Sunday, May 27, 2007

Old Coins

My grandma handed down her collection of coins to me and my bro. Some had holes in them! I've heard of coin with holes before but never actually held them. They were so old that some of the inscriptions were pratically smoothen out. Being curious, I did a lil homework, searching around the net.

First, was the coins with holes. From the looks, I guessed they were from China. I keyed in "china old coins" and were shocked to know these are from Qing Dynasty!! That's 1644-1911. So freaking old!! Apparantly it's worth $2.95 at Hinky Import. So little only meh?? I can't read chinese but there's 2 different coins with different engraving and sizes.

I wonder why they cut a hole in the middle. Maybe olden days people used to string up their coins?

Other than that, her collection had the Straits Settlements 1/2 cent coins. What can you buy with 1/2 a cent?? According to my grandma, a bowl of noodles can be bought with just 1/2 a cent and there were even 1/4 cent coins!

Straits Settlements half cent coin

In history, the Straits Settlements consisted of Penang, Malacca and Singapore. Later in 1858, it was taken over by the Government of British India and an issue of one cent, half cent and quarter cent coins was made for use in the Straits Settlements, bearing in inscription “India Straits”. In 1867, the Straits Settlements were transferred to the Imperial Government in London. The coins then beared the inscription “Straits Settlements” and were issued under the reigns of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), King Edward VII (1901-1910) and King George V (1910-1936).

Lastly in her collection are the 1 cent coins. At first glace I thought they were all the same. But no. There were 2 types. Some had "Commissioners of Currency Malaya" engraved, whereas the rest were "Malaya and British Borneo".

What I noticed later were the sizes. The Malaya coins on 1943 were smaller than those of 1940 and 1941. I don't know what size it was on 1942 and why they became smaller, but here's a picture. Left: 1940, Right: 1943.

Commissioners of Currency Malaya

The back of Malaya coins showed a side profile King George VI. Whereas the Malaya and British Borneo coins beared Queen Elizabeth the Second. A short history:

In 1933, Sir Basil Blackett, Secretary of State for the Colonies stated in his report that the only power of issuing currency should be given to a Pan-Malayan Currency Commission. This was adopted by the Malayan States and The Board of Commissioners of Currency Malaya (1938) commenced to issue currency in 1939. All the notes then had the portrait of King George VI. However, after the Indian Independence Act 1947, the British Parliament assented to omit the king's portrait and issued the coins to bear the portraits of Queen Elizabeth II.

Malaya and British Borneo Coin 1956

Ok, I'm no historian nor an old coin collector expert. But these old coins are pretty cool and are rich in history. If these coins could speak, I'm sure there's tonnes of tales, stories and scenes of that era to be told.



babyfiona said...

Worth 2 ++ only? so cheap meh? i also got a few original one (should be) and non original one. :p

Kimiko said...

yalo. that site seems 'kiam siap/kedekut/stingy' to me. =P maybe other places can sell at higher prices XD