'Tin hat' money, worth 4 cents

Pahang sultanate, Malaysia, AH 1281 / AD 1864

A coin shaped like an ingot

The monetary use of ingots made from tin (one of Malaysia's richest natural resources) was adapted into a coinage system in the Malay sultanate of Pahang. The ingots were originally in the form of a small pyramid-like mountain. In the 1860s small symbolic representations of the ingots were issued as coinage, valued in terms of the Mexican dollar. This example was intended to circulate as a four cent piece.

The square coins are hollow inside, resembling a hat, and have a flat, decorated rim with Malay inscriptions that indicate their monetary role. The shape of these coins has earned them the name 'tin-hat' money.

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More information


W. Shaw and M. Kassim Haji Ali, Tin hat and animal money (Kuala Lumpur, Muzium Negara, 1970)

J. Williams (ed.), Money: a history (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)


Width: 72.000 mm
Length: 72.000 mm
Height: 21.000 mm
Weight: 104.230 g

Museum number

CM 1908-2-1-2


Gift of Q. L. Wrey


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