Author Topic: tin alloy coin with Lion to identify  (Read 871 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline capnbirdseye

  • Vic
  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6 311
tin alloy coin with Lion to identify
« on: July 10, 2018, 03:11:09 PM »
Not sure what this is, it's made of Tin, looks like a Lion on one side and a sword? on the other

5.03g,  20mm
Vic

Offline Manzikert

  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 414
Re: tin alloy coin with Lion to identify
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2018, 10:34:09 PM »
The lion reminded me of the Burmese Chinthe, and on checking Robinson & Shaw's book on Burmese coins they have an almost identical piece (though they show the 'sword' with the point down) on p.43.

The weight and diameter (5 gm and 20 mm) are almost identical to your piece, but they only say:
'Whilst we are not absolutely certain it is from Burma, the metal indicates strongly that it comes from South Burma or the Malaya-Borneo region, and it is therefore quite likely that it was made in Pegu or Tenasserim.' They only seem to know of the one specimen.

Alan

Offline capnbirdseye

  • Vic
  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6 311
Re: tin alloy coin with Lion to identify
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2018, 10:41:07 PM »
Thank you Alan, there were two of these in the lot,I did consider it might be from Burma but found no clues, I'll do  a search based on the info you gave
Vic

Offline bgriff99

  • Meritorious Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 626
Re: tin alloy coin with Lion to identify
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2020, 10:52:50 PM »
Mitchiner attributes this as a tin-lead pitis made by or for the VOC, circa 1620.   Because of the lion.   Nobody else buys that.   This is an unusually clear specimen.   Usually they have only the lion side, fairly common now from Palembang.    They have some resemblance to Srivijaya era roundish tin, silver and gold coins.    Both the VOC and a few regional kingdoms in the tin-producing areas use a sword in their heraldry.    It pre-dates Singapore, but maybe Johor or one of its empire-components used the lion.    A lion rising from the sea with a sword, that would be Dutch!

Offline Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30 199
Re: tin alloy coin with Lion to identify
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2020, 08:22:56 AM »
Most certainly not Dutch. They use only lions standing on their hind legs. Moreover, the style of the lion id Asian. The sword side is perhaps inspired by the 1644 Dutch colonial stuiver for Batavia, but the grip of the sword is impractical.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline capnbirdseye

  • Vic
  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6 311
Re: tin alloy coin with Lion to identify
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2020, 10:16:52 AM »
I originally put the coin on zeno where it's now listed under Tennaserim & Pegu 

zeno member frank added:-

very close to/same as Robinson(1986 - The Lead and Tin Coins of Pegu and Tenasserim),
zeno member frank added:-

p. 71, no. 1, plate 16(same size and weight),
and among the miscellaneous pieces
'... whose connection with Pegu or Tenasserim is less certain, varying from quite likely to very unlikely.
Nevertheless, since most are unpublished it seemed useful to include them'.
I Would say: QUITE LIKELY.

But missing in, for example,
Temple(1913 - The obsolete Tin Currency and Money of the Federated Malay States).


Zeno - Oriental Coins Database - Tenasserim Small Token
Vic

Offline Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30 199
Re: tin alloy coin with Lion to identify
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2020, 03:19:10 PM »
Some more South Burmese coins/tokens/weights here. The style is close enough. I am wondering if the bestiary somehow adds up to a collection of astrological signs.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline bgriff99

  • Meritorious Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 626
Re: tin alloy coin with Lion to identify
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2020, 06:05:24 AM »
This coin is not picturing just an animal.   It is heraldry of an aggressive entity.   Pitis come with and without holes, and only a few issuers made unholed ones.   Even fewer this thick (Aceh, Kedah, Malacca, Tidung, Brunei).    Of all the potential native issuers, the closest, and only potential one found is Johor, using tigers and sword.   Many of their pitis were private, with irregular kinds.    Swords are commonly used in the heraldry but rarely on pitis.  And then a scimitar, curved blade and/or grip, held horizontally.    So, especially the reverse sword suggest the VOC.   

None of the ones I've seen have any more than this thin black patina, indicating age should not be farther back than 1670.   The animal does seem to have a mane, so a lion, albeit Asian style.   The VOC reputedly tried to order tin-lead pitis from Thailand, shortly after setting up shop in Banten, before establishing Batavia.   Those have never been identified or even verified to be made.   Presumably that's what Mitchiner thinks they are. 

Offline Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30 199
Re: tin alloy coin with Lion to identify
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2020, 10:06:06 AM »
Yes, heavier and not holed. Compare it wit the Palembang issues to make that obvious. My conclusion: not used in the same way as those. The holed ones were strung together. The unholed ones were packaged (source: Netscher & Van der Chijs). This piece was used like a regular coin. It is not like a Palembang token. It has more in common with the lead piece in the name of Mindon Min with a rabbit (symbol of hunting, a royal sport).

I agree that the symbolism looks official at first sight. Let me note, though that I think both sides are Asian symbols. The lion is obvious. Similar lions have graced modern Burmese coins. Moreover, that same style lion can be found in front of many temples in South-East Asia and plenty of present-day Chinese restaurants. In other words, in East Asia, the symbolism is not confined to royalty. It could be meant as religious as the rest of the bestiary on the tokens shown in the link above.

The reverse is indeed not a scimitar and looks like a Western sword. I have two major doubts. First, the grip. A 17th century Western sword would have a lame that is broader that the grip. The two spikes or whatever they are make no sense. The lame should be longer in relation to the grip. That leads to my second point. I am not convinced it is a sword. It could be anything from a plant to a ritual tool to a musical instrument.

I like Burma (without more evidence than the link given above), private issue. As you note, there are enough of those in the time and area in question. If researchers say Tennaserim & Pegu that sounds fine, but Johore sounds OK too.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.