Currency (handa)

Democratic Republic of the Congo
20th century
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo


Overall (One of four): 22.9 x 22.9 cm (9 x 9 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Africa and Oceania



In the 19th and early 20th centuries, solid copper pieces (handa) in the form of crosses served as currency in parts of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Also referred to as Katanga crosses, their name derives from Katanga, a rich copper mining region in the south-eastern portion of the country. The handa acquire their wavy patterning when the molten copper is poured into sand molds, and weigh about 2 pounds.


About 1997, sold by Timothy Hamill, Hamill Gallery of African Art, Boston, to Alan Helms, Boston; 2009, gift of Alan Helms to the MFA. (Accession date: December 16, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Alan Helms