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Palembang Pitis

Started by cam, December 06, 2015, 06:24:08 PM

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Hi there,

There are 4 Palembang coins:

1. 1 Pitis, Sumatra Buntu, Malay peninsula, 1768, 1.15 g, 22 mm
2. 1 Pitis, Netherlands East Indies, 1803-1812, KM# 11, 1.15 g, 20 mm
3. 1 Pitis, Muhammad Baharuddin, Netherlands East Indies, 1805, KM# 10, 0.8 g, 17 mm
4. 1 Pitis, Muhammad Bahaudin, Netherlands East Indies, 1702, KM# 3, 0.7 g, 15 mm

Value, ruler, KM# etc is my wild guess. Would be great to find out all this info about coins.

Thanks a lot in advance! | World Coins Catalog, Marketplace & Swap Service + Mobile Apps


No 4 has the date AH1193, no 3 AH 0219 as an error for AH 1219, no 2 is undated (Millies # 202f), no 1 is undated, but said to be 1163.


Thanks a lot, Afrasi! Which catalog are you using? | World Coins Catalog, Marketplace & Swap Service + Mobile Apps


Using De Munten van Nederlandsch Indié by Netscher and Van der Chijs (Afrasi apparently uses Millies, both catalogues are old and pretty hard to get):

1. is NvdC 211. Pictured upside down. Text illegible.
2. is NvdC 209. To be turned about 30° anti clockwise. Text illegible.
3. is NvdC 198. To be turned 90° clockwise. Assigned to Susuhan Mahmud Badar ud din.
4. is NvdC 191. Shown correctly. Text illegible.

Where the text is legible, it is usually something like al Sultan fi balad Palembang sanat [date] - the sultan of Palembang year [date].

Though these are official issues, approved by the sultan of Palembang, the production was outsourced to local Chinese, who did not use Arabic script and used Chinese production technology. Your coins are all cast in tin. Such coins were called pitis buntu (holed coins) or pitis teboh (coins without hole. The pitis buntu were strung on rotan to form a string of 500, called a chuchub. The pitis teboh were packaged in leaves by 250 each, called kupat. Both chuchub and kupat were valued in relation to the Spanish real (silver) and Dutch duit (copper). A kupat was valued at 1/16th real or 20 duiten. A chuchub was worth double.

The value of the units was also dependent on the size of the coins. The standard size of the holed coins was around 15 mm. Smaller coins were worth less. The users could not see most coins, as they were either in a bag of leaves or strung very tightly, like a roll of candy. This meant using them was an act of trust on several levels, probably undeserved, but there was little alternative until Dutch money started flowing in in quantity. Mahmud Badar ud din tried to force their circulation with severe penalties for refusing pitis (both he and the Chinese must have profited handsomely from them.)

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


I used my brain and Robinson (2015). I have also both, Millies and Netscher/van der Chijs, in my biblioteque.
In my older KM all these Palembang pieces are missing.


Figleaf, thanks a lot! Lots of information, I'll try to get the whole picture out of it :) | World Coins Catalog, Marketplace & Swap Service + Mobile Apps


1.  Is upside down.   It is British occupation of Palembang 1812-16.   Reads "'Alamat fi beled Palembang dar Inglistan".

cam | World Coins Catalog, Marketplace & Swap Service + Mobile Apps


I hope these Palembang Pitis are of Muhammad Bahauddin and Al-Sultan Fi Beled. But couldn't identify years. Anyone who can help on this please.


Top picture is not very clear. My best guess is that it is NvdC 190, tin, diameter 14 mm. The authors say the legend is: al-sultan fi balad Palembang sanat 1130 - the sultan of the state of Palembang year 1130. I can only see the 3 on your coin.

Bottom picture is NvdC 209. The authors say (on a series of similar types): "the letters are unclear; on some, the word Palembang may be distinguished, but most just show curls and symbols that cannot be read." My guess is that the legend is a very crude imitation of the one on NvdC190, without sanat 1130.

Therefore neither coin can be assigned to a sultan.

NvdC is De munten van Nederlandsch Indië by E. Netscher and J. van dr Chijs, Batavia 1863.

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


Thank you Figleaf, tried to take better pic.


Thank you. NvdC 190 is confirmed.

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