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Saint Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. It was named after Saint Helena of Constantinople. It is one of the most remote islands in the world, and was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502.
The East India Company initiated this coinage with an order to the Soho Mint, Birmingham on 27 March 1821. At that time the Island of St. Helena was the prison of Napoleon Bonaparte. The coins were needed not so much for the people of the island as for the large force of British soldiers acting as guards. Napoleon died on 5 May 1821, the coins shipped on 5 June in 44 casks weighing over 6 tons. Most were not needed but were held, still in the casks until 1831 when over 5 tons were shipped back to England and sold as copper back to the Soho Mint. Circulating coinage for St. Helena would not be issued again for another 163 years, in 1984.
Depicts the coat of arms (1698) of the British East India Company: small British escutcheon (arms of France and England quarterly) upper-right on St George's Cross, with crest of helmet on which a lion rampant holding an imperial crown; two lions rampant as supporters each with a banner and inner foot on globe; below, incuse on ribbon, motto 'Auspicio regis et senatus angliæ' (Latin: Under the auspices of the King and the Senate of England).
AUSP: REGIS & SENAT ANGLIÆ
A year inside circular text: (top) colony name and (bottom) value surrounded by a mirrored wreath of 2 olive branches.