Saint Helena is the second-oldest British settlement and is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha, lying in the South Atlantic Ocean in the west of south-western Africa and east of Rio de Janeiro. Its landscape is a contrast between rough volcanic scenery and the antiquated British lifestyle. In addition, it got its name from Saint Helena of Constantinople and was a significant sojourn for voyagers traversing to and from Europe, Asia, and Southern Africa.  

Map of Saint Helena | Source: Britannica

This remote tropical island is about 17 by 10 kilometers in size and is home to over 4,439 “Saints” people of European, African, and South and East Asian descent. As an isolated island, Saint Helena is known for its endemic wildlife and as the place where French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled.  

Early Saint Helena Banknotes

Although a British colony, St. Helena has long been issuing its own currency. The Saint Helena pound is the island’s official currency which is divided into 100 pence. It is also has the same rate and circulates alongside the British pound sterling. 

St. Helena 1 Pound | 1976 | P-6a | Source: Banknote World Educational

The Government of Saint Helena issued banknotes in 1 and 5 pounds in 1976. However in 1979, they decide to release 50 and 10 pence notes. In addition to the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, which is common in British territory banknotes, these paper bills also depict sailboats anchored in the harbor of the island’s capital Jamestown, and the coat of arms of the East India Company illustrating lions, flags, and a shield. In 1986, a 20-pound banknote begins to circulate, it features three sailboats in Jamestown harbor and also the picture of the monarch. 

St. Helena 20 Pounds | 2012 | P-13s | Source: Banknote World Educational

Another set of notes were introduced in 2004 in denominations of 10 and 20 pounds. These banknotes were printed by De La Rue and reflect the new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. Their reverse is redesigned in the same style as the other banknotes.  

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