Old Brunei Coins

I think a number of postings had been made about Brunei money on this site as well as promoting the Brunei Currency and Monetary Board Gallery where visitors can come and see for themselves Brunei's currency throughout the ages where among others in the past, Bruneians were using miniature cannons and metal strips as forms of currencies. The cannons were not too bad as there are many other cultures that used other forms of currencies but I thought strips of metal takes the cake especially when it was used only last century (19th century).

Basically in Brunei, the old money before the usage of the Straits Settlement currency were used in Brunei, can be divided roughly into four chronological period or four forms. The first was the Chinese coins - this was no doubt in use since the earliest contact between Brunei and China. This was initially called Pitis as that term is a very ancient one. However with the introduction of the local Pitis, the Chinese coins were more commonly called the Kue. Chinese coins Kue stopped being used around the last half of the 19th century.

The second period was the usage of the local Pitis. This is generally confined to the type of coins where one side of the coin shows the state umbrella and the other side says "Ini-lah perintah kemuafakatan ke-atas belanja Negeri Brunei tarikh 1285" loosely translated as 'by the order of the administration of the finance of the State of Brunei 1285' - 1285 Hijra is 1868. There were also previous Islamic coins which are also called the Pitis.

The third form is the 'Duit Besi' or Iron Money. This is really true iron money as in those days iron was so valuable that it is used as money. One hundred flat pieces an inch square are so valued at a dollar and among the poorer classes, these iron pieces form the function of coins. It was also found that these iron pieces were cut at their own discretion. This was used throughout the 19th century.

The fourth form of currency is the 'Duit Bintang' or Star coin. This is made out of copper and was minted in Birmingham for the Sultanate in 1887 (1304 Hijra). This coin was taken out of circulation with the introduction of the Straits Settlements currency.

Despite the introduction of the Straits Settlement currencies, the previous local monies were still used with peculiar exchange rates in the earlier days. All the coins were called 'paku' or piece where 4 pakus make 1/2 cent and 8 pakus make one cent or one 'kayu' (sakayu). As for the iron money, 3 penggals or 3 metal pieces make one paku and 3 ela besi panjang or 3 yards of uncut iron make one kayu.

Other words which were being bandied and were widely used in Brunei customs in those days include terms such as sinantan (equal to $2), berian ($12), sapikul besar ($22), sapikul damit ($20), salikur ($21) and dua likur ($22). Ask your great grandparents.


Anonymous said…
not enough information
Anonymous said…
Are these coins valuable now?

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