Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Malaysia, Brunei & Singapore Banknotes & Coins - 4th Edition

A Complete Educational Reference of Malaysia, Brunei & Singapore Banknotes and Coins, 4th Edition, September 2008 by K.N. Boon

The 4th edition of K.N. Boon's publication on Malaysia, Brunei & Singapore Banknotes and Coins is now released in the market. This new edition of guide book provides a comprehensive collection of Malaysian coins and banknotes. It has also added new elements of Brunei & Singapore banknotes into its collections. Expanded from its previous edition, this guide book has a total of 437 color pages printed with quality images of coins and banknotes.

Inherited from its previous edition, this guide book still remain as two main sections: Coins and Banknotes. The first section of the guide book begins with the first Penang coins (B. Balemark and Coat of Arms Series) issued in 1787 to 1828. It also provides information of the Cocos (Keeling) Island coins, Sarawak coins, British North Borneo coins, Strait Settlement coins and a complete introduction of new Malaysian Coinage.

The second part of the guide book provides information and images on the old Malaysian currency. This section covers the banknotes from the first Malaysia and the Straits Settlements paper money to the current Malaysian circulation currency. It also provides earlier currency information such as Asiatic Banking Corporation, The Sarawak Government Treasury, British North Borneo currency, Japanese Occupation notes, Cocos Keeling Island currency, Sungei Buloh Leprosarium Settlements notes and etc.

Another new elements added to this new guide book is the Brunei and Singapore banknotes. The Brunei banknote section covers from the 1st series issued in 1967 to its current polymer notes. On the other hand, the Singapore banknote collections start with Orchids Series issued in 1967 to its current Portrait Series.

Singapore Banknote section with the illustration of banknote images and price guide.

The background information or history provided in the guide book is another useful guide for collectors to enhance their knowledge on banknote development. Besides, the updated reference price is another bonus to the collector to value their collections as in today market.

One part is lacking though in this newly published guide book. As the title of the guide book has now covered the Brunei and Singapore currency, there is no Brunei or Singapore coins collection illustrate in this guide book. Also, background information of the Brunei and Singapore sections are purely on the country history, economy and culture aspect. Again, development history of the countries' currency is lacking.

Nevertheless, this guide book is still one of the favorite to many collectors. This is another good work by K.N. Boon in promoting coin and banknotes collecting.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Security Features on 2nd Series of Malaysian Banknotes

The 2nd Series of Malaysian Banknotes which was issued on January 1982 has basically inherited the securities features from its previous series. One of these security features that still remained and adopted in this series was the water mark feature. However, it has removed the "tiger head" water mark printed in 1st Series and replaced it with the portrait of the first Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Malaysia.

The 2nd Series issued in 1986 (Type 2) has the security features of Yang Di-pertuan Agong water mark printed on the left; the invisible fluorescent with the wording of BNM and denominations in the middle; and the security thread on the right.

In January 1986, the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) issued an improved design with incorporating additional security features into this series of notes. One of the improvements was the security thread has been modified to an intermittent 'stardust' security thread compared to the earlier which was more slimmer and concealed inside the note itself.

In addition, BNM has also introduced the invisible fluorescent printing with the intention to make these notes difficult to forge. Under the fluorescent light, a numeral of the denomination in a box with the initials BNM printed on top of the numeral can easily been seen. It was one of the useful features back then to differential a counterfeit note with a genuine note.


Water mark with the portrait of the First Yang Di-pertuan Agong printed on the left side of the note




Intermittent 'stardust' security thread on the right side of the note




Invisible fluorescent printing can be seen in the middle of the note under the fluorescent light

Security Features on 1st Series of Malaysian Banknotes

One of the ways to study or appreciate the development of the Malaysian Banknotes is through its security features. When the Bank Negara Malaysia first issued its 1st Series in Jun 1967, only minimum security features were introduced. The security features of the 1st Series note included the tiger head watermark located on the left and the security thread on the right.

1st Series was introduced with security features of tiger head water mark on the left and security thread on the right of the notes

It was only in January 1976 with the issuance of 1st Series Type 3 note, an additional security feature was introduced. This new security feature was adopted in the form of a "latent image" of the denominations printed in Arabic numerals at the lower left hand corner of the currency note.

1st Series Type 3 note with additional security feature by adding the "latent image" with denominations printed in Arabic numerals

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Value of Your Banknote

Many of the collectors are interest to know what is the value of their banknote collections. Of course, as we all aware, the value of a banknote is very much depending on its grading. In other words, an uncirculated note (UNC) has a higher value than a fine (F) piece. Also, theoretically the older banknote has better value compare to the current issuance. Another factor needs to be taken into consideration is its availability in the market or its rareness. The higher of the number of issuance generally will reduce its collection value.

I always feel that the trading of banknotes is one of the imperfect market. What I mean is that the value of a single piece of banknote can not be easily determined by a single source. Unlike share market where we can easily find the price of a counter before you can purchase it. The information of the past transaction in share market is so easy to be traced. However, the value of a banknote is very much depending on the buyer and seller themselves. The determination of the price most often will fall under their hands.

Due to this imperfect market condition, sometimes you might wonder why there is a sudden jump in banknote price which has directly created a lot of opportunity for traders to make their profit. As long as the hobby of collecting banknote is inherited, the value of your collection will be sustained.

There are many guide books in the market providing the indicating market price for a piece of banknote. I sometimes wonder what are the factors or considerations in determining the market price of a piece banknote. Eventually, this has to tied into the fundamental economic theory of supply and demand force. It is just like a piece of art, if you like it so much then you are willing to offer higher price to add it into your collection. In short, there is not such market price of a piece of banknote, it all depends on how much you are willing to pay to buy a piece of art collection of course with the present of a seller whom willing to accept your offer price. Nevertheless, the price that you pay shall not less than the face value of the currency that your purchase.

1931 ~ 1935 Strait Settlement Notes

Strait Settlement note is considered one of the earliest notes is peninsular Malaya. The Strait Settlement was referred to territories of British East India Company in South-East Asia or British crown colony in earlier 1800 which comprised of Penang, Malacca and Singapore.

The Strait Settlement note were issued in three denomination namely $1, $5 and $10. These notes were designed identically except they were differential by their colors. They were printed by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co., England with various currency commissioner signatures. Noted that there were three different languages i.e. English, Chinese and Jawi to describe The Government of Strait Settlement and its face value.

The front of these notes features the portrait of King George V, Emperor of India and first King of Ireland, on the right and the watermark of tiger head on the left. The back features a Malayan tiger which was one of the common animals found in the Malayan jungle.

$1

$5

$10

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bank Negara Malaysia 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coins

Bank Negara Malaysia issued three commemorative coins on 8 February 2009 in conjunction with the celebration of the 50th year anniversary of Bank Negara's journey in institutional building and in promoting monetary and financial stability.

These commemorative coins were launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. They are available in three special specifications namely Gold Commemorative Coins with face value of RM50, Silver Commemorative Coins with face value RM10 and Nordic Gold Brilliant Uncirculated Commemorative Coins with face value RM1.

RM1 commemorative coins issued with conjunction of Bank Negara Malaysia 50th Anniversary

The obverse of these coins depicts the silhouette of the skyline of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya reflecting the progress and economic development of Malaysia since its independence. The logo of the Bank appears in the centre, within the outline of the star anise (bunga lawang), is a familiar local spice. The star anise represents the significance of the spice trade which brought economic growth and prosperity to this region during the period of the Malay Sultanate. This star anise was depicted in the Dinar Matahari coin that was used during the Malay Sultanate. The words "Ulang Tahun ke-50 Bank Negara Malaysia" and the years "1959 - 2009" appear at the circumference of the coin.

The reverse of these coins depicts the words "Bank Negara Malaysia" written in Jawi are inscribed on the top circumference of the coin. A "14 pointed star" representing the 14 states in Malaysia including the Federal Territory, is depicted in the centre within the outline of the star anise. The denomination is reflected at the lower circumference of the coin and the pending which is a traditional Malay decorative pattern is depicted on the left and right sides of the coin.

These commemorative coins are minted and distributed by Bank Negara Malaysia. Collectors can purchaser directly at Bank Negara Malaysia's headquarters and its branches from 10 Febraury 2009 onwards.

Technical Specifications


(a) RM50 Gold Proof Coin

Alloy : Gold (Au999.9)
Selling Price : RM1,250
Mintage Quantity (piece/set) : 300
Diameter (mm) : 25.00
Weight (gram) : 10.07
Shape : Round with milled edge

(b) RM10 Silver Proof Coin
Alloy : Silver (Ag92.5)
Selling Price : RM150
Mintage Quantity (piece/set) : 400
Diameter (mm) : 35.70
Weight (gram) : 21.00
Shape : Round with milled edge

(c) RM1 Nordic Gold (B.U.)

Alloy : Cu89 Zn5 Al5 Sn1
Selling Price : RM10
Mintage Quantity (piece/set) : 10,000
Diameter (mm) : 30.00
Weight (gram) : 8.80
Shape : Round with milled edge