ALGERIA, BONE, aluminum, 10 centimes, 1915


ALGERIA, BONE, 10 centimes, 1915, Obverse: CHAMBRE DE COMMERCE DE BONE 1915, Reverse: 10 in beaded circle, aluminum, 30mm, KM-Tn3, Unc

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Bone (‘Annaba in Arabic) is a port city in eastern Algeria near the Tunisian border. During World War I a local coin shortage induced the local (French) Chamber of Commerce to order tokens from France.

Algeria happens to be the biggest African (and Arab) country in terms of land area. Humans have been there since Paleolithc times. In ancient times the indigenous inhabitants started being known as Berbers. Phoenicians came from the east and created Carthage and other colonial cities. Then came the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs in several waves. the Ottoman Turks, the Spanish, and the French. Independent since 1962. The Republican government had some unstable characteristics, which tended to produce dissatisfaction in the popular mood. An Islamist rebellion broke out in 1991 and was ended by a ceasefire in 2002. Instability has continued.

Middle East is a funny kind of phrase. It “should” mean the “middle,” say, Egypt to Iran. But in common usage it means everything from Morocco in far northwest Africa all the way to Afghanistan. Right? I mean, if I talk about “the Levant,” or Jazira, you have to know something about geography. But if I say “Middle East” you’re going to have a picture in your head. Maybe Cairo, maybe Kabul, but you’ll have the reference.

By “Modern World Coins” we mean here, generally, the round, flat, shiny metal objects that people have used for money and still do. “Modern,” though, varies by location. There was some other way they were doing their economies, and then they switched over to “modern coins,” then they went toward paper money, now we’re all going toward digital, a future in which kids look at a coin and say “What’s that?” We’ll say: “We used to use those to buy things.” Kids will ask “How?” The main catalog reference is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, to which the KM numbers refer.