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The Bank of Mauritius Museum

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The Bank of Mauritius Museum offers visitors a unique opportunity to discover other facets of the rich Mauritian history. It is located on the ground floor of the Bank of Mauritius building situated on Sir William Newton Street, in Port Louis. The Museum is home to a remarkable array of some 500 artefacts including; 
  • An impressive collection of coins minted abroad by the then-colonial governments for use on the island
  • Extremely rare gold and silver coins, like Arab dinars or British Indian Mohur
  • The Tael (pronounced TA-EEL), originating from the 17th century from Dutch Batavia (currently known as Jakarta in Indonesia), a coin so rare that even coin reference books do not have a real photograph of it but just a drawing
  • The Piastre Decaen, which is unique in many aspects: it is the only coin ever minted in Mauritius, as well as the only coin ever minted out of France and used in one of its colonies. 

About The Bank of Mauritius Museum

The central bank of Mauritius more commonly known as “The Bank of Mauritius” was established on 1st  September 1967 leading to a new chapter in the monetary history of the island. The Mauritian central bank has the sole right to issue currency on the island to date. The Bank of Mauritius celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017 and a few months later Mauritius celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence in March 2018. In a view to commemorate both events, a museum tracing back the evolution of the currency on the island, from the Dutch period to modern-day was launched. The Bank of Mauritius Museum currently stands as one of the most advanced financial museums in the region.



A question that may surely strike you upon your visit is: From where do all these currencies, notes, coins, paper documents come from? The gathering of such an amazing and informative collection under one roof is the result of a great work of cooperation between the Bank of Mauritius, the MCB Group Ltd and the HSBC (Mauritius) Ltd. The Royal Mint and “Thomas De La Rue’ (a well known banknote producing firm) have also contributed to the creation of the Museum. The collection of artefacts on display proves that Mauritius, which is also described as ‘The Star and Key of the Indian Ocean’, was a thriving port and trading settlement, and a true international financial centre since the 17th century. 

The museum tour follows the sequence of the different colonial periods of the Mauritian history starting with the Arab period (12th century). LED screens have been fitted above each display cabinet, providing visitors with exhaustive information on the corresponding artefacts displayed. Guided visits are also available for groups and schools. These visits are of an average duration of 20 minutes.

Led Screens at the Bank of Mauritius Museum


Tour Highlights of the Bank of Mauritius Museum

The Dutch Period - The Ducaton (Silver Coin)
During the Dutch period namely in 1618 when Prince Maurice Van Nassau succeeded his eldest half-brother Philip William and became the Prince of Orange, he ordered the minting of a new silver coin; the “Ducaton”. Though it was not minted or used on the island, it was the first ever coin to bear the name 'Mauritius'.

The French Period - The Piastre Decaen (Silver Coin)
In 1810 there was a serious shortage of currency on the island then known as “Isle de France”. To cater for this shortage the Governor Charles Decaen thus decided to have the minting of a silver coin locally. The “Piastre Decaen” was declared as the official currency of the settlement.

The British Period - The Piastre Decaen (Silver Coin engraving CC for ‘Crown Colonies’)
When the British took possession of the island they continued to use the Piastre Decaen as official currency but with a slight change on the coin by engraving CC for ‘Crown Colonies’. Afterwards in 1820, under the reign of George IV, changes were brought in the minting of the coins with the introduction of Anchor coinage: small denomination coins which were based on the Spanish dollar. The silver coins were struck in four denominations to be used only across British colonies. 
 
The Mauritian Banking landscape in the 19th century
Throughout the 18th century and in the early part of the 19th century, existing commercial banks were in competition with one another to issue banknotes; this was known as 'free banking'. The British Imperial Government established the Board of the Commissioners of Currency in Mauritius in 1849 which put an end to the above mentionned practice, the Board became the only entity responsible for the issue of currency in Mauritius.

Some Other Important Dates
5th of April 1966 - Circulation of the Sessional Paper on the establishment of the Bank of Mauritius  in the Mauritius Legislative Council
12th of July 1966 - ​Voting of The Bank of Mauritius Bill No. 33 
28th of September 1966 - Assent of Governor General received
1st of September 1967 - Establishment of The Bank of Mauritius

Opening hours of the Bank of Mauritius Museum

The museum is open from 9:30 till 16:00 from Monday to Friday, except public holidays. The entrance to the museum is free for the time being. Guided tours are available to groups on request. Our staff will be glad to help you visit and appreciate the currency heritage of Mauritius. 

Contact The Bank of Mauritius Museum

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Sir William Newton Street, Port-Louis, 11320

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