1978 Madagascar Silver Proof Two-Coin Set

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Madagascar is the fifth largest island in the world, with an area of some 288,000 square miles.  A Portuguese navigator named Diago Diaz signed the island off the south-east coast of Africa in the year 1500, when his ship became separated from a fleet on the way to India.  Neither the British nor the French managed to settle on the island until late in the 19th century, when it came first a French protectorate and then a colony.

In 1960 Madagascar became an independent republic within the French Community.  In 1973 revised agreements with France were signed, which led to a reduction of French influence including the country's withdrawal from the Franc zone.

In the change of currency from the Franc to the Ariary, the first new coins to be struck are the 10 Ariary and 20 Ariary nickel pieces, which equal 50 and 100 Francs respectively.  To mark this event, the Central Bank of Madagascar has commissioned the Royal Mint to produce 5,000 of each of the new coins, made in sterling silver and presented as 2 coin sets.

Both are proof coins in 925 Silver, struck to proof standard with designs in frosted relief on a highly polished table.  The edges are milled.  The 10 Ariary coins weighs 9 grammes and has a diameter of 26.50mm; the 20 Ariary coin weighs 12 grammes with a diameter of 30.50mm. 

The common obverse designed features a laurel and a star, the value of the coin, the date and the name of the country.  The reverse of the 10 Ariary shows a farmer cutting peat, against a background of fields and hills.  Against a similar background of hills and the sun, the reverse of the 20 Ariary depicts a tractor ploughing.

The coins are encapsulated and beautifully presented in a dark red case, accompanied with a certificate of authenticity.

Only 5,000 of these beautiful sets were minted.

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