Antique Fulani Manilla Currency/Slave Bracelet, West Africa (3155VKM)


H: 2.625”  W: 3”  Thick: 0.25” Circum. 8.25” | FREE SHIPPING

Each African region fabricated its own variety of manilla that were typically horseshoe or C-shaped with a ball or flare at the ends with added pieces of metal to the body or at plain open ends Ranging from thin delicate shapes to heavy massive pieces, they were embellished with designs of deeply carved lines forming parallel ridges, stamped or incised geometric forms, and other motifs.  This large fine 18-19th century circular high walled Fulani manilla from Nigeria has a rounded smooth surface inside and out with beautiful etched linear design, circles, swirls, stipples, and V-shapes. It is in excellent condition with a fine aged patina with  some evidence of pitting, scratches, and discolorations consistent with age. It comes with a wood and metal stand.

Click here for Blog Manillas: Former African Trade Currency.


The Fulani are the most numerous nomadic people on earth and one of the largest ethnic groups in West-Africa. They are mostly Muslim who are primarily nomads and sedentary farmers. For centuries the Fulani, like most peoples from Africa created metalwork African-jewelry arm and ankle bracelets that were African-art symbols of wealth and status, fashion adornments, used ceremonially for births, coming of age, marriages, and burials, to trade for animals and domestic and agricultural goods and as a medium of exchange where there were no banks or conventional currency exchange systems. Since they are so numerous, their manilla bracelets are found throughout West Africa.  During the colonization of Africa in the 1500s. the British, French and Dutch appropriated these bracelets and began to manufacture their own versions they named manillas. Once a beautiful indigenous form of currency and adornment for and by African peoples, manillas became the currency for the slave trade to the Americas and were referred to as “slave bracelets,” “slave trade money” and “bracelet money” to purchase slaves to work on plantations in the Americas. They were finally prohibited for use by foreign traders under the Manilla Currency Ordinance of 1919 but continued to be used by the West African Currency Board for several decades. The 1940s and 50’s witnessed a strong and successful movement to collect, confiscate and meltdown manillas to use for other purposes. African-metalwork manillas are still worn by slave descendants in the Caribbean as a significant family treasure to pass on to future generations.



Additional information

Place of Origin

Africa, West Africa


Antique (1200-1920)


18-19th Century

Materials and Technique

Bronze/brass/copper alloy

Dimensions (inches)

H: 2.625 W: 3" Thick: .25" Circum: 8.25"

Dimensions (metric)

H: 6.65 cm Width: 7.6 cm Thick: .635 cm Circum: 20.95 cm


9.1 oz


Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size