MADAGASCAR. Pattern Kirobo, 1891. Ravalona III (1883-1897). PCGS SP-62 BN.
Kingdom of Madagascar
Background – Madagascar is a large island off the southern East African coast, isolated by the sea for several million years. This has produced a unique array of mammals, along with half its birds and most of its plants being found here and nowhere else.
Madagascar’s central highlands were first inhabited between 200 BCE–300 CE by the island’s earliest settlers,the Vazimba. Linked to DNA evidence, a colony of about 30 women and an unknown quantity of men, everyone primarily of Indonesian descent, are believed to have landed on the island from southeastern Borneo to establish simple villages in the island’s dense forests. Modern Malagasy are genetically roughly a 50-50 mix of Indonesians and East Africans.
The Merina clan in the central highlands of Madagascar had lived in relative isolation from the rest of Madagascar for several centuries. In 1787 a king by the name Andrianampoinimerina used both diplomacy and force to unite all of Madagascar under his rule and by 1824 his clan had conquered nearly all the rest in Madagascar to form a single kingdom.
During the entire 19th century both the British and the French had economic and political designs on the Island state, and by 1896 French colonization succeeded in putting the island under “French protection”.
The Unique Pattern Coin
Talks commenced in 1889 between Madagascar ministers and Frenchman Alfred Riguad to design and produce coinage for the country, leading to the signing of a contract on December 22, 1890. The contract granted exclusive rights to Riguad by Madagascar’s Queen Ranavalona III to produce different types of coinage for the island nation.
The agreement stipulated that any proposed design needed to be submitted beforehand to the Madagascar government for approval. The contract was for the production of 2,000,000 pieces in silver.
Given the lack of silver to produce the coinage, and the government of Queen Ranavalona III’s disapproval of the Beaux-Arts effigy that was proposed, the coinage never saw production.
Here then, is the only know example of the proposed coinage, wonderfully preserved with traces of red remaining within the legends.
Well struck with the design fully imparted upon the planchet, this pattern demonstrated convincingly what the coinage would resemble once in production. It is entirely possible that this exact coin was the specimen which the government or perhaps even the queen herself inspected and then rejected.
Given that only one collection can house this UNIQUE coin, we expect keen competition among future potential stewards to acquire this great numismatic treasure.
Offered for sale on January 9th by Stacks Bowers in the NYINC sale as Lot #41215
Estimate: $12,500.00 – $15,000.00
PCGS SP-62 BN.
Pedigree: From the Collection of a Distinguished European Scholar.