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Pre-modern Southeast Asian coins


TuckHard
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Posted (edited)

Hello everyone!

I just made it over here. Southeast Asian history and coinage drew me in about three years ago and I've been deep in the books and articles ever since. This thread isn't really for all of that, however, I just wanted to create a general thread here for anything from Southeast Asia from the pre-modern period. Anything that is cast, struck, or other odd monies would be a good criteria for it (ie no modern struck coins).

 

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Pyu culture of Myanmar/Burma

Possible Eastern imitation, likely from modern Thailand region- from a Bangkok seller and with imitative features

AR full unit | 9.46 grams | 31mm wide

Circa 400-800 AD

Obv: Rising sun within beaded border

Rev: Srivatsa center with sun and moon above, to the left a swastika, to the right a bhadrapitha

 

 

image.thumb.png.da0a3926fd4e1437d5b3f4c5d5377cfc.png

Pyu city-state of Sriksetra, Myanmar/Burma

AR full unit | 9.87 grams | 30mm wide

Circa 600-700 AD

Obv: Bhadrapitha with five lamps above in a beaded border

Rev: Srivatsa center with sun and moon above, nine dots within, to the left a vajra, to the right a conch

 

 

image.png.646e16c42aad951e7744be001f415faf.png

Pyu city-states of the Gulf of Martaban, Myanmar/Burma

AR bracteate fractional | 0.03 grams (!) | 7mm wide

Circa 600-850 AD

Obv: Flower with four round petals, a center dimple, and light stem

Rev: Repousse of the front

 

 

image.png.6c071e9301c4b16358b393da11b3312d.png

Palembang Sultanate of Sumatra, Indonesia

Tin pitis | 0.50 grams | 17.5x18mm wide

Circa 1658-1710 AD

Obv: Arabic legend Alamat Sultan arranged in four segments around the center hole

Rev: Blank (uniface)

Ref: R#17, Z#293321

 

 

image.thumb.png.bc38995d1943833673031536685e752e.png

Tay Son Dynasty of Vietnam

Issued under Nguyễn Huệ

Brass cash | 1.44 grams | 22.5mm wide

1788-1802 AD

Obv: Quang Trung Thong Bao

Rev: Flower design

Ref: Barker#93.29var

 

 

image.thumb.png.d31afec5632cda2c6ebf89af63eebca6.png

Srivijaya Empire of Sumatra, Indonesia

Circa 800-1300 AD

AV 1/4 Kupang | 0.16 grams | 5mm wide

Obv: Sandalwood flower

Rev: Nagari script Ma character in Sumatran form

 

 

 

Thanks for looking through these and please feel free to share anything relevant or ask any questions! I will probably keep posting the various coins I am working on in this thread if they do not warrant their own. 

Edited by TuckHard
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  • TuckHard changed the title to Pre-modern Southeast Asian coins
23 minutes ago, Kamnaskires said:

Quite interesting. Not an area I collect, but I look forward to returning to this thread as it develops. Thanks for posting.

Glad to share it with someone unfamiliar! Ancient SEAsian coins are pretty understudied and unknown compared to most areas of the world. It's a pretty lively scene! Zeno.ru is probably the best resource for anything from the sultanate periods and trade cash.

Here is another coin, an imitation coin this time, from Palembang that is copying a cash coin issued in the late 1300s by the Ming Dynasty of China. The Hong Wu Tong Bao coin of the Ming was a common and popular coin, flooding port cities across Sumatra, Malaya, and other areas. This was issued some centuries after, probably.

 

image.png.d36c6ce826ee3e1383f3eb389b7f40ef.png

Private mint of Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia

Circa 1500-1700 AD

Tin cash | 0.69 grams | 20mm wide

Obv: Hong Wu Tong Bao

Rev: Blank (uniface)

Ref: Unlisted, see Zeno.ru #293858

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1 hour ago, Petar_rc13 said:

I am really glad we have people in this community that are interested in this area of numismatics.

 

46 minutes ago, Spaniard said:

Very interesting pieces @TuckHard....I look forward to following your posts...Great see you over here by the way.....Paul

Glad to see such a welcoming response! It's definitely my favorite area of coins at the moment, and probably for awhile to come. There is just so much variety to collect and study.

 

 

image.thumb.jpeg.58425113ba54fed85888c2a9bfb7c6f7.jpeg

Korintji (Kerinci) Tribe of Interior Sumatra, Indonesia
Circa 1700-1900 AD
Brass ring money (ringgeld, anye ring) | 2.38 grams | 22mm wide
Ref: Millies#210-211 (see below)

image.png.d0d012983cf11ea30f4b634ed8a8c5c4.png

 

 

 

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Mataram Kingdom (Sailendra, Shailendra) of Central Java, Indonesia
Circa 700-930 AD
AR hacksilver fragments | 5.20 grams total
 

 

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Palembang Sultanate of Sumatra, Indonesia
1804/1805 AD (1219AH)
Tin Pitis
Ref: R#10.3var

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Posted (edited)

As I looked over my collection to decide what I might add to this thread I noticed that @TuckHard has been discussing a coin type that puzzles me.srivijaya-both.jpg

Sumatra, Kingdom of Srivijaya (?) c. 680-1250 (?) later series AR 1/2 unit, 1.29g, 7mm

Obv: Character "Na".  Mitchiner NISW 3058var (or 3885?)

Comparables:

All of these have different fabric.  TuckHard, do you think mine is real or fake?  The only provenance I have is that of a high-volume eBay seller who had a lot of very high quality South American coins.  I have nothing to tie this to Indonesia.  What do you think

Edited by Ed Snible
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54 minutes ago, Ed Snible said:

As I looked over my collection to decide what I might add to this thread I noticed that @TuckHard has been discussing a coin type that puzzles me.srivijaya-both.jpg

Sumatra, Kingdom of Srivijaya (?) c. 680-1250 (?) later series AR 1/2 unit, 1.29g, 7mm

Obv: Character "Na".  Mitchiner NISW 3058var (or 3885?)

Comparables:

All of these have different fabric.  TuckHard, do you think mine is real or fake?  The only provenance I have is that of a high-volume eBay seller who had a lot of very high quality South American coins.  I have nothing to tie this to Indonesia.  What do you think

Hi Ed,

Glad to see this! I remember you shared this on one of my first threads on CT about SE Asian coins. To be honest with you, I really do not know about these. Scott Semans (coincoin.com) has lent me a book covering Namo coins (what you have posted here, also Z#133598 and others). It is in Thai and I've been told the historical details are questionable, to say the least, but it seems evident to me that there is a proper evolution of the Namo coins which led to later types like yours. As for the timeline, I have no idea but I would suggest maybe something like 1700s-1800s AD for your later variety (assuming it is authentic), and something like 1300s/1500s AD for the earliest variety of Namo coins. I really am not sure about these though, I think they are more in the pod duang (bullet coin) territory which I am unfamiliar with. I have been trying to get in touch with any Thai experts or anyone knowledgeable but to no avail. I've seen again and again that many of the fake Namo coins were produced and sold during the Vietnam War era to visiting soldiers. Sorry that I don't really have an answer to your question, but these have stumped me for as long as I have known about them.

As for their tie to Indonesia - these coins have traditionally been attributed to the Kalah Kingdom in the south Malay Peninsula. The book Scott lent me is based off of river hoards supposedly pulled from the Thai city of Nakhon Si Thammarat. This kingdom, and others in the area, were subjugated and brought under sovereignty of the Srivijaya Empire of Sumatra (Indonesia). Attributing these Namo coins to the Srivijaya would be incorrect, I would suggest a Kalah Kingdom during the Srivijaya Period as a more historically accurate title. That is assuming the c. 700-1000 AD date by Mitchiner is accurate, I would opt for a later period like 1300s/1500s for the earliest Namo coins. I am not sure what polity would have been in power at Nakhon Si Thammarat at the time, perhaps Sukhothai? Was it independent? I am not sure. I may also be totally off with the dating of this, as well! I would appreciate any further opinions or thoughts about this.

Below is a map with Nakhon Si Thammarat and Palembang (Srivijaya) highlighted.

image.png.4fb3d65fa1259114640fd2819b62088c.png

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32 minutes ago, TuckHard said:

Scott Semans (coincoin.com) has lent me a book covering Namo coins (what you have posted here, also Z#133598 and others) ....  many of the fake Namo coins were produced and sold during the Vietnam War era to visiting soldiers.

I haven't read Wicks' book.  In his review in JONS, Mitchener suggests "Srivijaya" (or Namo) coins should be nickel rather than silver.  I suppose I could take mine to have it XRF tested.  Do we know what, if any, the metallic composition of the genuine ones is?

I also have a few tin coins.  These are also very mysterious to me.  Here is an example.

jambi-ratou-both.jpg.a562d5c7c72c5995e2aad6733f1c6901.jpg

Sumatra, Jambi (Djambi) Sultanate, tin-lead, 1.38g pitis 22mm

ex-Frank Robinson

The inscription is supposedly ꦱꦿꦶ ꦥꦔꦺꦫꦤ꧀ ꦫꦠꦺ (Sri Pangeran Ratu in Javanese, apparently a title meaning "Revered Crown Prince") but I can't figure out if I see any of those letters or not. 

Similar to Zeno 195611.  That coin is assigned to the date range 1642-1661 AD, but I can't figure out why.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Ed Snible said:

I haven't read Wicks' book.  In his review in JONS, Mitchener suggests "Srivijaya" (or Namo) coins should be nickel rather than silver.  I suppose I could take mine to have it XRF tested.  Do we know what, if any, the metallic composition of the genuine ones is?

I also have a few tin coins.  These are also very mysterious to me.  Here is an example.

jambi-ratou-both.jpg.a562d5c7c72c5995e2aad6733f1c6901.jpg

Sumatra, Jambi (Djambi) Sultanate, tin-lead, 1.38g pitis 22mm

ex-Frank Robinson

The inscription is supposedly ꦱꦿꦶ ꦥꦔꦺꦫꦤ꧀ ꦫꦠꦺ (Sri Pangeran Ratu in Javanese, apparently a title meaning "Revered Crown Prince") but I can't figure out if I see any of those letters or not. 

Similar to Zeno 195611.  That coin is assigned to the date range 1642-1661 AD, but I can't figure out why.

I'm not so sure what the expected alloy should be, let me look at some of the sources that I have and get back to you. One thing to note: my lack of belief in a first millennium AD date for these namo coins was based on me not knowing of any archaeological finds of namo coins. Since then I have learned about the reported river hoards from Nakhon Si Thammarat as well as other reported finds from Surat Thani and Phitsanulok. That makes me rethink my assumption there, perhaps these are truly ancient and date to the late centuries of the first millennium. Tomorrow I will share some bits from the Thai book about namo coins, specifically the oldest variety of namo coins. Yours is definitely a later period one, I just don't know how late.

 

As for your Jambi pitis, that thing is very nice! Thanks for sharing. Sometime you should get some good photos of it for Zeno, it would be worth recording a high quality piece like that. I'm not too familiar with Jambi pitis, I have a handful but they have long confused me. Someday I will give them a proper effort. I looked at your piece and it is a perfect match to Z#195611, you mentioned. I pieced together this much of the legend from the one on Zeno, it lines up pretty good but there seems to be some pieces missing or out of place, although that is probably expected. I'm sure I also misplaced or misread some of this legend, I'm not good with these Jambi pitis at all. The linguistic and script differences with the ever-changing Arabic on the tin pitis of the region is pretty overwhelming. I tend to just accept what I find on Zeno and hope the experts there have it right. Dating is also confusing to me but I understand that much of it is based on the various honorific titles that the Sultans and other rulers used. Most tin coins of the area are not dated or attributed to a specific ruler, just often titles like "The Just Ruler" and a handful of others.

image.thumb.png.5c9988a36a2a675200f6648b67e24588.png

Edited by TuckHard
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Glad to see a thread on this mysterious topic!  Other than some Palembang pitis and Vietnamese coins I got from Frank Robinson (no photos unfortunately) I have very few coins from this part of the world.  Here are two that I love, though:

Beikthano, Pyu city states, c. 5th century CE, AR unit (96 ratti), 9.47g and 31mm (nice and hefty!):

image.thumb.jpeg.84906f5b37162b286cb2c20902cc0efb.jpeg

 

And from Burma, Kingdom of Srikshetra, a 1/4 unit (scarce) dating to c. 800-832, Wicks Class D (makes it sound like I know what I'm talking about, but I don't):

image.thumb.jpeg.e894e0dcb1de9afa9dcd25bff143a9ab.jpeg

I love your Ming imitation coin, @TuckHard!

 

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@TuckHard thanks for breaking the inscription down for me.

My frustration with understanding Bgriff's dating on Zeno 195611 is that this coin is in the "Early Sultanate Period c. 1610-61" and he says "The king's title was Pangeran until at least 1721."  It isn't clear at all why this particular coin is to be dated "Sri Pangeran Ratu 1642-c. 1661".  Perhaps I need to read through some JONS articles?

One of my interests is getting the inscription into the computer.  I notice many numismatic sites skip non-Western inscriptions, or use them as images.  Neither Zeno nor CoinTalk allows Javanese in posts, but even sites that allow these languages don't use them.

I've gotten close to Bgriff's inscription.  I am struggling with the first part.

Wikipedia calls this "adeg-adeg (a starter)".  Does Bgriff see this on a coin, or did this get copied out of a catalog like a bullet?

ꦱꦿꦶ I don't know what this is, I've seen it used for "SRI".  Bgriff uses something that looks like a combo of ꦫꦶ "JAVANESE LETTER RA with JAVANESE VOWEL SIGN WULU" and ꦰꦶ "JAVANESE LETTER SA MAHAPRA with JAVANESE VOWEL SIGN WULU".  I can't figure out how to get that into the computer.

Next is ꦥꦔꦺꦫꦤ꧀ ꦫꦎ.  In my post above the last glyph was ꦠꦺ "JAVANESE LETTER TA with JAVANESE VOWEL SIGN TALING" but now I am using ꦎ "JAVANESE LETTER O".

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Severus Alexander said:

Glad to see a thread on this mysterious topic!  Other than some Palembang pitis and Vietnamese coins I got from Frank Robinson (no photos unfortunately) I have very few coins from this part of the world.  Here are two that I love, though:

Beikthano, Pyu city states, c. 5th century CE, AR unit (96 ratti), 9.47g and 31mm (nice and hefty!):

image.thumb.jpeg.84906f5b37162b286cb2c20902cc0efb.jpeg

 

And from Burma, Kingdom of Srikshetra, a 1/4 unit (scarce) dating to c. 800-832, Wicks Class D (makes it sound like I know what I'm talking about, but I don't):

image.thumb.jpeg.e894e0dcb1de9afa9dcd25bff143a9ab.jpeg

I love your Ming imitation coin, @TuckHard!

 

These are super lovely Burmese silver coins of the ancient Pyu city-states, very nice examples too! The first one is particularly stunning, it is the earliest variety of the Rising Sun series. This type has been reattributed in recent years by Dietrich Mahlo to the Pyu city of Halin. The earliest variety, which yours is, has been reported only from that immediate area if I remember correctly while the various imitative types (like my first coin in the opening post) have been discovered widely across Myanmar/Burma and Thailand, and even as far away as south Vietnam and far south Thailand. The second coin also has been slightly adjusted from Wicks by Mahlo; he puts it around three hundred years earlier than Wicks. I will give both below. If anyone is interested in understanding these amazing early Myanmar coins, I really cannot recommend Mahlo's book enough. It's such an impressive work.

Rising Sun: Pyu city-state of Halin, c. early 400s AD, full unit, ref: Mahlo 8a.1

Bhadrapitha: Pyu city-state of Sriksetra, c. 500s AD, quarter unit, ref: Mahlo 13.5

image.jpeg.318d3b29e7ab15cda9df8a2b113b2d2b.jpeg

Glad you like that tin Ming imitation, as well!

7 hours ago, Ed Snible said:

@TuckHard thanks for breaking the inscription down for me.

My frustration with understanding Bgriff's dating on Zeno 195611 is that this coin is in the "Early Sultanate Period c. 1610-61" and he says "The king's title was Pangeran until at least 1721."  It isn't clear at all why this particular coin is to be dated "Sri Pangeran Ratu 1642-c. 1661".  Perhaps I need to read through some JONS articles?

One of my interests is getting the inscription into the computer.  I notice many numismatic sites skip non-Western inscriptions, or use them as images.  Neither Zeno nor CoinTalk allows Javanese in posts, but even sites that allow these languages don't use them.

I've gotten close to Bgriff's inscription.  I am struggling with the first part.

Wikipedia calls this "adeg-adeg (a starter)".  Does Bgriff see this on a coin, or did this get copied out of a catalog like a bullet?

ꦱꦿꦶ I don't know what this is, I've seen it used for "SRI".  Bgriff uses something that looks like a combo of ꦫꦶ "JAVANESE LETTER RA with JAVANESE VOWEL SIGN WULU" and ꦰꦶ "JAVANESE LETTER SA MAHAPRA with JAVANESE VOWEL SIGN WULU".  I can't figure out how to get that into the computer.

Next is ꦥꦔꦺꦫꦤ꧀ ꦫꦎ.  In my post above the last glyph was ꦠꦺ "JAVANESE LETTER TA with JAVANESE VOWEL SIGN TALING" but now I am using ꦎ "JAVANESE LETTER O".

 

You raise good questions about the dating and attribution- I'm really not too sure either. Bgriff seems to understand it more than anyone, and you seem to understand it more than me even. Looking for the ꧋ character/glyph I think I perhaps see it attached at 9 o'clock: the right portion of what I outlined in red earlier as #1. Scripts and languages are not my specialty, although I have a lot of respect for the battle here.

Sometime I need to bust my Jambi pitis out of their 2x2s to get better photos.

 

image.thumb.png.870ffbe9a1b71b253a85c4051ca5b86e.png

Jambi Sultanate of Sumatra, Indonesia
Circa 1590-1620 AD
Tin pitis | 0.93 grams | 19mm wide
Obv: Raj Chanpi ?
Rev: Blank (uniface)
Ex. Frank S Robinson Pricelist #136, November 2020, with additional found provenance from the two sources prior to FSR for this

image.thumb.jpeg.419d00c227a900c83495922577837040.jpeg

Jambi Sultanate of Sumatra, Indonesia
Circa 1743-1790 AD
Tin pitis
Obv: Sultan Anum Sri Ingalaga
Rev: Blank (uniface)

Edited by TuckHard
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5 hours ago, Ed Snible said:

@TuckHard thanks for breaking the inscription down for me.

My frustration with understanding Bgriff's dating on Zeno 195611 is that this coin is in the "Early Sultanate Period c. 1610-61" and he says "The king's title was Pangeran until at least 1721."  It isn't clear at all why this particular coin is to be dated "Sri Pangeran Ratu 1642-c. 1661".  Perhaps I need to read through some JONS articles?

One of my interests is getting the inscription into the computer.  I notice many numismatic sites skip non-Western inscriptions, or use them as images.  Neither Zeno nor CoinTalk allows Javanese in posts, but even sites that allow these languages don't use them.

I've gotten close to Bgriff's inscription.  I am struggling with the first part.

Wikipedia calls this "adeg-adeg (a starter)".  Does Bgriff see this on a coin, or did this get copied out of a catalog like a bullet?

ꦱꦿꦶ I don't know what this is, I've seen it used for "SRI".  Bgriff uses something that looks like a combo of ꦫꦶ "JAVANESE LETTER RA with JAVANESE VOWEL SIGN WULU" and ꦰꦶ "JAVANESE LETTER SA MAHAPRA with JAVANESE VOWEL SIGN WULU".  I can't figure out how to get that into the computer.

Next is ꦥꦔꦺꦫꦤ꧀ ꦫꦎ.  In my post above the last glyph was ꦠꦺ "JAVANESE LETTER TA with JAVANESE VOWEL SIGN TALING" but now I am using ꦎ "JAVANESE LETTER O".

 

This coin is attributed to a particular king, as it is within a sequence of rulers.    It is documented this ruler enlarged the size of the pitis and began that shortly after reaching the age to rule directly.    Before that was a period of regency when the queen (Ratu Mas) ruled directly.   That corresponds to the smaller pitis reading "Picis Jambi" with no title.   

The inscription is both crude and stylized, but legible.    It is similar to that used on one type at Banten, also a large tin coin usually attributed to Siak, but maybe not correctly.    "Sri" is composed as a stacked pair of consonants, then with the loop changing the inherent vowel 'a' to 'i'.   But what's on the coin is just a fragment.    There are a couple possible ways to compose it.    The two vertical bars mark the beginning of the inscription.    They are not clear on my coin, but are on yours.   You have the letters shifted by one.     ꧋  (Sri)   ꦥ Pa  ꦔꦺ Nge  ꦫ Ra  ꦤ꧀ N    ꦫ Ra ꦸ Tu  .   On later issues Ratu is spelled Rato (I transliterate as ratou).

This ꦱꦿꦶ is also a way to write 'sri', and ought to have been used.    The supposed Siak tin coin has 'sri' written more fully, as the two consonants stacked.    What I show uses a formal form of 'sa' with its initial loop suppressed, not a reliable interpretation, just a guess.    OK I see you actually figured that out!    To enter in a computer, if it

supports  ꦱꦿꦶ then by all means use it.    Jambi pitis use more or less the Bali version of Javanese, which has smaller initial loops, sometimes just a knob.  My computer does not support the Balinese form.

Ruler names are a big headache.   Each prince had a given name, but that didn't always get recorded.   When the Dutch and English established their settlements at Jambi, at the same time, the elderly ruler was titled "the Panembahan" meaning honored gentleman.   His name is not known.   Technically Jambi was a raj, vassal to a ruler in Java.    The local tradition was to have co-ruling father and son, with the son taking on daily routine tsks, including coining, and the elder doing statecraft.   Gradually the elder went into retirement, as the next generation came up.   'Pangeran' means prince, with a multitude of ranks.   Ratu means queen.   Pangeran Ratu means prince by the queen.   In some cases it was the elder, in others the younger prince.    In the late 1620's, the Panembahan died, then in rapid succession a couple of his sons and grandsons, from smallpox.   The wife of one of the sons ended up ruling in her own name for about 15 years.    

As things went along, the eldest retired king was designated a sultan, purely as an honor, when their overlords in Mataram became weak.   Then the active younger king was designated a sultan.    As such each was given an Arabic name.    Those give us something to use for a name.   Below pangeran ratu was pangeran dipati, which could mean a second son, or a grandson.   Sometimes a prince had a unique "pangeran" title.

About 1687 the lineage was split into two brothers against each other.  That went on into the 1700's, and really confuses things.   One ruled the downstream town where the Dutch were.   The other ruled the upstream interior.    Repeated attempts to reconcile that failed.   Finally one line completely died out with no heirs.    

 

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3 hours ago, TuckHard said:

These are super lovely Burmese silver coins of the ancient Pyu city-states, very nice examples too! The first one is particularly stunning, it is the earliest variety of the Rising Sun series. This type has been reattributed in recent years by Dietrich Mahlo to the Pyu city of Halin. The earliest variety, which yours is, has been reported only from that immediate area if I remember correctly while the various imitative types (like my first coin in the opening post) have been discovered widely across Myanmar/Burma and Thailand, and even as far away as south Vietnam and far south Thailand. The second coin also has been slightly adjusted from Wicks by Mahlo; he puts it around three hundred years earlier than Wicks. I will give both below. If anyone is interested in understanding these amazing early Myanmar coins, I really cannot recommend Mahlo's book enough. It's such an impressive work.

Rising Sun: Pyu city-state of Halin, c. early 400s AD, full unit, ref: Mahlo 8a.1

Bhadrapitha: Pyu city-state of Sriksetra, c. 500s AD, quarter unit, ref: Mahlo 13.5

Thanks so much for the revised attributions, @TuckHard!  For some reason I can't see the image below what you wrote though, just this:image.thumb.jpeg.3d326960a9d9e27ab2b62e9901e6a7f4.jpeg

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25 minutes ago, Severus Alexander said:

Thanks so much for the revised attributions, @TuckHard!  For some reason I can't see the image below what you wrote though, just this:image.thumb.jpeg.3d326960a9d9e27ab2b62e9901e6a7f4.jpeg

It should show now, I just included Mahlo's book cover.

Here's a Chinese cash coin that was recovered from the Musi River in Palembang, Sumatra, present-day Indonesia. The imported Chinese cash made up the bulk of coinage in the area for centuries from c. 1200/1300 AD until the 1700/1800s when local tin coinages and colonial bronze overtook them as the dominant small change. Some areas, like Bali, retained use of the Chinese cash coins until the mid 1900s.

image.thumb.jpeg.cadc8e3af83f01288f1c9e2d6fcf27bf.jpeg

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1 hour ago, TuckHard said:

Here's a Chinese cash coin that was recovered from the Musi River in Palembang, Sumatra, present-day Indonesia. The imported Chinese cash made up the bulk of coinage in the area for centuries from c. 1200/1300 AD until the 1700/1800s

Do you have any idea where I might get an example known to have come from such a hoard?  PM me if preferred.  Thx!

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31 minutes ago, Severus Alexander said:

Do you have any idea where I might get an example known to have come from such a hoard?  PM me if preferred.  Thx!

I sent you a PM but the Indonesian river cash coins are probably the largest source for Chinese cash right now since China limits exports of them, if I recall correctly. The great numismatist Werner Burger started his studies based off of a hoard from Indonesia, although I think those were from Java or Bali but I might be wrong about that. Tons  (literal) of Chinese cash are found in Palembang and East Java commonly.

Here's another Northern Song Dynasty coin found in Palembang that is over 1000 years old.

image.png.ab903c8aae62d5f555ec650376ca240a.png

Northern Song Dynasty of China

990-994 AD

Obv: Chun Hua Yuan Bao

Rev: Blank

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Thank you for your long reply, @bgriff.  Is there a catalog of sultanate cash coins?  I have Frank Robinson's pamphlet but it only covers Palembang.  I have heard of a book by Saran Singh but I do not own it.  Or a historical guide that is better than Wikipedia but not someone's long dissertation either.

I have a number of these coins, with Javanese and Arabic inscriptions.  I don't know anyone who collects them so I have no one to ask about them.

This one troubles me because it looks better than the other examples I have seen.  Does anyone here know how to tell genuine from modern?

bantam-both.jpg.417aac0e495e96d92eae5dbeeee66a05.jpg

Java, Bantam, Pangaran Ratu, 1570-1580 AD?, 5 Pitis Cash, 31 mm
Inscription: Pangeran Ratou in Javanese / Pa-N-Ga-Ra-N Ra-Tu
Ref: Millies 112; Zeno 195540
Note that coin coin resembles Zeno 6844, which may be counterfeit. Also resembles this coin which is genuine.

terengganu-both.jpg.2d6e72ec22669b53ff078198c1087418.jpg

Malaysia, Terengganu Sultanate, 1835-1925? 2.22g 20mm
Arabic / Jawi Kali Malik Al Adil (= The reign of the just ruler) كالي مالك العادل
Ref: Saran Singh, The Catalogue of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Coins (1700-1974) #33, Numista, Zeno, malay-coins.tripod.com
Extremely high grade and has a center pellet.

(I don't own the Singh catalog.)

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2 hours ago, Ed Snible said:

Thank you for your long reply, @bgriff.  Is there a catalog of sultanate cash coins?  I have Frank Robinson's pamphlet but it only covers Palembang.  I have heard of a book by Saran Singh but I do not own it.  Or a historical guide that is better than Wikipedia but not someone's long dissertation either.

I have a number of these coins, with Javanese and Arabic inscriptions.  I don't know anyone who collects them so I have no one to ask about them.

This one troubles me because it looks better than the other examples I have seen.  Does anyone here know how to tell genuine from modern?

bantam-both.jpg.417aac0e495e96d92eae5dbeeee66a05.jpg

Java, Bantam, Pangaran Ratu, 1570-1580 AD?, 5 Pitis Cash, 31 mm
Inscription: Pangeran Ratou in Javanese / Pa-N-Ga-Ra-N Ra-Tu
Ref: Millies 112; Zeno 195540
Note that coin coin resembles Zeno 6844, which may be counterfeit. Also resembles this coin which is genuine.

terengganu-both.jpg.2d6e72ec22669b53ff078198c1087418.jpg

Malaysia, Terengganu Sultanate, 1835-1925? 2.22g 20mm
Arabic / Jawi Kali Malik Al Adil (= The reign of the just ruler) كالي مالك العادل
Ref: Saran Singh, The Catalogue of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Coins (1700-1974) #33, Numista, Zeno, malay-coins.tripod.com
Extremely high grade and has a center pellet.

(I don't own the Singh catalog.)

The Saran Singh book is all but impossible to obtain as a paper copy.    Everybody has an electronic version.    It does not cover territory included in modern Indonesia, ergo not Sumatra.    For Jambi, Millies is used, which shows some that are now rare, but is missing many that are now common.   Jambi pitis tend to show up

in quantity, then not be seen for years again.   Probably because of river dredging.   Local people comb through dredging sludge meticulously for coins and artifacts.

Several previously unknown types, but attributable, turned up over the last few years.

Scott Semans has quantities of sea-salvage N. Song cash from near Palembang, more or less dead stock.    I just went through 100-coin samples of 4 different site pickings.    One was about half later trade cash.   Most in badly corroded condition.   One was better grade N. Song but completely picked over.    Two lots were awful condition.   A portion of what commonly would be attributed as original N. Song among those may have been later.   Distribution of reign titles was skewed.   The hoard must date to no later than 1575 from the coins present.   A mid-1600's common Song imitation series, pest coins really, were not present.   

Re Jambi, there is a book from 1993 by Barbara Andaya:  'To Live as Brothers, Southeast Sumatra in the 17th and 18th centuries' which is a trove of information.   The "two brothers" are Jambi and Palembang.   No catalog I know of covers Jambi pitis.    If you are looking at the Wikipedia coverage for Javanese writing, it is very good.   The coin inscriptions do not use all that complexity.    I tried to make Zeno useful as a Jambi catalog, but it has mistakes the admin doesn't want to re-work.   He also asked for writing out of all inscriptions, as on the coins, to post under category headings but then didn't use them.   A problem with the Frank Robinson booklet is no written out inscriptions, which are Arabic, at least more familiar and accessible then Javanese.    A parallel booklet for Jambi would have to explain the writing, the complicated history,

etc.   

Lettering below:   "Ja-n-br-haj" is what it looks like, but probably is intended 'Cha-n-pi-raj'.   The local Chinese for "Jambi" would have been "Champi" or "Chanpi".

 

    1012025128_AllJavaneseletteringfinished.thumb.jpg.10114acc0cfe0c7fe31a8310184f4d70.jpg 

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17 hours ago, Ed Snible said:

 

bantam-both.jpg.417aac0e495e96d92eae5dbeeee66a05.jpg

Java, Bantam, Pangaran Ratu, 1570-1580 AD?, 5 Pitis Cash, 31 mm
Inscription: Pangeran Ratou in Javanese / Pa-N-Ga-Ra-N Ra-Tu
Ref: Millies 112; Zeno 195540
Note that coin coin resembles Zeno 6844, which may be counterfeit. Also resembles this coin which is genuine.

I cannot speak about the authenticity of the Bantam coins, but your coin highlighted something interesting! The coin features low relief fragments of a box or four lines arranged as a square between the two reverse rims. What's up with that? Z#6844 which you shared seems to maybe have the same feature, although in even lower relief. Perhaps that is just die finishing effects. I have not seen this feature on a Bantam coin, though.

14 hours ago, bgriff said:

Lettering below:   "Ja-n-br-haj" is what it looks like, but probably is intended 'Cha-n-pi-raj'.   The local Chinese for "Jambi" would have been "Champi" or "Chanpi". 

This chart is very helpful, thank you for sharing it!

 

Here is a map of Bantam (Banten), near the northwest end of Java close to the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra.

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And here is my Bantam Sultanate coin! I got this off of eBay where it was misidentified as a Japanese coin. I probably still overpaid (I think around $10 or 15), given the low quality, but I was still happy to get myself a budget Bantam bronze. I pulled the date from Z#214241 which cites a Mitchiner article and bases it off of the title used on these coins and known Bantam kings. 

 

image.png.0f66e342b4bc741299bcb42c56b3cf79.pngimage.png.546564908fad19ed56fa7f0f35d56d1d.png

Bantam Sultanate (Banten) of Java, Indonesia
1546-1596 AD
Bronze cash | 2.28 grams | 24mm wide
Obv: Pangeran Ratou
Rev: Ja
See this coin on Zeno, Z#258445

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Ed Snible said:

terengganu-both.jpg.2d6e72ec22669b53ff078198c1087418.jpg

Malaysia, Terengganu Sultanate, 1835-1925? 2.22g 20mm
Arabic / Jawi Kali Malik Al Adil (= The reign of the just ruler) كالي مالك العادل
Ref: Saran Singh, The Catalogue of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Coins (1700-1974) #33, Numista, Zeno, malay-coins.tripod.com
Extremely high grade and has a center pellet.

(I don't own the Singh catalog.)

These are also a fun series that I do not know too much about them but yours is a nice weight, one documented by Singh. I have a half pitis (SS32), which is 0.48 grams, as well as three full pitis pieces (SS33) which are 0.88, 1.15, and 1.42 grams. Singh's example weight is 1.10 grams but he also gives two larger ones, a 2.20 and 3.80 gram piece. Are these a two and four pitis denominations? They seem to be conveniently close to 2x and 4x weight, which makes sense when there is already a documented 1/2x weight denomination. See Z#83567 for another 2x weight of 2.25 grams. I'm not sure if there is much discussion of there Terengganu pitis outside of Singh's catalog.

For anyone not familiar with these cast coins of Southeast Asia, the weights of individual coins can often be off-weight in either direction due to their production method. Taken in numbers, however, trends and weight denominations clearly emerge in some series.

 

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image.png.5c1ec1b0f7fa991e1e85e9060ecc8323.png

 

 

image.thumb.png.98d1f66b7033b6a4702c88665a7991eb.png

Terengganu Sultanate of the Malay Peninsula, Malaysia
c. 1775-1825 AD
Tin half pitis | 0.48 grams
Obv: Kali Malik Al Adil
Rev: Blank (uniface)
Ref: SS32

image.png.3b5a8411a9013d1c69d7112ab84154f0.png

Terengganu Sultanate of the Malay Peninsula, Malaysia
c. 1775-1825 AD
Tin pitis | 1.15 grams | 21mm wide
Obv: Kali Malik Al Adil
Rev: Blank (uniface)
Ref: SS33

Edited by TuckHard
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I don't have many SE Asian coins, but that's definitely an interesting area. A bit intimidating too - so much variety and obscure coinage!

image.thumb.jpeg.d5a9bf5420fd63d736c2ff60e79ce193.jpeg

Annam, "An Phap" cash, Thiên Phù Nguyên Báo (天符元寶), 16th-17th century. 20mm, 1.10g.

It is really paper thin, no wonder it has a crack.

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Palembang, Sultan Muhammad Bahauddin, Pitis (1789, AH1203).

A very common pitis.

image.thumb.jpeg.1b20132ea42c4d8a981e87b6475ed5a7.jpeg

Myanmar, Pyu States, Hailin AR 96 Ratti. Imitating types of Striksetra. Circa 400-600. Bhadrapitha throne with three lanterns above / Srivatsa (mark of good fortune), conch shell within. Numista # 259078; Mitchiner, SEA 424-425. 10.21g, 30mm.

Combined2.jpg

And a last one (I should take better pics of it) : Myanmar, Pegu, lead coin/token (28mm, 17.12g). Zeno #268674.

You noted : "The crude style of the dotted border as well as the style of the bird are quite similar to Z#60308, although this example is quite a bit heavier. It should be noted that there is little weight standardization with these lead coins. Two additional examples that are similar to this coin (and Z#60308) are found in the bonus CD within the book "The Evolution of Thai Money: From its Origins in Ancient Kingdoms" by Ronachai Krisadaolarn; his examples are given the weights of 13.97 and 15.96 grams. He lists the two similar examples in a file named "TenasserimBirds28Nov2013" within the folder "Tenasserim-Pegu&SimilarTokens", but does not give any additional details. Similar patina and appearance are found on all four examples of this style."

I wonder : what is an approximate datation for this type of coins? Is there any consensus about it? I only have very few documentation about it.

 

 

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On 6/2/2022 at 4:32 PM, Lhevae said:

I don't have many SE Asian coins, but that's definitely an interesting area. A bit intimidating too - so much variety and obscure coinage!

image.thumb.jpeg.d5a9bf5420fd63d736c2ff60e79ce193.jpeg

Annam, "An Phap" cash, Thiên Phù Nguyên Báo (天符元寶), 16th-17th century. 20mm, 1.10g.

It is really paper thin, no wonder it has a crack.

I totally agree with you, the field is completely intimidating to anyone who isn't already familiar. There is so much variety and odd monies. I would suggest Mitchiner's 1998 book The History and Coinage of South East Asia Until the Fifteenth Century to anyone who enjoys comprehensive catalogs. It's hard to find and is missing quite a bit of more current information, particularly of the island kingdoms, but it still stands as the best overall source for the ancient period of the region. A good runner up would be Wicks' book Money, Markets, and Trade in Early Southeast Asia for anyone looking for a good historical source, not a catalog, that pulls almost every historical and ancient mention, archaeological finds, etc. of coin use in ancient Southeast Asia. 

Your An-Phap trade coin is really nice, I don't have that inscription type yet. That red patina with the almost-blue highlights is a good look for it. I see a star (dot) at 10:30 between Thien and Bao; that's neat! I didn't see that feature on any of the nineteen examples of this type on Zeno. What is the standard reference for these trade cash? I'm not very familiar with Annam/Vietnam cash yet.

On 6/2/2022 at 4:32 PM, Lhevae said:

image.thumb.jpeg.a088a23cf96067b9c1434835a5e042ab.jpeg

Palembang, Sultan Muhammad Bahauddin, Pitis (1789, AH1203).

A very common pitis.

A common tin pitis but a lovely one, as well. I have a soft spot for these Palembang pitis; it's what drew me into all of the region's history and coinage in the first place.

On 6/2/2022 at 4:32 PM, Lhevae said:

image.thumb.jpeg.1b20132ea42c4d8a981e87b6475ed5a7.jpeg

Myanmar, Pyu States, Hailin AR 96 Ratti. Imitating types of Striksetra. Circa 400-600. Bhadrapitha throne with three lanterns above / Srivatsa (mark of good fortune), conch shell within. Numista # 259078; Mitchiner, SEA 424-425. 10.21g, 30mm.

This is a really nice example of Mahlo's #48.2 type. He covers this in his Middle-period Pyu coins (Upper and Central Burma) section (pg. 101-108). I will include some of what he writes about this type (No. 48) below. He mostly avoids attributing directly to Halin (Hailin) but writes they are generally found as chance finds from many villages, Halin included, around the region of Mandalay. Halin seems to be an easy, obvious choice to attribute but it may be more nuanced. This coin series seems to lack any good finds from a context which would allow for a more concrete conclusion.

"There are barely any known find sites for No. 47. Nos. 47 and 48 were found together simultaneously, and seem to belong to a neighbouring or even the same region. No. 48 is found especially in a wide area around present-day Mandalay. We have no information as to where the coin authorities for these specimens resided and what induced them to break with the tradition of their area, which was defined by Halin coins, and to adopt the (probably outdated) coin design of a city-state around 500 km away. It is not known whether the cities were part of an alliance or in some kind of vassal relationship. Even if we consider that the find site for these coins were linked with Sri Ksetra by means of the Irrawaddy, optically — and thus politically — the two coin types exhibit a conspicuous, demonstrative contradiction to the area’s previously customary coin types. [. . .] Chance finds [of No. 48] are reported from: Halin, Shwebo, Tagaung, Myittha, Maingmaw, Myingyan, Wadi, Amarapura, Maymyo, and the village of Kyat Su Kyin near Yesagyo. [. . .] Nos. 47 and 48 could, perhaps, be seen as belonging to the fifth or sixth century. However, a solitary discovery whose composition is not precisely documented cannot be regarded as sufficient evidence, which makes this tentative dating very uncertain". - from Mahlo's book mentioned above.

On 6/2/2022 at 4:32 PM, Lhevae said:

Combined2.jpg

And a last one (I should take better pics of it) : Myanmar, Pegu, lead coin/token (28mm, 17.12g). Zeno #268674.

You noted : "The crude style of the dotted border as well as the style of the bird are quite similar to Z#60308, although this example is quite a bit heavier. It should be noted that there is little weight standardization with these lead coins. Two additional examples that are similar to this coin (and Z#60308) are found in the bonus CD within the book "The Evolution of Thai Money: From its Origins in Ancient Kingdoms" by Ronachai Krisadaolarn; his examples are given the weights of 13.97 and 15.96 grams. He lists the two similar examples in a file named "TenasserimBirds28Nov2013" within the folder "Tenasserim-Pegu&SimilarTokens", but does not give any additional details. Similar patina and appearance are found on all four examples of this style."

I wonder : what is an approximate datation for this type of coins? Is there any consensus about it? I only have very few documentation about it.

As far as I know, there hasn't really been any improvements in the academic sense about these coins since Robinson's book The Lead and Tin Coins of Pegu and Tenasserim. I checked that out from the ANA Library but can't seem to find my notes/photos from it as it wasn't a prime focus for me at the time, hopefully I have those files somewhere though. There has been a ton of coins (or are these tokens?) from Pegu and Tenasserim that sold via SARC in recent years, many plate coins from Robinson. Hopefully someone involved or interested can put together something more current with everything new. I'm really not too current or up to date with these either, so I'd love to be corrected and guided to anything more helpful!

As a related note about your Pegu lead coin, I also have one (a different, smaller type) which has puzzled me about its age. I think these are generally believed to be 1600s AD or later, but the seller of my coin told me that this example was reportedly discovered at the Kanbawzathadi Palace in Pegu (Bago) which burned down in 1599 AD. The seller was at least involved with those academically involved and he told me they trusted the sourced. I can't really verify that, of course, but is worth noting.

 

image.png.ac8f2df00e119830d1159061570c4331.pngimage.png.f5c6c049323637876def6c29e661bdea.png

Anonymous Issuer of Pegu (Bago) of Myanmar (Burma)
c. late 1500s-1600s AD
Lead coin | 4.44 grams | 22mm wide | 1-2mm thick
Obv: Peacock standing right within border of at least 35 dots
Obv: Mostly blank, traces of an off-centered border design with diamond shapes
Reported from the Kanbawzathadi Palace in Pegu (Bago)
Ex. SAKAI Toshiaki of Yamagata, Japan (Jan. 2021), Pairuch Yama-aram of Thailand (Feb. 2006)

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