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Sunday, 31 May 2015

190) Currency and Coinage of Barbados: Barbadian Dollars & Cents:

190) Currency and Coinage of Barbados: Barbadian Dollars & Cents:

For some other interesting posts on currencies of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, please visit the following links:

Since 1935, the Dollar is the Currency of Barbados subdivided into 100 cents. (Presently, the Barbadian dollar is symbolised as (“Bds$” or simply “$”).

Historical evolution of Currency and Coinage in Barbados:

Barbados was for a long time regarded as one of the Windward Islands but it is situated well to the East of the Archipelago.

In 1563, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to set foot on Barbados who also named the island Barbados.

In 1627, the island was settled by the British.

Queen Anne’s Proclamation of 1704, introduced the gold standard to the West Indies

Nevertheless, in the 17th and 18th centuries, throughout the Caribbean, extensive use was made of Spanish, French and British coins, cut into pieces and countermarked for local circulation.

Countermanded Spanish silver coins (1791–1799), and copper tokens having a tribal head on the obverse and Neptune, the God of the Seas (1788–1792) were in circulation.

Silver Pieces of Eight (Spanish dollars and later Mexican dollars continued to form the bulk of the circulating currency upto the second half of the nineteenth century.

In 1821, Britain adopted the Gold Standard.

In 1838, an Imperial Order-in-Council resulted in Barbados formally adopting the British sterling coinage in 1848. The circulating coinage, particularly, Spanish & Mexican were replaced by British coins later, which were the only legal tender to circulate in Barbados.

Notwithstanding this development, Spanish & Mexican Pieces of Eight continued to circulate alongside British coinage.

In 1873, the International silver crisis brought about an end to the era of silver dollars in the West Indies, as it was not economical for the Mint of Mexico and other Mexican Mints to mint silver dollars/pesos for use in foreign countries.

In 1879, the silver dollars were formally demonetised in Barbados leaving the British coinage as the only circulation currency.

Between 1938 and 1949, the Barbados Government issued paper money denominated in dollars in the denominations of 1, 2, 5, 20 and 100 dollars.

In 1949, the British West Indian Dollar was introduced and the Currency of Barbados was officially tied with those of the British Eastern Caribbean territories.

In 1955, a new decimal coinage was introduced, replacing the British Sterling coinage with the new cent being equal to one half of the old penny.

Coins of the British Caribbean Territories (Eastern Group) were in use from 1955 to 1973, when a distinctive Series of coins comprising 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents and $1 and $5 was circulated having the Coat of Arms of Barbados on the Obverse and landmarks, birds and fishes on the Reverse.

In 1965, the East Caribbean dollar replaced the British West Indies dollar in Barbados.

In 1966, Barbados gained its independence from the British, however, Queen Elizabeth remains its titular Head of State.

In May 1972, the Central Bank of Barbados was set up by an Act of Parliament and inter alia took over the functions of the East Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA), which was responsible for the management of monetary matters for most of the smaller Eastern Caribbean countries, including Barbados.

In 1973, the Barbados dollar replaced the East Caribbean dollar at par and the country introduced its own coinage struck in the denominations of 1 cent (bronze upto 1991, thereafter, from 1992, copper plated zinc), 5 cents (brass), 10 cents, 25 cents and $1 (cupro-nickel). Also the Central Bank of Barbados issued Banknotes in the denominations of 1, 2, 5, 20 and 100 dollars.

On the Obverse of all denominations of coins, is depicted the Barbados Coat of Arms and the year of minting.

On the Reverse of the One cent coin is an image of the Broken Trident and the words “one cent”.

The specifications of this coin are:

Diameter: 18.861 mm; Weight: 2.50 gms (previously 2.78 gms Thickness: 1.565 mm.

On the Reverse of the Five cents coin is depicted the South Point Lighthouse, (the oldest Lighthouse in Barbados) and the words “five cents”.

The specifications of this coin are:

Diameter: 20.975 mm; Weight: 3.46 gms (previously 3.75 gms).Thickness: 1.625 mm.

 The South Point Lighthouse:

The South Point Lighthouse is the oldest Lighthouse in Barbados. It was brought to Barbados in 1852, one year after being shown at London’s Great exhibition and reassembled on the southernmost point of the island.

Although still listed as active, the Lighthouse is now considered to be more of a National Landmark and tourist attraction.

In 2005, the South point Lighthouse was repainted and restored.

On the Reverse of the Ten cents coin is depicted the Tern, and the words “ten cents”.

The specifications of this coin are:

Diameter: 17.773 mm; Weight: 2.09 gms (previously 2.29 gms Thickness: 1.354 mm.

The Tern: The tern is also called the “Swallow of the Sea” and is one of the numerous seabirds that are found in Barbados. Although it is not indigenous to the island, several species of the bird, including the Whiskered Tern, White-winged Black tern and the European Black Tern are seen at several of Barbados’ nature reserves. In fact, Barbados was the first country in the Americas in which the whiskered Tern was observed.

Obverse of a 25 cents coin issued in 1973, which was the first time the Central Bank of Barbados issued its own coinage. This face shows the Barbados Coat of arms together with the year of issue 1973. Notice the broken trident shown on both sides of the Arms, the significance of which is explained under the section on Coat of Arms of Barbados.

Reverse of the 25 cents coin showing the year of issue as 1973. This coin is from among the first few issues by the Central Bank of Barbados.

On the Reverse of the Twenty five cents coin is depicted the Morgan Lewis Windmill, and the words “twenty five cents”.

The specifications of this coin are:

Diameter: 23.664 mm; Weight: 5.10 gms (previously 5.65 gms Thickness: 1.826 mm.

Morgan Lewis Windmill:

The Morgan Lewis Windmill is one of the only two functional Windmills in the Caribbean. It was built in 1727 and was in operation till 1945 when it was used to grind sugar-cane and could deliver up to 1500 gallons of cane juice to the boiling house every day.

After 1945, when the Mill stopped operating, it fell into disrepair and was at one time among the World’s most endangered heritage sites.

In 1996, the Barbados National Trust embarked on a Restoration Project and returned the Mill to its original working condition. Grinding is done at the Morgan Lewis Windmill every second Sunday between January and April and the Mill and its grounds are open for tours.

On the Reverse of the one dollar coin is depicted a Flying Fish, and the words “one dollar”. This coin is a seven-sided/heptagonal equilaterally-curved coin with a smooth edge. The current one-dollar coin was first issued on 05.04.1988. Since 2007, the $1 coin is minted on a plated steel planchet by the Royal Canadian Mint.

The specifications of this coin are:

Diameter: 25.85 mm; Weight: 5.95 gms (previously 6.32 gms Thickness: 1.65 mm.

The Flying Fish:

The Flying Fish is the National Fish of Barbados. Although famous for its ability to fly, a Flying Fish actually glides. It swims rapidly close to the surface of the water before leaping above it and spreading its fins. It uses its fins and the lower portion of its tail to propel itself at speeds in excess of 55 kilometres per hour for distances up to 100 metres.

Flying Fish were once extremely plentiful in Barbados, but due to migration and stock depletion, their numbers have declined. Nevertheless, they still account for a significant amount of the annual fish catch and are enjoyed as a Barbadian delicacy, including in Barbados’ National Dish: Flying Fish and Cou Cou.

Coat of Arms of Barbados:

In 1966, when Barbados gained its Independence the Coat of Arms of Barbados was conveyed through a Royal Warrant from Queen Elizabeth II who is the “titular” Head of the country.

The Arms comprises a golden shield which carries two “Pride of Barbados” flowers (the National flower of Barbados) and the Bearded Fig Tree (after which Barbados is named). The shield is supported by a Dolphin (which is symbolic of the fishing industry) and by a Pelican (symbolic of a small island called “Pelican Island” which existed off Barbados).

 Below the image is a lemniscate/scroll (ribbon) containing Barbados’ motto “Pride and Industry”.

Above the shield is a helmet and mantling. Further above is a hand of a Barbadian holding two crossed pieces of sugarcane (which is symbolic of the Barbados sugar industry). The cross formed by the two cane pieces is a reference to the cross on which St. Andrew was crucified. Barbados celebrates its Independence Day on 30th November, which is St. Andrews day.

National Flag of Barbados:

The National flag of Barbados contains three equal vertical panels, with the centre panel of gold and the outer flanking panels of ultramarine.

A Broken Trident in black is located in the centre.
Blue represents the Sea and Sky of Barbados, while gold represents the sands of the Island’s beaches.

The Broken Trident:

The Broken Trident is a prominent feature of Barbados’ National flag and a symbol of the Nation’s independence from Britain. It is derived from the Sea-God Neptune’s Trident, which was featured on the Seal of the Colony (now replaced by the Coat of Arms of Barbados). After Independence since 1966, the shaft of the Trident was broken to symbolise Barbados’ historical and constitutional break from Britain.

Evolution of Banknotes in Barbados:

Colonial Bank and Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas):

In 1882, the Colonial Bank brought out 5 dollar Banknotes for circulation in Barbados.

In 1920, the Colonial Bank added the denominations of 20 and 100 dollars to the circulating Banknotes.

In 1922, Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas) took over the Colonial Bank and began circulating Banknotes in the existing denominations of 5, 20 and 100 dollars.

In 1940, the printing of Banknotes in the denominations of 20 and 100 dollars was stopped.

In 1949, the printing of Banknotes of 5 dollar denomination stopped.

Royal Bank of Canada and the Canadian Bank of Commerce:

In 1909, the Royal Bank of Canada introduced Banknotes in the denominations of 5, 20 and 100 dollars.

From 1920, all Banknotes from this year onwards became double denominated Banknotes – i.e. denominated in Pound sterling as well as dollars to facilitate easy conversions by users.

Between 1922 and 1940, the Canadian Bank of Commerce also issued Banknotes in the denominations of 5, 20 and 100 dollars.

Between 1938 and 1949, the Barbados Government issued paper money denominated in dollars in the denominations of 1, 2, 5, 20 and 100 dollars. These Banknotes had the portrait of King George VI on the Front.

Between 1950 and 1973, Barbados shared a common currency with other Caribbean States.

On 03.12.1973, the Central Bank of Barbados circulated Banknotes in the denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 100 dollars. The 1 dollar Banknote was never issued thereafter. The $1 Banknote had Samuel Jackman Prescod on the Front.

All the Banknotes issued from 1922 to 1973 are called the “Legacy Barbadian Banknotes”. Prior to the formation of the Central Bank of Barbados in 1972, Barbados Currency was issued by various entities/organisations – Individual Commercial Banks, the Government of Barbados, British Caribbean Currency Board and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Board.

In 1980, 2 dollar Banknotes were introduced.

In 1989, 50 dollar Banknotes were introduced.

New Series of Banknotes (1997 to 1999):

A New Series of Banknotes was circulated featuring:

On the Front of these Banknotes, prominent Barbadians on the various denominations

- $2 Banknote (John Redman Bovell, colour of the Banknote: blue with red elements),

- $5 Banknote (Sir Frank Worrell, colour of the Banknote: green with brown elements),

- $10 Banknote (Charles Duncan O’Neal, colour of Banknote: reddish brown with green elements),

- $20 Banknote (Samuel Jackson Prescod, colour of the Banknote: mauve/purple with orange elements),

- $50 Banknote (Errol Walton Barrow, colour of the Banknote: orange with blue-green elements) and,

- $100 Banknote (Sir Grantley Adams, colour of Banknote: grey, blue and red).

On the Back of these Banknotes a common design featuring a vignette of the Parliament Buildings and the Careenage   was depicted.

2007 Series of Banknotes:

The Designs on these Banknotes were essentially the same as that of the previous 1997-1999 Series, but contained several upgraded security    features including Security thread, Foil Elements, UV Feature, Electrotype, upgraded paper, etc. The denominations of the banknotes were also the same as the previous series viz 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars.

Presently Circulating Banknotes:

All Banknotes in the denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars from the 1973 Series onwards are presently legal tender, in addition to the latest 2013 Series of Banknotes.

Common features on all the 2013 Series of Banknotes:

-      The Central Bank of Barbados has for the first time in almost forty years has issued redesigned Banknotes.

-      The 2013 Series of Banknotes Series with its bold, modern design and vibrant hues was launched on 02.05.2013.

-      This Series has also been issued in six denominations – 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 – as hitherto-before. The basic colours have also remained the same.

-      All the Banknotes have the same dimensions – 150 mm x 65 mm.

-      The theme of these Banknotes on the Front continues to be to honour outstanding Barbadians who had previously featured on Barbadian Banknotes. On the Back the images have been changed. The new vignettes are specific to the denominations of the Banknotes and are linked to the person whose portrait is featured on the Front.

-      To assist the visually challenged/impaired/otherwise enabled persons to differentiate between denominations, tactile marks have been included on the new Banknotes. The number of marks increases by one as the value of the banknote increases – thus the 2 dollar Banknote has one dot while there are six dots for the 100 dollars.

-      Upgraded and new security features to prevent/deter/make it more difficult for counterfeiters have been added.

-      A point to remember is that all the Banknotes issues from 1973 onwards continue to be legal tender.

-      Security & other Features on this Banknote:

-      Security features incorporated are being illustrated here with the example of how they feature on the Bds$2 Banknotes. Similar features have been incorporated in Banknotes of all denominations, with changes in the Watermark portrait, colour, denomination etc.

-      Portrait Watermark:  John Redman Bovell’s face appears on the left of the Banknote when it is held up to light. The image is also visible from the Back.

-      Number watermark: The number “2” appears beneath the portrait watermark when the Banknote is held up to light. The image is also visible from the Back.

-      Broken Trident: The white area of the Broken Trident becomes tinted with blue when the Banknote is held up to the light. When viewed from the Back, the missing areas of the broken Trident are filled in.

-      Wave-like thread: highly reflective bars that weave in and out of the paper become a complete line, when the Banknote is held up to light. The small text within the thread reads “CBB $2”.

-      Hidden number: The number “2” appears on the top right of the Banknote, when the Banknote is tilted at certain angles.

-      UV Reactive Ink: The Broken Trident and the Waves behind the map of Barbados glow under UV light.

-      Invisible Fibres: Invisible Fibres embedded in the paper glow blue-yellow-blue under UV light.

-      Assists for the visually challenged persons: A raised dot has been placed to assist the visually challenged persons. The number of dots is raised progressively as the denomination of the Banknote increases – i.e. two dots for $10 Banknotes and six dots for $100 Banknotes.

Individual Features of the 2013 series Banknotes:

The Front of the 2 Barbadian Dollar Banknote depicts an image of John Redman Bovell.

John Redman Bovell (1855-1928): was a scientist and agronomist and is credited with saving the sugar industry in Barbados.

In the 1880s, the sugar industry was threatened by competition from European countries (sugar beet), as well as, by the drought conditions and disease that were affecting the sugar cane crop in the West Indies. Bovell conducted experiments at his own expense on different varieties of cane, abandoning the Bourbon variety, which was the most commonly used one at the time and working with the White Transparent variety.

His genetic experiments established Barbados as the leading cane breeding Island in the Caribbean. In addition to his work with sugar-cane, he developed several strains of Sea Island cotton.

In 1908, he was awarded the Imperial Service Star for his contribution to tropical agriculture.

On the Back of the 2 Barbadian Dollar Banknote is shown the Morgan Lewis Windmill.

The Front of the 5 Barbadian Dollar Banknote depicts an image of Sir Frank Worrell.

Sir Frank Worrell (1924-1967): He was one of the legendary 3 Ws of the game of cricket along with Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Clyde Walcott. He is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest cricketers to ever play the game and was named the Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1954.

His contribution to the game went beyond his achievements on the field, both with the bat and ball. Prior to 1960, when he was appointed as Captain of the West Indian team, the position was held by white Captains only. He held this position till his retirement in 1963. He always stood for encouraging sportsmanship and curbing insularity in the cricket team.

After his retirement from cricket, he served as Warden of the University College of the West Indies and as a senator in Jamaica’s Parliament.

In 1964, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to the game of cricket.

He passed away on 13.03.1967 at the age of 42.

The Championship Trophy for the Cricket Series between the West Indies and Australia and one of the residences at the University of the West Indies are named in his honour.

On the Back of the 5 Barbadian Dollar Banknote is shown the 3 Ws Oval.

The 3 Ws Oval: This is a cricket facility located at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. This ground has been a part of the campus since the 1960s. Later it was renamed the “3 Ws Oval” after the three cricketing legends – Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Clyde Walcott, when the West Indies hosted the 2007 Cricket World Cup and several warm-up matches were played at the Oval. The 3Ws Oval is also home to the CLR James Cricket Research Centre, the Sagicor High Performance Centre and the West Indies Cricket Walk of Fame.

About the 3Ws: For a decade beginning 1948, Clyde Walcott, Everton Weekes and Frank Worrell formed one of the most respected and feared middle orders in International cricket. With their different but equally effective batting styles – Walcott was powerful, Weekes was aggressive and Worrell was elegant – they punished bowling attacks and in their 29 tests together scored 25 centuries, including four double centuries. Worrell also took 69 wickets at an average of 38.72 runs. Worrell was also the first Black captain of the West Indies side.
(Posted  on 14.06.2015: In 2009, the ICC Cricket Hall of  Fame Roll was inaugurated. All three "Ws" were automatic choices to be included among the 55 inaugural members of this distinguished all-time list of International Cricket players. With Wesley Hall being inducted into the list in June 2015, the total number of players in this illustrious list now stands at 80 with 18 players from the Caribbean).

The Front of the 10 Barbadian Dollar Banknote depicts an image of Charles Duncan O’Neal.

Charles Duncan O’Neal (1879-1936): He was a doctor and a member of the Privileged Class who agitated for the rights of the underprivileged. He fought against the racism that was rampant in the 1920s and 1930s, campaigned for improved conditions for women in the work-place and worked to obtain free education and dental care for children.

O’Neal founded the Democratic League, a grass-roots political party in 1924 and in 1926, he established the Working Men’s Association. He invested in a newspaper, “The Herald”, which he used to spread the message about the need for social reform and enfranchisement.

In 1932, he was elected to the house of assembly and used that forum to continue his struggle on behalf of workers and to work towards the abolition of child labour.

His work for the underprivileged laid the foundation upon which Sir Grantley Adams later built upon.

He passed away on 19.11.1936. The Charles O’Neal Bridge in Bridgetown is named in his honour and he is one of Barbados’ ten National Heroes named by the Barbados Government in 1998.

On the Back of the 10 Barbadian Dollar Banknote is shown the Charles Duncan O’Neal Bridge.

The Charles Duncan O’Neal Bridge: This Bridge is a bustling thoroughfare that stretches across the Careenage and connects the main area of Bridgetown to Bay Street and the South coast of the Island.

The Front of the 20 Barbadian Dollar Banknote depicts an image of Samuel Jackman Prescod.

Samuel Jackson Prescod (1806-1871): He was the son of a free-coloured woman and a wealthy land-owner. From an early age, he recognised the injustices faced by both the free-coloured and blacks in Barbados and sought to unite these groups and the poor whites against the ruling class. He gained the support of the people and formed the Liberal Party, a political organisation that fought for social justice for more than 25 years.

He used his position as a journalist and Editor to agitate for greater equality for blacks and free-coloureds and to provide a forum for the working class. He became the first non-white to sit in the House of Assembly as a Representative for the City of Bridgetown in 1843. During his tenure in Parliament, he led the Liberal Party, which functioned as an “unofficial” opposition. He quit parliament in 1860 and later assumed the office of Judge of the Assistant Court of Appeal.

He is one of Barbados’ ten National Heroes named by the Barbados Government in 1998.

On the Back of the 20 Barbadian Dollar Banknote is shown the Parliament Buildings.

The Parliament Buildings: The Parliament buildings are located in the capital – Bridgetown. The Barbados Parliament was set up in 1639 and is the third oldest in the Commonwealth and so predates the construction of the Parliament Buildings by more than 200 years, as these Buildings were constructed completed in 1874.

The Front of the 50 Barbadian Dollar Banknote depicts an image of Errol Walton Barrow.

Errol Walton Barrow (1920-1987): He was one of the most loved of all Barbadian statesmen and is called the “Father of Independence”.

A lawyer by profession, he joined the Barbados Labour party (BLP) in 1951 and immediately won a seat in the house of Assembly. In 1955, he formed his own Party – the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).

He contested the 1961 General elections and became Premier, which position he held until 1966. It was under his Premiership that Barbados achieved its Independence from the British. He became Barbados’s first Prime Minister in 1966 and was at the helm of affairs till 1976. He won the Elections a second time in 1986 and again became the Prime Minister.

He brought about many enduring social reforms and National services, viz, free education, National Insurance & Social Security, improved health services, improved school meal services & established the Cave hill Campus of the University of the West Indies & the Barbados community College, among others. He was also instrumental in launching the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA), which was the forerunner to CARICOM.

In 1967, he received the Head of state award for “Outstanding Service to the Country” from Lions International.

He passed away on 01.06.1987. His birthday – 21st January – is a National holiday and he is one of Barbados’ 10 National Heroes.

On the Back of the 50 Barbadian Dollar Banknote is shown the Independence Square.

The Independence Square: This is a civic space with fountains and an amphitheatre that overlooks the Careenage.  Above the Independence Square is a statue of Errol Walton Barrow.

The Front of the 100 Barbadian Dollar Banknote depicts an image of Sir Grantley Adams.

Sir Grantley Adams (1898-1971): He was a lawyer by profession and is regarded as a hero of the social revolution in Barbados. He represented the cause of the underprivileged & was reputed for his oratorical skills. He was instrumental in forming the Barbados Progressive League (now the Barbados Labour Party) in 1938 and the Barbados Worker’s Union in 1941.

He was involved in several social reforms for improving the lot of poor Barbadians viz., the Barbados Workmen’s Compensation Act, the Wages Board and Labour Department, Minimum Wage Legislation, Construction of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Universal Adult Suffrage among others.

In 1951, he became Barbados’ first Premier and held this post till 1958, when he became the Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation. In 1962, when the Federation was disbanded, he returned to Barbados and got re-elected to the House of Assembly, where he became the Leader of the Opposition.

He passed away on 28.11.1971. The Barbados Airport and a Secondary school are named in his honour.

He was named one of the ten National Heroes in 1998. The National Heroes Day is celebrated on his birthday.

On the Back of the 100 Barbadian Dollar Banknote is shown the Grantley Adams International Airport.

The Grantley Adams International Airport: This is Barbados’ only Airport. Originally, called Seawell Airport, it was renamed in honour of Sir Grantley Adams in 1976. The Airport underwent renovation & expansion between 2004 and 2006 and handles traffic of more than 2 million passengers daily.

Commemorative Coins:

Since 1975 Gold & Silver Commemorative Coins have also been issued.

In 1976, double dated Commemorative Coins were issued to celebrate the tenth Anniversary of Independence.

Some of the Commemorative coins issued are –

-      $10 Proof Coin (Year 1974, 1975 and 1980): Metal: .925 Sterling silver, Reverse design: King Neptune and his Trident.

-      CARIFESTA (Year: 1981): Objective: To commemorate Barbados’s selection as the host Nation for the 4th Caribbean Festival of Arts held in July 1981. Denomination: $25, Metal: .500 fine silver, Reverse design: Stylised depiction representing the Spirit of the Festival.

-      10th Anniversary of the Central Bank of Barbados (Year: 1982): Denomination: $10, Metal: .999 fine silver, Reverse design: The official Seal of the Central Bank of Barbados, the dolphin on the Reverse.

-      George Washington 250th Anniversary (Year: 1982): Objective: This coin was brought out to honour the First President of the USA on his 250th Birth Anniversary. Denomination: $250, Metal: .9000 gold; Reverse design: Portrait of George Washington and George Washington House (where he stayed during his visit to Barbados in 1851).

-      1983 $10 Proof Coin: (Year: 1983): Objective: This coin was redesigned for a Series commemorating the elements of Barbados’ Coat of Arms. Metal: .925 Sterling silver, Reverse design: The Pelican, which is the National bird of Barbados and is a prominent feature of Barbados’ Coat of Arms.

-      1984 $10 Proof Coin: (Year: 1984): Objective: This coin was redesigned for a Series commemorating the elements of Barbados’ Coat of Arms. Metal: .925 Sterling silver, Reverse design: Three dolphins. The dolphin is a prominent feature of Barbados’ Coat of Arms and symbolises the Island’s fishing industry.

-      United Nations Decade for women: (Year: 1985): Denomination: $25, Metal: .925 sterling silver, Reverse design: a woman teaching children about Barbados with the inscription “United Nations Decade for Women” and the official symbol.

-      350th Anniversary of the Parliament (Year: 1989): Denomination: $100, Metal: .9167 or 22 carat gold, Reverse design:  Barbados Parliament Buildings.

-      Barbados Buckle: (Year: 1991): Denomination: $50(gold), $10 (silver), Metal: .9167 or 22 carat gold, .925 Sterling silver respectively, Reverse design: Representation of the Barbadian Buckle. The design shows a mulatto slave being bowled to, with background details of a windmill, hut, and a Cabbage palm tree native to Barbados – all suggesting a Caribbean setting in Barbados.

The Barbados Buckle was found in 1979 in the Scottish Border country embedded in a shingle of the River Tweed and is believed to be the oldest known artefact depicting cricket outside the British Isles (1780 or thereabouts). Cricket was played in Barbados way before the first decade of 1800s.

-      The United Nations Global Conference: (Year:1994): Denomination:$50,  Metal: .9167 or 22 carat gold, Reverse design: The logo for the UN Global Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Island Countries/The aim of the Conference, featuring a strong protective hand embracing a small island homestead and a palm tree.

-      25th Anniversary of the Central Bank of Barbados: (Year: 1997): Denomination: $25, Metal: .999 fine silver, Reverse design: Logo of the Central Bank of Barbados – the dolphin.

-      50th Anniversary of the University of the West Indies: (Year: 1998): Denomination: $10, Metal: .925 Sterling silver, Reverse design: University of the West Indies logo and motto and the Anniversary double dates 1948-1998.

-      Millennium Coin: (Year: 1999-2000): Denomination: $5, Metal: .925 Sterling silver, Reverse design: Flames of a burning fire leaping through the year 2000, broken chain symbolising freedom from slavery, Neptune’s Trident symbolising people’s dependence on the bounty of the Sea, Shape: eight-sided/octagonal with dual date.

-      UNICEF Children of the World: (Year: 2001): Denomination: $5, Metal: .925 Sterling silver, reverse design: Boys and girls playing cricket, the most popular sport in Barbados against the backdrop of the Bridgetown Independence Arch.

-      375th Anniversary of the City of Bridgetown: (Year: 2003): Denomination: $50, Metal: .9167 or 22 carat gold, Reverse design: the Montefiore Fountain in Coleridge Street.

The Montefiore Fountain: was presented to the City by a Bridgetown businessman in the memory of his father who had died in 1854. The fountain was imported in 1865 and was originally erected in Beckwith Place, Lower Broad Street and moved to its present location in 1940. It is a fine example of Neo-Gothic decorative art.

The City of Bridgetown, the Capital of Barbados: was founded on 05.07.1628 by British settlers. Its name was derived from an American Indian bridge which spanned the waterway which was later called the “Constitution River”. In the early title deeds, Bridgetown was known as “The Indian Bridgetown”, or “The Indian Bridge” or just “The Bridge”. Bridgetown, located in the South-west of the Island on Carlisle Bay has since grown into Barbados’ chief port and commerce centre.

-      350th Anniversary of the Bridgetown Synagogue: (Year: 2004): Denomination: $50, Metal: .9167 or 22 carat gold, Reverse design: Rum Barrel in the centre with the initial “mt”, based on an 18th century coin minted by a Jewish merchant, John Tolanto).

-      3Ws of Cricket: (Year: 2007): Denomination: $50, Metal: .9167 or 22 carat gold, Reverse design: The 3 Ws relaxing on a cricket field.

-      Sir Garfield St. Auburn Sobers: (Year: 2007): Denomination: $50, Metal: .9167 or 22 carat gold, Reverse design: Sir Garfield Sobers playing a cover drive.

-      Sir Garfield St. Auburn Sobers: He was one of five Wisden Caribbean players of all time, having been nominated as the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1964 & also the fifth cricketer to be knighted for his contribution to the game of cricket. He began his Test career at the age of 17 and later as captain of the West Indies cricket team, he led the team in 39 consecutive Tests. At the time of his retirement, he was universally acknowledged as the World’s greatest All-rounder – taking 235 test wickets at an average of 34.03, scoring 8032 runs at an average of 57.78 with 26 centuries among them three consecutive centuries of which the first one was 365 not out, which remained a World Test Record for 36 years.

   (The Commemorative Coins list is only illustrative & not exhaustive).

(The Banknotes shown above are from the collection of Jayant Biswas. The 25 cents coin is from my collection. Banknotes and coin images scanned and article researched and written by Rajeev Prasad)


  1. Like reading a history book.Great writing.very informative.

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