DJIBOUTI, FRENCH SOMALILAND, 2 francs, 1959, aluminum, KM9, Unc

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Djibouti is a port city at the base of the Horn of Africa, at the choke point of the Red Sea. It is hyper-strategic. The USA has a “permanent” base there. It was Puntland in ancient times. The Egyptians used to go there for ivory, gold, and slaves. A succession of native states emerged before the Ottoman Turks took it over to keep the Persians from getting it. The French took it over as part of their Suez Canal project, and stayed, playing their strategic and colonial games, until 1977.

It has been habitual, on the collecting side of numismatics, for “Africa” to exclude the Mediterranean coastal states, which are typically lumped in with the other Arab states in the category “Middle East.” Generally speaking, there was a colonial period and an independent period.

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.