Scarce large tin boat-money, c.1400-1700s, primitive coinage of Malaysia

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Decorated tin "canoe money" or "boat money", Malay peninsula. Cast tin primitive coin, made in a shape of a canoe or a boat, decorated with a pattern. A large-sized piece, 101mm long and 39.53 grams.

This lot includes a single "boat money" piece, the scans show the actual piece scanned on both sides.

Rare piece, not often seen. For centuries, the tin mines in Malaysia and Indonesia produced large amounts of tin. Nearly all of the pre-Colonial coinage of the region, both conventional and ethnographic forms, was in varying alloys of tin, abundant in the region, and lead, plus copper, ganza, though generally referred to as "tin." References useful for these tin ingot-money include: Singh, Saran The Coins of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei 2nd ed. 1996; various works by Mitchiner, Michael, especially an article The Circulation of Tin in Palembang (Sumatra): It's Monetary and Non-Monetary Functions: Tin and Lead Ingots, Animals and Talismans, J.ONS 2013, pp.25-32; Quiggin, A.H. A Survey of Primitive Money, 1949; Opitz, Charles An Ethnographic Study of Traditional Monies, 2000.

 


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