KIRIBATI proof set 1979


KIRIBATI, proof set, 1979, KM39, small frayed spot at a fold of the sleeve, also a mark where an adhesive price label was removed, coins are perfect

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The coins of Kiribati are more ceremonial than use-based. Australian money is used in day to day commerce.

Kiribati (pronounced Kiribats locally) is 33 islands in the central Pacific. Total land area is 313 square miles spread out over 1.3 million square miles of ocean. People were living there by 3000 BC. Different ethnic strains intermarried, various political systems obtained at various times. Europeans started bothering the islands in the 19th century, including a type of slave raiding. The British set up a Protectorate at the end of the 19th century, after some negotiations with Germany. They created the Crown Colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1916. The Battle of Tarawa in 1943-44, took place in the Colony. The Ellice Islands became Tuvalu in 1978, and the Gilberts became Kiribati a year later.

Coin collectors tend to be geographically oriented. If they are not patriotically collecting the coins of only their own country, or sentimentally some other country, then perhaps they will collect a region. The Pacific islands that start with Borneo and progress eastward to Hawaii and Easter Island are culturally very varied and spread across an expanse of water three times the size of Asia. Size of these islands ranges from Australia to Nauru. Population of Indonesia 1/4 billion, Tonga 100,000. Coins were made in Indonesia 1000 years ago if not earlier.

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.