1/2 Piastre, Issued by, Cyprus, 1879
Minted by Royal Mint, London

Obverse Description

Head of Queen Victoria facing left wearing coronet which is ornamented with oak leaves and acorns; around, VICTORIA QUEEN 1879

Reverse Description

At centre within beaded circle, 1/2 around, CYPRUS . HALF PIASTRE .

Edge Description



Government of Cyprus was ceded by the Ottoman Empire to Britain by the Anglo-Turkish Convention of 4 June 1878 by which Turkey received an annual payment equal to what it would have received in taxation. The coinage of the island was based on the Turkish copper piastre and the British elected to continue this system, introducing bronze coins of 1 piastre , 1/2 piastre and 1/4 piarstre in 1879. All coins featured a head of Queen Victoria.

This bronzed proof is from the collection formed at the Sydney Mint and isbelieved to have been part of their display at the Sydney International Exhibition 1879-1880. When the Mint was closed in 1926 this was one of many coins purchased by the prominent Melbourne collector Dr. William Howat with the intention of placing them in the State collection. He donated it to the National Gallery of Victoria in 1926 and it was transferred to Museum Victoria ( then the Science Museum of Victoria) in 1976.

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