Antique Fulani Manilla Currency/Slave Trade Bracelet, West Africa (3146GKE)


H: 2.75”  W: 3”  Thick: 0.5” Circum: 8” | FREE SHIPPING

Each African region created its own variety of manillas that were typically horseshoe or round shaped. Ranging from thin delicate shapes to heavy massive pieces, they were embellished with designs of  carved lines forming parallel ridges, stamped or incised geometric forms and other motifs.  The antique rounded wide Fulani manilla from Nigeria has a smooth central surface with etched decorative and geometric designs at the ends including multi-lined horizontals, rows of stippled verticals, small etched circles with tiny  circles inside, alternating side by side triangles with the downward pointing ones recessed and large upward pointing double-lined ones and three stacked double circles at its apex. It is in very good condition with minor pits, scratches, cracks and bruising on the inside consistent with its extensive age and use. 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. Mostly Muslim, they are primarily nomads and sedentary farmers. For centuries the Fulani, like most peoples from Africa created metalwork African-jewelry arm and ankle bracelets as symbols of wealth and status and 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 money exchange systems. Since they are so numerous, theirmanilla 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 African-metalwork 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. Slave bracelets 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. Manillas are still worn by slave descendants in the Caribbean as a significant family treasure of African-art to pass on to future generations.

Additional information


Antique (1200-1920)


Late 19th/Early 20th Century

Materials and Technique

Bronze/brass/copper alloy

Dimensions (inches)

H: 2.75" W: 3" Thick: .44" Circum: 8"

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 2.75cm W: 7.62cm D: 1.116cm


10 oz


Very good, patina and wear consistent with age and use

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size