The shared story of the island of St Helena and The East India Company stretches back to the mid-17th Century when the Company used the island as a stopping off point on voyages between India and the UK. The Company was granted a charter to govern St Helena in 1657, and over the next hundred years or so officials took up residence on the island, where they enjoyed a relatively undisturbed life in the tropics.
Undoubtedly the most famous chapter in this story was the exile of Napoleon to St Helena in 1815 after his defeat at Waterloo, where he was initially hosted by William Balcombe, an East India Company employee and one-time friend of Napoleon’s family.
A few years later in 1821 St. Helena’s first local coins, copper half pennies, were minted with the crest of the East India Company on the obverse and the inscription “ST HELENA 1821 HALFPENNY” on the reverse.
Today The East India Company and St Helena work together to issue gold and silver coins under the authority of the government of St Helena, capturing stories in precious metal for future generations to treasure.
Explore our St Helena coins and discover some of today’s treasures HERE