Antique Kota Manilla Currency/Slave Bracelet, West Africa (3166YLR)


H: 2.875”  W: 3.25”  Thickness: 1.5” | FREE SHIPPING!

This antique manilla is from the Kota in the northeastern region of Gabon and Congo. It is a thin-walled flat circular bracelet with an elaborate five-section design. The sections have unique designs with long striations, grooved crosshatches, long triangles, and a series of angled designs. It is in very good condition with some losses, pitting and scratches and a rough surface inside consistent with age and use and comes with a wood and metal stand.



The Kota are a fairly small tribe in Gabon, Africa numbering 75,000 and has strong ties to France. African-metalwork bracelets, which became known as manillas, traditionally were African-art locally made in Kota and used as a form of currency by peoples from West-Africa as a medium of exchange to trade or barter, purchase land, livestock, or other goods and services; pay for significant life events such as births, coming of age, marriages, and burials; and to display their status or social position. Each region fabricated its own African-jewelry varieties and styles of metalwork manillas that were typically horseshoe-shaped often with a ball or flare at the ends and were decorated with incised designs, frequently with added pieces of metal in various shapes to the body or at open ends. They ranged in size from thin delicate shapes to heavy massive pieces, and designs included deeply carved lines forming parallel ridges, stamped or incised geometric forms, and other motifs.  In the 15th century, recognizing the importance of copper bracelets and leg bands as displays of wealth and as currency in West-Africa, European merchants from England, Portugal, France and Holland fabricated manillas to use as slave trade currency and called “slave bracelets.” Manilla production decreased in the 19th century as the slave trade diminished and in 1948 Britain, the largest producer of manillas collected, confiscated, and melted down African manillas.

Click here for Blog Manillas: Former African Trade Currency.

Additional information

Place of Origin

Africa, West Africa


Antique (1200-1920)


18-19th Century

Materials and Technique

Bronze/brass/copper alloy

Dimensions (inches)

H: 2.875" W: 3.25" Thick: 1.5"

Dimensions (metric)

H: 6.99 cm W: 8.25 cm


7.2 oz


Very good, signs of age and wear consistent with age, no restorations/repairs (see description)

Reference Number