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Rejected Malaysian Wildlife Set of 1966

Started by Galapagos, April 04, 2009, 01:51:29 PM

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In 1966, the Bank Negara Malaysia held a public competition, inviting local artists to submit designs for the new nation's coinage. The Royal Mint was invited to produce patterns of the winning designs. The first image shows the following designs:-

1] Malayan tapir

2] Cattle egret

3] Pangolin

4] Proboscis monkey

The second image shows three Royal Mint pattern versions of another winning design, the kijang or barking deer. There was also a pattern made of the Argus pheasant, but I have never seen this illustrated.

The article from which these were taken does not mention which denominations of coins the designs were to be assigned to.

When the pattern pieces were completed, representatives of the Bank Negara travelled to Kula Lumpur to show them to the prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman.

"No, this won't do", said the prime minister, after studying the patterns. "People will think we eat these animals. Since we are a parliamentary democracy, why not have a picture of the parliament building on all the coins. Look, there is a good picture of it on this packet of 'Parliament' cigarettes".

And so it was that these animal designs were consigned to oblivion, and the pattern pieces ended up in the hands of foreign collectors.

The images are from a photocopy of "Coin Digest", issue number 4 of 1989, published by Taisei Stamps and Coins of Singapore. The photocopy was sent to me by Dennis G. Rainey, who writes the Coin Critters articles in World Coin News (USA). I'd expressed an interest in seeing photos of this set, which he had described to me.

The article from which the images were taken was written by Mohd Kassim Haji Ali, who was the Curator of Ethnology of the National Museum of Malaysia at the time and apparently a noted numismatist.

As a lover of wildlife on coins, I found this set quite fascinating as an example of what might have been. I found the bit about the designs being rejected by the cigarette-smoking prime minister both infuriating and highly comic.

Malaysia Unadopted Set - part 1.jpg

Malaysia Unadopted Set - part 2.jpg

Malaysia.  Unadopted set.


This is actually the first time I have seen it, and found it most interesting!  For some reason, my use of the "show all posts since last visit" link twice a day doesn't always deliver the goods :-(


Malaysia patterns.jpg

Another image of the patterns.

This one includes a peacock, top row, third from the left.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.