World of Coins

Modern Asian coins, pseudo coins and trade tokens => Other South-East Asia => Topic started by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 11:46:07 AM

Title: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 11:46:07 AM
From Wikipedia:

The Malayan dollar was introduced in 1939, replacing the Straits dollar (of the Straits Settlements) at par, with 1 dollar = two shillings four pence sterling (60 dollars = 7 pounds). It was the currency of the British colonies and protectorates in Malaya and Brunei until 1953. It was issued by the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Malaya, with a hiatus during the Japanese occupation (1942–1945).

The Board of Commissioners of Currency, Malaya, came into being in October 1938 following the Blackett Report, which recommended that the sole power of issuing currency for the various Malay States, including Brunei, and the Straits Settlements, should be entrusted to a pan-Malayan Currency Commission. Sir Basil Phillott Blackett was appointed in 1933 by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to lead a commission to consider the participation of the various Malay States, including Brunei, in the profits and liabilities of the Straits Settlements currency. The Blackett Report was adopted by the Government of the Straits Settlements, the Federated Malay States, Unfederated Malay States and Brunei. Legislation was enacted by the Straits Settlements Currency Ordinance (No. 23) of 1938, and ratified by the various states during 1939. The board started to issue currency in 1939.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 11:49:35 AM
The Straits Settlements (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straits_Settlements) were a group of British territories located in Southeast Asia. Originally established in 1826 as part of the territories controlled by the British East India Company, the Straits Settlements came under direct British control as a Crown colony on 1 April 1867. The colony was dissolved in 1946 as part of the British reorganisation of its South-East Asian dependencies following the end of the Second World War.

The Straits Settlements originally consisted of the four individual settlements of Malacca, Dinding, Penang and Singapore. The Penang territory included Penang Island, formerly known as the 'Prince of Wales Island', and Seberang Perai on the mainland, formerly known as 'Province Wellesley'. Christmas Island and the Cocos Islands were also included. The island of Labuan, off the coast of Borneo, was also incorporated into the colony with effect from 1 January 1907, becoming a separate settlement within it in 1912. Most of the territories now form part of Malaysia, from which Singapore separated in 1965. The Cocos (or Keeling) Islands were transferred to Australian control in 1955. Christmas Island was transferred in 1958. Their administration was combined in 1996 to form the Australian Indian Ocean Territories.



The Federated Malay States (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federated_Malay_States) (FMS) was a federation of four protected states in the Malay Peninsula—Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang—established by the British government in 1895, which lasted until 1946.

The United Kingdom was responsible for foreign affairs and defence of the federation, whilst the states continued to be responsible for their domestic policies. Even so, the British Resident General would give advice on domestic issues, and the states were bound by treaty to follow that advice. The federation had Kuala Lumpur, which was then part of Selangor, as its capital. The first FMS Resident General was Frank Swettenham.



The Unfederated Malay States (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfederated_Malay_States) was the collective name given to five British protected states in the Malay peninsula in the first half of the twentieth century. These states were Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, and Terengganu. In contrast with the four adjoining Federated Malay States of Selangor, Perak, Pahang, and Negri Sembilan, the five Unfederated Malay States lacked common institutions, and did not form a single state in international law; they were in fact standalone British protectorates.



Below is a map to help you understand this complex situation.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 11:52:28 AM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=33341.0;attach=57576;image)



Across the sea from Malaya were the two British colonies of Sarawak and British North Borneo. These also used the Malayan dollar at this time.



See:

British North Borneo (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,33341.0.html).

The British Rajahs of Sarawak (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,33353.0.html).
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 11:57:22 AM
The half cent was issued in 1940 only. It was made of bronze. The reverse of all the coins carried the legend "COMMISSIONERS OF CURRENCY MALAYA".
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 11:59:59 AM
The 1 cent coin was issued in 1939, 1940, and 1941. A slightly smaller coin, 20 mm in diameter instead of the previous 21 mm, was issued in 1943 and 1945.

The crowned effigy of King George VI appeared on the obverse of all the coins. It was designed by Percy Metcalfe.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 12:02:35 PM
The silver 5 cents was issued in 1939, 1941, 1943 and 1945.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 12:03:18 PM
The silver 10 cents was issued in 1939, 1941, 1943 and 1945.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 12:04:27 PM
The silver 20 cents was issued in 1939, 1943 and 1945.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 12:08:35 PM
The half cent 1 cent coins were not issued after 1945. The 5 cents and 20 cents were issued in 1948 and 1950, but this time in copper-nickel. The King's title now omitted the word "EMPEROR", since India was now independent. A copper-nickel 10 cents was issued in 1948, 1949 and 1950.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 12:09:57 PM
Here are two of the flags from those days.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 12:14:51 PM
From Wikipedia:

The Malaya and British Borneo dollar was the currency of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, North Borneo, Brunei and Riau archipelago from 1953 to 1967 and was the successor of the Malayan dollar and Sarawak dollar, replacing them at par. The currency was issued by the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Malaya and British Borneo. Prior to 1952, the board was known as the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Malaya.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 12:16:42 PM
The 5 and 10 cents coins were the first to be issued under Queen Elizabeth II. The first 1 cent coin was not issued until 1956.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 12:18:25 PM
The new coins had similar designs to the previous coins.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 12:33:24 PM
Meanwhile, the political situation was quite complex.

From Wikipedia:

Prior to World War II, British Malaya consisted of three groups of polities: the protectorate of the Federated Malay States, five protected Unfederated Malay States and the crown colony of the Strait Settlements.

On 1 April 1946, the Malayan Union (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malayan_Union) officially came into existence with Sir Edward Gent as its governor, combining the Federated Malay States, Unfederated Malay States and the Strait Settlements of Penang and Malacca under one administration. The capital of the Union was Kuala Lumpur. The former Strait Settlement of Singapore was administered as a separate crown colony.

The Malays generally opposed the creation of the Union, due to the methods used to acquire the Sultans' approval, the reduction of the Sultans' powers, and easy granting of citizenship to immigrants. The United Malays National Organisation or UMNO, a Malay political association formed by Dato' Onn bin Ja'afar on 1 March 1946, led the opposition against the Malayan Union. Malays also wore white bands around their heads, signifying their mourning for the loss of the Sultans' political rights.

After the inauguration of the Malayan Union, the Malays, under UMNO continued opposing the Malayan Union. They utilised civil disobedience as a means of protest by refusing to attend the installation ceremonies of the British governors. They had also refused to participate in the meetings of the Advisory Councils, hence Malay participation in the government bureaucracy and the political process had totally stopped. The British recognised this problem and took measures to consider the opinions of the major races in Malaya before making amendments to the constitution. The Malayan Union was dissolved and replaced by the Federation of Malaya (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation_of_Malaya) on 1 February 1948.

Within the Federation, while the Malay states were protectorates of the United Kingdom, Penang and Malacca remained British colonial territories. Like the Malayan Union before it, the Federation did not include Singapore, despite its traditional connections with Malaya. The Federation achieved independence within the Commonwealth of Nations on 31 August 1957.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 12:37:05 PM
Here are some more flags from that complex situation.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 12:44:54 PM
The final coin of Malaya and British Borneo was the 1 cent coin of 1962. It was the only coin issued in that year, and it was a curiosity and an anomaly. Unlike the earlier 1 cent coin, it was round and not square, and it did not carry a portrait of the Queen on the obverse. The reverse carried no legend but featured a design by Barry Stanton (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,8921.0.html) of two ceremonial crossed swords.

The previous 1 cent, the square version, weighed 4.21 grams and was 20.0 mm in diameter. The round coin of 1962 weighed 1.94 g and was 17.7 mm in diameter.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 12:53:51 PM
On 16 September 1963, the Federation of Malaya, along with North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore, became the new state of Malaysia. On 9 August 1965, Singapore was expelled from Malaysia and became independent.

See: Singapore in Malaysia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore_in_Malaysia).
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 12:58:16 PM
A map of modern Malaysia.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on May 03, 2018, 01:00:00 PM
A useful tree diagram from Wikipedia, showing the complex history of Malaysia.
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: Figleaf on May 04, 2018, 12:49:03 AM
The two sharpies on the cent are not swords but daggers, called kris (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kris). They are not ceremonial, even when highly decorated, but part of a male. A kris has a personality of its own that supplements that of the owner. Two important rules guide its use. A kris drawn in anger may not be sheathed again until blood has flown (this is meant to make you think twice before drawing a kris). A kris must be cleansed by a shaman/priest when blood has flown in order to contain its anger (this means a fight will always cost money.)

The coins of Malaya were all struck in either of two mints only: London or Calcutta. Coins struck in Calcutta have a mintmark I (India.) There is only one copy known of the 10 cents 1945 I. It is unclear why or when it was made. The coins marked Malaya and British Borneo may be struck in London or Birmingham (KN or H mintmark). The marks are sometimes weakly punched or perhaps suffering from die filling. Interestingly, some African coins have a similar problem, but I have not heard of weak I mintmarks, so it was particular to Birmingham.

There are very good tin Burmese fakes of the larger Malay coins, presumably made for the opium trade.

I have a suspicion that the Malaya and British Borneo dollars were in fact pegged to USD, as its rate was constant at 0.3300 USD. In other words, the currency board reserves may have been largely in USD, rather than in GBP.

Peter
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: Figleaf on May 04, 2018, 01:01:02 AM
The recent history of the Malay peninsula can only be understood through the concept of Bumiputra (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumiputera_(Malaysia)), a Malay person. This concept pits the Malays against immigrants, mostly Chinese and Indians. In practice, it amounts to racial discrimination. This explains why the "loss of power of the sultans" was so important to the Bumiputras. It explains the ambivalent attitude of Bumiputras towards the British, both colonisers and protectors. It explains fierce racial laws that remain strangely un-criticised. Most of all, it explains Singaporean independence, though Singapore instituted its own version, in their case protecting the Chinese majority from other "races".

Peter
Title: Re: The Coinage of Malaya
Post by: <k> on March 20, 2019, 07:31:31 PM
See also:

1] British North Borneo (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,33341.0.html)

2] Coinage of Malaysia (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,44922.0.html)

3] Coinage of Singapore (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,44929.0.html)

4] The British Rajahs of Sarawak (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,33353.0.html)