South African pound South African Republic pound South West African pound Tongan pound Tuscan pound Vatican lira Virginia pound West Indian pound Western Samoan pound Zambian pound

See also

Dinar Pound sig