- Culion Leper Colony 1/2 centavo coin.
- Certified by NGC to MS 62, very lusterous surfaces.
- After the capitulation of Manila in 1898, the United States found itself faced with serious health and sanitation problems. Aside from outbreaks of epidemics and countless deaths from various diseases, thousands of “lepers” were at large. It was estimated that there were 3,500 to 4,000 leprosy cases in the country. Since there was no known method to control the disease, it soon became clear that segregation – long been practiced in Hawaii – would have to be implemented in the Philippines.
In 1901, both the American military and civil authorities decided upon the establishment of a “leper” colony. A military board sought an isolated place. The sparsely populated Culion Island was judged suitable for the purpose.
To avoid the use of ordinary legal tender by the patients, the government in 1913 provided for a special coinage backed by an equivalent amount set aside in the treasury. The first issue, of six denominations (1 peso and 20, 10, 5 and 1 centavo, also 1/2 centavo), was of aluminum, as also was a further partial issue made in 1920. That metal was found disadvantageous because of corrosion by antiseptics; when mercuric bichloride was used the coins simply disappeared. The more recent (partial) issues, in 1922, 1925, 1927 and 1930, were of nickel.