Sunday, 9 November 2014


This huge coin is the famous "tampang" or "tin hat money", issued in the Perak Sultanate in Malaysia. It is an early solid type, dating to ca.1500-1600 AD. It is approximately 76mm by 78mm wide and 40mm tall. It weighs 865 grams or 1/2 Kati with a patina typical of old tin. The extended base was cast very thin and much of it has broken off over the years, as usual. There is a flowery decoration on top of the pyramid said to be an early sign for Perak. These are variously known as a Tampang, Tin Hat, Pyramid or Pagoda money, although the latter two names are more common in Perak. They are an early form of currency with a value that was calculated against the amount of tin by weight which could be exchanged for one Spanish Silver dollar. There are a number of views as to when the Tampang first became recognised as money, but there is no doubt that these were widely used in the Malay Peninsula, particularly in Perak, Pahang and Selangor, as objects with a defined monetary value. Some experts claim that the first Tampangs date from the 1400s, others opt for the 17th century, but whoever is correct, it is a fact that they are recorded by Museum Negara (Malaysian National Museum) as being minted in Pahang until 1889 and were legal tender there until 1893. All the tampangs are extremely rare, most of them being melted down after they were removed from circulation. This type is Sarah Singh #24

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