World Coins

Micronation known as Molossia honors Emperor Norton

The fictional Republic of Molossia’s 100-valora celebrates Emperor Norton I, a man who lived in San Francisco in the 1800s.

Images courtesy of MPcoins.

Emperor Norton was a colorful character in 1800s San Francisco whose financial woes may have sparked his career as a would-be leader. 

The famous self-styled emperor is now honored on a “coin” from a fictional country


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Emperor Norton was born in 1818 as Joshua Abraham Norton, and he arrived in San Francisco as a businessman from South Africa in 1849 to get in on the California Gold Rush. After losing all his money, he left the city for a few years before returning to proclaim himself “Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.” By royal proclamation, Norton “fired” President Abraham Lincoln and the Congress. San Francisco officials and citizens embraced the eccentric man, who even issued “paper money.”

Now he appears on a piece from the fictional Republic of Molossia, a “micronation” that was created in 1977. 

The obverse of the creation shows a bust of Emperor Norton, and the reverse depicts the coat of arms of the Republic of Molossia.

The piece was designed by Massimo Pastorelli in Venezuela and sculptured by Robert Cooper in America. They were struck by MP Coins in Madrid, Spain. 

There are a maximum mintage of 70 pieces available across several different metal versions. 

The most abundant version is a zinc piece plated with an antique gold finish. It retails for €35 (about $40 U.S.) plus shipping through MP Coins’ eBay store.

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