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Ho, Ho, Ho...

Started by Quant.Geek, February 06, 2022, 04:05:27 AM

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As some of you might now, I also collect manuscripts, especially palm leaf manuscripts from South and Southeast Asia.  Several of the Southeast Asian manuscripts have cash coins attached to them, for good luck and prosperity AFAIK.  The following manuscript came into my possession last year as part of a group lot of 6-7 bundles.  Each bundle had two cash coins.  Of interest is the following manuscript from Bali.  It came with two coins, but the following is more interesting.  It is a Vietnamese Cash coin from the Ho Rebellion.  Most of these coins are worn pretty badly and I usually purchase crisp coins as examples of the ones from the manuscripts. I am still looking for this particular coin.

Don't ask me what the manuscript is all about as I don't know  ;D.  It has been digitized and the scans have been set to appropriate researchers for analysis...

A gallery of my coins can been seen at FORVM Ancient Coins


Hello Ram, that's an interesting object, both for the manuscript and the combination with the attached coin !
I believe this is a Balinese Lontar, isn't it ? A few years ago there was a large international program to digitize and transcribe these for research and preservation for posterity.
The Vietnamese Ho rebellion was at the beginning of the 15th century AD ? Likely your manuscript is much younger. Did people at the time add an already antique coin to the manuscript for some purpose or were these still circulating coins at the time ?


Great observation! The manuscript is indeed a Balinese Lontar and your are correct in that there was (and still is) a global initiative to digitize these types of manuscripts. I have been working with them to get my manuscripts added to their library.

What I have observed is that the coins that are attached have no relevance to the period of the manuscript.  I have seen manuscripts with coins that were substantially older than the manuscript as well as manuscripts that are older than the coins that are attached.  It seems they added whatever holed coins they could get their hands on and added it for ease of binding.  They might be either circulating or non-circulating coins. The manuscript I illustrated seems to be from 18th to 19th century, but the coin is indeed from the 15th century. 

There is one manuscript that I have were the coin that was added was from 1950s, but the manuscript is far older indicating it was being maintained...
A gallery of my coins can been seen at FORVM Ancient Coins


Thanks for the reply. Interesting how the binding with a cash coin became a custom without any more profound meaning.


The coin is not from the Ho rebellion.   It is a privately made cash for trade.  This kind began to be made c.1640-60, and circulated up to the end of the 19th century.  There are even die struck versions, which had to be worth a fraction of the large cash denominated as 10 wen.