Like cowries, manillas were used as currency to buy enslaved people. They were made of copper alloy cast in moulds. Thousands were manufactured in many European cities, including Exeter where there was a foundry in St Thomas. In 1505 an enslaved African could be bought for 10 manillas in Calabar (now Nigeria).
This mould was found in excavations of the Birdall foundry in Exeter and is dated to before 1625 making it the earliest evidence for manilla production in Britain.
This object is on display at RAMM in the Making History gallery.