Author Topic: Ghana Head Tax Tokens  (Read 5123 times)

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Offline Afrasi

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Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« on: July 21, 2013, 12:01:27 PM »
There is a pretty informative film from 1944 about the use of head tax tokens in Northern Ghana at the Mprusi (since 1949 written: Mamprusi) tribe.

http://www.colonialfilm.org.uk/node/5735

Online malj1

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2013, 02:55:18 PM »
An interesting film from  the year I started school. I remember these type of films being shown at school, I think perhaps about once a month. A man with a large library type van would call at the school and set up a projector in the school hall. Films such as this and rubber production, cocoa production, for instance would be shown.
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.

Offline Afrasi

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2013, 04:07:13 PM »
Never thought before, that such films can be a helpful source for African and other colonial tokens.

I did forget to show some pics of these tokens ...

Online malj1

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 12:21:26 AM »
A nice selection, these are very hard to find although as we see from the film there were very many issued. One to each male villager of working age each year; we could work this number out from a census perhaps. The serial numbers tell part of this story with the numbers running to five figures. I wonder when the issue ceased.

A similar series is known for New Guinea, I posted some here recently. I was unable to buy as the bids went beyond my pocket. The issue of the latter ceased due to the Japanese invasion in WW2.
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.

Offline Afrasi

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2013, 10:39:51 AM »
The highest number I have is 114459. I add this picture.

MNA ND bakelite (Mprusi Native Authority, pre-1937)
M.N.A. 1937-38 zinc (Mprusi Native Authority)
Mprusi 1938 zinc
Mprusi 1939 zinc
Mprusi 1940 zinc This token was used in the film!
Imprusi 1941 iron
Mprusi 1942 iron
Mprusi 1943 iron
Mprusi 1944 iron
Mprusi 1945 iron
Mprusi 1946 iron
Mprusi 1947 iron
Mprusi 1948 iron
Mamprusi 1949-50 iron
Mamprusi 1950-51 iron
Mamprusi 1951-52 iron
(Mamprusi 1952-53 ?) I miss this. Every hint to this piece is welcome!
Mamprusi 1953-54 bakelite
Mamprusi 1954-55 iron
Mamprusi 1955-56 iron
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 11:14:06 PM by Afrasi »

Offline Afrasi

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2013, 10:54:20 PM »
There are also tokens of other provinces. These two are from Bawku being from the seventies.  :o

Did the government of Ghana copy the British colonial tax token system  ???

U.C. (U/R) ??? Perhaps: Upper Central Province (formerly: Upper Region)

Online malj1

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2013, 12:54:31 AM »
You have a great collection of these, interesting to see they continued.

I had a look on Google yesterday but found very little apart from one interesting article in...

 American Anthropologist • Vol. 106, No. 1 • March 2004
MAHIR SAUL Money in Colonial Transition: Cowries and Francs in West Africa.
 
This is mainly about cowries but he mentioned the head tax of the period 1898 through to 1920

I quote the paragraph concerned.

A major novelty of the colonial regime was the head
tax. Despite its name this tax was never collected from in-
dividuals. It was levied on the basis of largely imaginary
census figures on entire communities, which, in turn,
apportioned it to their constituent units. The rate was 0.75
francs per adult in 1898, one franc in 1911, two francs in
1915, and 2.50 francs in 1920 In 1899 and
1900 the entire revenue was collected in kind. After 1902,
as the war of conquest subsided, total revenue increased,
as did the proportion of it paid in colonial currency. In
1903 half the taxes were paid in colonial currency and half
in-kind. For the following three years, in-kind payments
constituted about one third of total revenue. For the
French, “in-kind” included payment in cowries. A decree
in January 1907 prohibited local treasuries from accepting
cowries to encourage the transition to colonial coins.
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2013, 12:20:38 PM »
This article supports the scarcity of silver coins in East Africa during the 19th century, owing to colonial wars. This scarcity is the reason for the early decimalisation there. It may also be behind the enduring split between British West Africa and East Africa.

The average annual increase in the period 1898-1911 was 2%. In the period 1911-1915 it was 19% and in the years 1915-1920 it was 5%...

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Afrasi

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2014, 04:31:21 PM »
The list of the Mprusi-tokens above is now improved and actualized.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 05:14:39 PM by Afrasi »

Online malj1

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2014, 09:31:13 PM »
A wonderful run of these pieces, I would imagine this collection has taken many years to assemble.   8)

Did the Mamprusi issue stop after the 1955-56 piece?
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 10:05:45 PM »
The area was part of British West Africa. Ghana came about in 1957. If the tax was continued, the tokens may have changed radically or they may have been replaced by something else.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Afrasi

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 10:22:02 PM »
I would imagine this collection has taken many years to assemble.   8)
It is only my data base. Most pieces are in my collection, but there are pieces of two collector friends included.

Did the Mamprusi issue stop after the 1955-56 piece?
Probably "Yes", as I know no later token, and also Peter drew the historical line.

Online malj1

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2014, 10:31:37 PM »
Yes I should have remembered that, especially as I collect the Gold Coast and BWA cocoa tokens.  ::) [still need one piece]

Quote
The area was part of British West Africa. Ghana came about in 1957.

...thanks for the reminder Peter!
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.

Offline Afrasi

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2014, 11:04:04 PM »
Just looked again the film, who claims to be of 1944, but the shown tokens were clearly those from 1940 recognizable by their shape. :o
In those days it took its time to complete a film ...  ;)

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Re: Ghana Head Tax Tokens
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2014, 12:34:44 AM »
Captured the image of tax discs in the tax collectors hand.

Mention is also made of the Kola nuts in neighbouring Ivory coast, here too is the image of the receipts that were being handed out.
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.