This Paper is presented by the MAM, member of International Committee Of Money & Banking Museum (ICOMON), ICOM, UNESCO, held at Beijing, PRC on 14-18 October 2002 By TC Chan & Tony Lye, Member of MAM Board & ICOMON

The Malacca early 15th century trading currency, as far as MAM is concerned, according to our academic and archaeological research and database shown, was mostly found at early 1970, when development projects were implemented along the St. Paul Hill, along the Jalan Laksamana, Jalan Merdeka, Jalan Quayside, Jalan Gereja, along the seafronts of Malacca Straits, like in Pulau Besar & Upeh,Taman Melaka Raya, Kota Laksamana, Parkson Parade, Pulau Melaka & etc. :-

Its Typical Characteristics & Chronology of Finding In Malacca as follow…….

(A) Public Bank was built in 1971, at Jalan Laksamana, those earth excavated and moved to Semamok Malacca Municipality Council (MPM)'s rubbish dumping center, the first bunch of 15th century Malacca Sultanate tin coinages and Portuguese Bastardo was discovered;

(B) along the Riverside of Sg. Melaka, Jalan Quayside surrounding the Kg. Hulu area, those early 15th century of Malacca Sultanate coins and Bastardo was found;

(C) the biggest discovery are along the seafront of present Parkson Parade/Mahkota Center (at the 80 acres of reclamation land, in 1983), not only Malacca Sultanate and Portuguese coins were found, but also those Ming ceramic and celadon was discovered;

(D) Those development projects held in Pulau Besar, Pulau Upeh and Islands surrounding the Pulau Nangka and along the Portuguese Settlement, to Kota Laksamana, were the biggest discovery of those 15th-18th century artifacts and underwater cultural property, especially of those animal shaped tin coins, like crocodile & toitoise in big, mediaum and small sizes……Ming & Qin celadon and ceramics are also found.

(E) Porjects of Pulau Melaka, Kota Laksamana, Melaka Raya , Housing & property projects along the seafront of Malacca Straits, Merdeka Square and etc are built on the 700-1000 Year Old Cultural Corridor, are found with many discovery of artifacts, WITHOUT proper control & management of relevant authorities, even without their knowledge!

(F) Fishermen community from Portuguese Settlement, also from Tg. Kling, Klebang Besar, Klebang Kecil, Tengkera and along the seafronts of Straits of Malacca, since early '60 - '90 are the important sources of finding these cultural property from our 15th to 18th century at those cultural corridor of Malacca City!

(G) We still not yet taking into account of those professional institutions and individual organizations for the shipwrecks excavation and artifacts recovery, like Diana in early '80 and Sten Sjostrand, Swedish excavator cum archaeologist for Royal Nanhai, Xuante, Turing, Nanyang, Longquan, and etc wrecks found with relevant lead and tin mixed currency, which can dating to early 14th century, like Bidor is one of them, are commonly used and circulated in this region at that time!

(H) The above discovery and finding of the Malacca cultural property, either excavated from property developments or from shipwrecks excavated from Straits of Malacca and South China Sea, since early '80 - '90, always we found that those 700 - 300 Year old Malacca currency, are closely attached with China , India, Western cultural and religion influence, why? Also, most significantly finding is, some of them are found on Islamic cultural assets and currency, dating to early 15th century, why?

(I) Now, MAM will have to invite all to explore in this Time Capsule…….Story begin…, from 7th century to 15th century till what we know of today………..this is the basic understanding for all parties to know, what is our Malacca Cultural Property and Heritage? Why it happened? How to preserve, to manage, to promote it as our Malaysia and Malacca national heritage and cultural property……….? This is our main reason to present this paper, for all parties to help, to support us, just to make our history and culture in better control and management.

'Malayu', 'Ma li yu cul', 'Malayur'…. > Is Malacca or Melaka Today ? Which Is Which?

In 1292 the Marcos Polo, who passed through the Straits of Malacca….on his way home from China, visited Sumatra, "Ferlec" the first port they entered, now has been identified as Perlak. From Perlak, the Polos went to Samutra…in its immediate vicinity have been found the oldest relics, in the form of tombstones, of the Mohammedan sultanate of Samudra….the Blessed Odoric of Pordenone, who passed that way in 1323; Ibn Batuta in 1345-6; Prapanca who composed the Nagarakertagama in 1365…

In 1918, Ferrand put forward an ingenious argument in support of Gaspar Correa's statement in Lendas da India that when the Portuguese arrived Malacca had already been in existence for more than seven centuries. He identified Malacca with Marco Polo's "Malayur", which he placed on the Peninsula, and with "Ma-li-yu-cul" which, according to the Chinese account, was attacked by the T'sai of Sukhot'ai I and before 1295! But, in 1921, G.P. Rouffaer attacked Ferrand's thesis, he argued that both names referred to Malayu - i.e. Jambi in Sumtra…where our Paramesvara written in our history, Malacca!

Chronology of Malacca Sultanate

Parameswara ( Iskandar Shah) 1400 - 1414
Megat Iskandar Shah 1414 - 1424
Seri Maharajah Muhammad Shah 1424 - 1444
Seri Parameswara Dewa Shah (Raja Ibrahim) 1444 - 1445
Sultan Muzaffar Shah (Raja Kassim) 1445 - 1456
Sultan Mansur Shah (Raja Abdullah) 1456 - 1477
Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah 1477 - 1488
Sultan Ahmad bin Mahmud Shah 1488 - 1511

Early 15th century produced ingots currency originated from Malay Peninsula. First tin pagoda or pyramid shaped ingots appeared in Selangor,, Perak, Pahang, and to lesser degree, Kedah and Perlis. Another shapes of money were developing as well, besides of varieties of primitively formed tin ingots, various animal shaped ingots appeared in early 15th, or 14tth century, in quite a rough workmanship. The form of animal shaped ingots was originated both, from Hindu (e.g elephant) and from China (e.g. tortoise), it also carried the religious value. It was very common practice for Chinese customs by making an animal sacrifice before indulging in the customary celebration. Animal shaped were widely produced in Perak. A variety of ingot money (fighting cock ingot) was circulated in kedah & Perlis in 18th century. Another variety of ingots formed on pagoda and pyramid series in Pahang.

In fact, the first primitive form of native money appeared in Malay Peninsula Kra Istgmus Hindu Kingdom of Kalah in early 8th century…Southern Indochina and Malay Archipelago were under strong influence of India, where we all can witness it the flat coinage of this region. Chinese presence in this region, Chinese ingots also came into circulation, and developed new form of ingot currency

  • During the 120 years of the Malacca Sultanate period, the merchants who traded in this region, always used the common currency for their barter trading, gold dust, silver bars and tin ingots and blocks, together with those merchants from overseas, who bought over their trading currency, say, those from China, Chinese copper cash and currency at Ming Dynasty and surroundings areas, like Sumatra, Indochina, called Nusantara, are accepted as common currency for barter trading.

  • We may feel that the tin pitis coinage issued in the period of Sultan Muzzafar Shah shall be the early one, as it bear his name. Some of the Arabic inscriptions found with Islamic influence, may be were bought in by those Muslim traders from Southern India. Only recently, we found that some of the tin coins, minted with Sanskrit characters, with Hindu influence, may possibly be dated to early 8th century….this is new discovery, dating & etc, which need further archaeological data and academic research….we still work on it….8th century or 15th century of Malacca Currency…. This is the most exciting and challenging subject!

  • Cheng Ho Tin Coins shall be the typical unique and rare in its design and composition out of China territory found in oversea, normally called "Nanyang, oversea Chinese",in early 15th century…. but, minted in Malacca, one of the tin producing areas. Its country of origin of this nature of Coins, shall be in copper, minted in China, by the official authority of Ming Emperor, why found outside the territory of Mainland China, Ming Government, minted in Malacca, with tin composition, with Chinese character on the both sides?

  • Tin Animal Money is another most typical uniqueness in this region, not only very rare in this design and composition, but also its cultural and religion influence minted in such a high quality, with Buddhism characteristics and Chinese character of "Prosperous, Wealthy, Happiness, Lucky, Fortune….", standard in weight and design. Its workmanship, craftsmanship, crystallization and oxidization, deoxidization, corrosiveness… tortoise, fish, buffalo, crab, crocodile, cockerel, goat and etc…..this animal money were also found in Northern Thai, Indochina & Indonesia, are all these animal money originated from Mainland China…?

  • Scientific Lab Test For Tin Coinage? We strongly feel that all these series of tin minted coins shall be professionally appraised, evaluated and an official scientific laboratory tests shall be conducted, with the Government full cooperation. MAM have officially seek relevant authority of Malaysia government to help, but, we still waiting for their official reply and confirmation.

Portuguese Currency : 1511-1641

  • Malacca was captured by the Portuguese on August 24, 1511, under the command of Governor Alfonso D'Alburguerque, for 130 over years. From the occupation of Malacca by the Portuguese in 1521, it was administered as part of the territory of Goa in Portuguese India.

  • Gold and silver coins were struck in Malacca by the mind set up by Governor Alfonso D'Albuquerque of India right from the first year of the occupation, i.e. 1511, during the reign of King Dom Mnuell. Among the initial currency issues were the commemorative Catolico and the Meio Catolico, both minted in gold and, the third commemorative in silver, the Malaques, named after Malacca.

  • There were two separate coinages in Malacca during the reign of King Dom Joao III; the De Castro issue and the Malacca Mint issue. The De Castro issue was struck during the governorship of Dom Joao de Castro, the 4th Viceroy of Indis (1545-1548) was in gold as well as in tin. The gold coins were the Escudo de Sao Tome and the Quarter Escudo de Sao Tome, minted in Lisbon and Goa for circulation in India and the ten Portuguese territories. The tin coins were the Bastardo, Soldo and Dinheiro which were also minted in Lisbon for circulation in Malacca. But, those minted in Malacca issues of Bastardo, Soldo and Dinheiro are known to any, where it was minted, where? But, the local minted in Malacca, its quality and workmanship are really poor!

  • The coinage of King Dom Sebastiao, the tin coins were the distinctive bastardo, Soldo and Dinheiro. On the Bastardo, the armillary sphere was replaced by crossed arrows and the letter "S B". The Soldo had either double arrows a or triple arrows and the letters "B A", for the Dinheiro, there were at least two issues, one with the armillary and triple arrows; on the other sailing ship replaced by the sphere

  • During the reign of King Dom Felipe II (1598-1621) there had been no official record of any coins minted at or for Malacca market until Mitchner's No. 3155, the Half Tanga 1615 M A the only silver piece known by us. Also there is no distinctive tin coins appear to have issued by the MalaccaMin during the reign of King Dom Felipe III of Portugal, only the silver one, yes! They were only in four denominationa, the (i) Half Tanga (ii) the Tanga (iii) the Double Tanga (iv) the Quadruple Tanga. This Quadruple Tang was struck between the years 1633-1636 at the malcca Mint or may be at the Goa Mint specially designed and issued for Malacca. All denominations of silver Tanga of Malacca with the mintmark of "A M" or "M A" of the Malacca Mint!

Dutch Currency : 1641-1795 and 1818-1825
  • The Netherlands East Indies (N.E.I) are included all Dutch territories in Java, The Moluccas Islands, Malacca and Sumatra.

  • The Dutch who expanding their influence in the Far East combined with the forces of the Sultan of Johore and captured the Malacca from the Portuguese on January 14, 1641. In this 150 years of Dutch East India Company (V.O.C., Verenidge Oostindische Compagnie) have exclusive monopoly power on trade. In 1794, Holland was invaded by the French under Napolean. The British occupied Malacca on Dec. 1, 1795 on behalf of the Dutch.

  • The first Dutch coinage of the V.O.C for Malacca was issued in 1641. All those earlier Portuguese coins and other circulating currency were retained for trading purposes. In fact, coins for use by the V.O.C in the Netherlands East Indies (N.E.I) were struck in the following Provinces, most of them in gold and silver. Holland (HOLL), West friesland (WESTF), Zeeland (S+ZEEL or ZEL), Utreht (TRAI), Gelderland (GEL), Overijsel(TRANSI) and N.E.I for Province of Groningen.

  • The following are the common coinages of Dutch we see in market circulation:-

  • Half Doit (HOLL, ZEEL, WESTF, GEL,) One Doit,, Half Guilder Silver Rider Quarter Stiver, Half Stiver, Bonk One Stiver, Bonk One & Two Stivers, Batavia Quarter Crown, Batavia Half Crown,

When Islamic Influence Found In Malacca….? Where Is Malacca In 600 Years?

Parameswara, today, we all know, in fact, whose name means 'prince-consort', was the husband of a Majapahit princess, according to Sumatra tradition, he was a Sailendra prince of Palembang…he took refuse in Tumasik (Singapore) during the war broke out in 1401 between Virabumi of East Java and King Vikramavarddha of Majapahit, then under a chief who owed allegiance to Siam. In 1402 he was driven out by the Raja of Pahang or Patani, also a vassal of Siam, then he settled down at Malacca, an insignificant village of sea-rovers and fishermen….Parameswara rapidly built up a market for irregular goods, a pirate center, then by forcing all vessels passing through the Straits of Malacca, at expenses of Samudra and Singapore.

When Chinese Influence Found In Malacca….How It Develop ?

But, both Siam and Majapahit claimed suzerainty over Peninsula….in 1403, when Malacca was visited by a Ming Dynasty envoy, Yin-King, Parameswara seixed the opportunity to seek recognization from Ming Emperor and support against Siam….in 1405, Parameswara sent an embassy to China and received recognization…that's the beginning of the history"Cheng Ho was send to Malacca in 1409 with his war fleet…Cheng Ho was a Muslim! All know, before that, in 1403, ambassadors were sent from port to port with a war fleet, to Java where two kings were found, also to Malacca…..Megat Iskandar Shah is the Muslim name of Parameswara……This is the history of Malacca begin….Islamic influence begin also.


What Other Historians, Archaeologists & Academics Said About 'Malay Peninsula>Malayu> Malacca'? How Our ICEF-MAM Time Capsule Read It………

In Peninsula, the earliest Islamic document is a stone inscription at "Trengganu", it's somewhere between 1303-1387… was the rise of Malacca that gave the real impact to the conversion of the Peninsula …still there has been much divergence of view regarding the dating of the city's foundation……

Hinduzation has been generally applied by scholars to the impact of Indian culture upon South East Asia……in spite of the fact that Buddhism played an important role in the movement, and Theravada Buddhism ultimately became the dominant faith of Burma and Arakan, the Thai states and Cambodia. Where Hinduism disappeared before Islam in the Malay Peninsula and Indonesia at the end of he European Middle Ages, Buddhism continued to receive the staunch allegiance of the countries it had conquered.

Relations between the western ports of South East Asia and India may go back well into the prehistoric period
. Traders and shippers from both sides were involved. So far as historical evidence goes, the first signs of states formed in the manner that has been described in the preceding section show that they were in existence by the end of the second century A.D. They appear ib three regions: (A) that of lower Mekong and its delta (B) north of Hue in modern Annam, and (C) the northern part of the Malay Peninsula

In the absence of archaeological and epigraphical materials earlier than the fifth century…Funan's capital city was for some time Vyadhapura, "the city of hunters", which lay near the hill Bab Phnom and the village of Banam in the present Cambolia province of Prei Veng. The Chinese say that it was 120 miles from the sea. Oc Eo, its port, on the maritime fringe of the Mekong delta bordering the Gulf of Siam. These were linked up with each other and with the sea by canals large enough to take sea-going ships, so that it was possible for Chinese travelers to talk about sailing across Funan on their way to the Malay Peninsula.

Oc Eo was a center of industry and trade; its site bears evidence of maritime relations with the Mediterranean. It was situated on what was in its day the great maritime highway between China and the West. The Funanese were of Malay race, and still in the tribal state at the dawn of history. The culture of Oc Eo itself is characterized by M. Malleret as half-indigenous, half foreign,; its foreign affinities, he says, were almost entirely with India!

Dr. O.W. Wolters observed that, until the end of the eleventh century , China was dependent upon foreign ships in her commerce with the Nanyang. Trade had to be carried on according to the "tributary" system laid down by he imperial court in its dealings with individual foreign states. It meant, trade with China was not open and fre to all merchants, Chinese or foreign. It was restricted to the "tribute" missions sent to the emperor by his vessal babariana rules, ro , at least, to the so-called vassals

From the seventh century until the leadership passed from the Palembang to Malayu (Jambi) at the end of the eleventh century, Palembang, with a well-governed port, and at the head of a loosely knit empire of trading ports, provided just the sort of entreport needed by merchants trading to and from China..

All this changed during the period of the Southern Sung (1127-1278). Their dependence upon seaborne trade led to them to open the trade with the Nanyang to Chinese vessels. There was a great expansion of the Chinese merchant marine, and Chinese vessels began to trade directly with South East Asian ports.

During the Mongol period (1278-1367) things got worse for Srivijaya. By 1330 Chinese merchants were handling much of the freight of the Indian Ocean, while the north Sumantra harbous, Aru, Samudra, Lamuri and Perlac, were becoming independent centers of trade. Thus Palembang and Malayu ceased to be needed as entrepots by Asian traders, and Chinese reports significantly mention that San-fo-chi was using force to compel ships to visit its harbours.

In such a way, and for reasons outside the control of the maharajas, did Srivijaya system of commerce break down; its imperial power dwindled, and foreign accounts of the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries speak of piracy!

In the Malay Peninsula Cherok Tekun, on the mainland opposite Penang, has yielded some fragments o rock inscriptions in Sanskrit that have been attributed to the fourth century. A slightly later one comes from near Bukit Meriam in Kedah. It is on a slate slab found in a ruined brick house which may have been the cell of a Buddhist monk.

The late neloithic site of Kuala Selinsing in Perak has yielded a fifth century cornelian seal inscribed with the name of Sri Vishnuvarnam…most interesting is from Province Wellesley, seven-tiered umbrella, Sanskrit text consists of the Buddhist verse quoted above a prayer for the success of a voyage projected by one Buddhagupta, the master of a junk, who reside in the "Red Land"….The Red Earthe Land, known to the Chinese as Ch'ih-tu is described in a text containing the report of a Chinese mission there early in the seventh century. Thus Mahayana Buddhism was in Malay at this time, and had apparently been brought there from South India!

The Following Attachment are the genuine and real tin coinage series, dating from early 15th century, Malacca Sultanate Period, Portuguese Period and Dutch Period, as photos shown. We also attached the hand drawings for each tin coins artifacts, according to each coin's exact sizes and designs, for all to study and kind reference.

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