I must admit to ignorance of the early numismatic history of this nation.  It seems
to me unusual that while special coins had been issued since the eighteenth century for
Azores and Madeira there are none for Cape Verde until 1930.  Well, I figured, maybe
there is a body of tokens, as there are for those other islands.  A look through several
years of Jerry Schimmel's token catalogues revealed - not a single Cape Verde piece.
This will be a short article.
 The Cabo Verde Islands were uninhabited when Portuguese sailors, bound for
India,  found them in the fifteenth century.  They immediately set up the islands as a
transit point for their developing slaving operations along the nearby Guinea coast.  The
captives were initially sold in North Africa.  After the conquest of Brazil began in the
sixteenth century a very large number of people were shipped there.  The Portuguese on
the islands got very rich.  I assume the money they spent through the nineteenth century
was metropolitan Portuguese.
 When the slave trade was abolished in 1876 the economy of the islands crashed.
Thereafter they've been grindingly poor, with frequent famines, etc.  Services?  What are
services?  We think we have it bad, our government doesn't listen to us.  The old
Portuguese monarchy just used you up and threw you away.  A coaling depot was
established in the late nineteenth century allowing dribbles of income to trickle down to
the destitute inhabitants.
 The Republican government of 1910 tried to make some improvements in it's
empire.  There wasn't much they could do with the Cape Verdes.  The land was bad,
there was nothing happening in the way of business.  Still, it made some attempt to get
something going.
 The 1930 coins were part of this attempt.  They were issued in good quantity.  All
can be found floating around on the market, with some quantity of the bronze 5, 10, and
20 in Unc.  I haven't seen any blazing Unc examples of the 50 and 1 escudo.  The 1949
coins are also distressingly scarce in Unc, with too many chocolate XFs.  1953, '67, and
'68 coins are usually found in Unc.  The 1953 silver 10 escudos are really not very
common.  I got in on a roll about four years ago.  The rest of these coins are
one-at-a-time items.
 Negotiations with a new Portuguese government in 1974  led to independence the
following year.  Further negotiations were entered into aimed at union with the nearby
islands of Guinea-Bissau.  Fifteen years later nothing has happened.  In the interim the
old coaling station has become a fueling depot for aircraft and ships.  Still, the per capita
income of the average inhabitant is about $400.00 per year.
 The Republican coinage is generally available right now.  As far as I know I can
easily restock on my base metal type sets.  All recorded dates of the minors have been
imported by wholesalers, though some years may be going out of stock.  The silver first
anniversary 250 escudos is a fairly common coin in both Unc and proof.  The
accompanying gold coin, despite it's reasonable catalog price, is not seen very often.  The
1984 fisheries coin is also common in silver, but may be more difficult in copper-nickel
at the moment due to sell out of the formerly plentiful wholesale stocks.  The gold
version is usually unavailable.  The tenth anniversary coins of 1985 are on the market
right now in their regular versions.  No one is selling the silver and gold OMS.
 There really should be tokens from Cabo Verde.  Maybe someone who knows of
them could write in and tell us.  Maybe someone has them and can sell some to me.
(Someone did.  There are.)