Gold Coins of the Malay States
The development of currency in the many island states of the Malay Archipelago was very much related to their trade activities. The intoduction of a standard currency evolved from the need to solve problems often encountered in barter trading. The number of gold coins issued then reflected trading requirement, where higher value coins were often used for bigger purchases.
It is known from available records that only four states produced gold coins and they were Kelantan, Johor, Kedah and Terengganu.
Kijang coin of Kelantan (1400-1780)
Between 1400 to 1780 a number of gold coins (Kupang) were known to be minted for use in Patani and Kelantan. Little is known about the history of the Kelantan gold coinage as these coins were not dated. There were three types of Kelantan gold coins; the Kijang coin, the Dinar Matahari or Sun Coin and coins with Arabic inspriptions on both sides. The Kijang coins derived their name from the motif of the Malayan barking deer embossed as the obverse design. This motif has been adopted as the logo for Bank Negara Malaysia.
Kupang coin of Johor (1597-1615)
In the 16th century the state of Johor issued trade coins in gold that were accepted and widely used in South East Asia. They were the Mas and the Kupang. The value of the Mas was about four times that of the value of the Kupang. This Kupang coin was minted during the reign of Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II (1597-1615). The coin is octagonal in shape.
Kupang coin of Kedah (1661-1687)
The state of Kedah began to import gold coins from Johor, Patani and Acheh for use in trade from the beginning of the 17th century. Local issues of gold coins, which appeared to have been copied from the contemporary currency of Johor, replaced the imported gold coins during the 17th and 18th centuries. This gold coin was issued during the reign of Sultan Dhiauddin Mukarram Shah (1661-1687).
Mas coin of Terengganu (1793-1808)
Early money in the state of Terengganu took the form of gold and pewter coins, monetary tokens (jokoh) and the coin tree. The octagonal gold coins came in two denominations, the Mas and the Kupang. This Mas coin was issued during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin Shah II (1793-1808)