Ancient Srivijaya - Tiny Indonesian Tin Animal Coins (?)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by TuckHard, Apr 3, 2019.

  1. TuckHard

    TuckHard Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone! I recently purchased these coins online from a seller who I have worked with before. All the coins I've bought before have passed every counterfeit test I've done and he gives me no reason to doubt the authenticity. That being said, these coins that I purchased have got me stumped and I'm leaning towards thinking they are a modern fantasy issue? The only suspicious thing to me is the fact that I cannot find any references to coins such as this. The seller said that they were from the Srivijaya Empire and estimated from 9-12th Centuries. The only coins I can find issued anywhere in Indonesia during this time frame are gold and silver masa which are distinctly different. The only thing close to this I found were several tin coins attributed to the Srivijaya that were listed on NumisBids here ( These listed coins all weigh in at over 1.8g while my tiny coins weigh far less.

    Coin 1: Obverse with beast (deer?) facing right, Reverse shows 8-sided starburst design. Weighs to 0.51 g.

    Coin 2: Obverse with fish or turtle, Reverse shows 5-sided starburst pattern. Weighs to 0.48 g.

    Coin 3: Obverse shows three subsequent circles towards middle, Reverse shows 5 dots arranged in a plus sign. Weighs to 0.24 g.

    I find it interesting that Coin 3 with the 5 dots is nearly exactly the weight of the other two? Perhaps it was valued at half the denomination of Coin 1 & 2. The only other leads I found were several past listings by eBay seller tin-coin-trader who had several coins that look incredibly similar, down to the starburst pattern, but still no direct match. I'm leaning towards believing this is an unpublished coin series but I would love to have other inputs and opinions.
    2019-04-03 16.59.26.jpg 2019-04-03 16.58.33.jpg 2019-04-03 16.58.37.jpg 2019-04-03 16.58.43.jpg 2019-04-03 16.58.54.jpg 2019-04-03 16.59.34.jpg 2019-04-03 16.59.53.jpg 2019-04-03 17.00.26.jpg
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. TuckHard

    TuckHard Well-Known Member

    CNG Auction 374 Lot 789.jpg
    Quick update: I did find a 2016 auction on NumisBids that does appear to show tiny tin coins attributed to the Srivijaya here ( The picture is just a smidge too bad to see much of the design but from what I can see none appear to have the starburst design and almost appear as script or animals.
  4. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Neat coins. I recently got an AV Mas from Palembang/ Sumatra/ Srivijaya Dynasty. IMG_0583.JPG IMG_0584.JPG
  5. TuckHard

    TuckHard Well-Known Member

    Wow that's an incredible coin! I found online that these gold Massa coins are based off of Lydia's coinage.
    panzerman likes this.
  6. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    That is pretty neat, Srivijaya coinage is very hard to find in reference books.
    TuckHard likes this.
  7. TuckHard

    TuckHard Well-Known Member

    I'm going to be posting coinage from Srivijaya that I've found online. If anyone has any more information please comment!

    I found two copper coins attributed to Srivijaya. Both are claimed to have been produced in the Kedu Plain Region which I estimate is close to present day Magelang, Central Java. The area is described as lying along the Progo River between these four mountains. Here are some maps of the area.
    Kedu Plain Region.PNG Central Java Region.PNG Indonesia Region.PNG

    The coins themselves are claimed to be circa 7-10th Centuries. Both show the iconic Devanagari symbol on the obverse and have a less obvious sandlewood design on the reverse.

    Coin A below weighs to 11.49 g.
    Stack's Bowers Aug 2018 HK Auction - Sess. A-D Lot 62080 (Unsold).jpg

    Coin B below is a hefty 23.7 g. It sold for $1000.
    Stack's Bowers Apr 2018 HK Auction - Sess. A-E Lot Lot 52179 (1000USD).jpg
  8. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

  9. TuckHard

    TuckHard Well-Known Member

    Glad you enjoy it! Here are some other Srivijaya tin coins that I own that I'm much more confident it their authenticity.

    Coin A: Obverse depicts a sea turtle or tortoise, Reverse shows a strong and stylized Devanagari symbol. This coin weighs in at 5.11 g.

    Coin B: Obverse depicts an elephant standing on level ground facing right, Reverse shows a beast, likely horse, facing left also standing on level ground. This coin weighs 4.04 g.
    2019-03-16 12.22.03.jpg My Coins Highlighted O.png My Coins Highlighted R.png 2019-03-16 12.23.04.jpg 2019-03-16 12.23.35.jpg 2019-03-16 13.01.32.jpg 2019-03-16 13.01.47.jpg
  10. TuckHard

    TuckHard Well-Known Member

    Compare my turtle tin coin to this one sold by CNG Auction 374 for $240. The CNG coin weighs 1.83 g while mine weighs 5.11 g.
    CNG Auction 374 Lot 694 (240USD).jpg Turtle.png
  11. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    I find the mysterious coins of the Indonesia kingdoms very interesting! If I had local contacts I would consider collecting them seriously. At this time there isn't much published that I have been able to find. I have seen the listings on eBay from sellers in Southeast Asia but without local contacts, which I lack, how would I study the coins?

    I have quite a few cash-type tin coins, cataloged according to Frank Robinson's book. Those are all much later than Srivijaya, and date to the Islamic sultanate period.

    Here is a coin I suspect is from Srivijaya:
    (seller photo)
    Sumatra, Kingdom of Srivijaya circa 680-1250 AD, later series AR 1/2 unit, 1.29g, 7mm
    Obv: Character "Na"
    Mitchener NISW 3058var (or 3885?); cf. Zeno 133598

    The Zeno category for this is SOUTHEAST ASIA » Native coins » Others. There are only a few coins in that category. There are animals in gold but not in tin. Another category worth looking at is SOUTHEAST ASIA » Charms.
    TuckHard, Finn235, panzerman and 3 others like this.
  12. TuckHard

    TuckHard Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the links! I believe these coins with the u or n shaped characters are called Namo coins and I’d love to acquire one. I too wish to study these coins more in depth but am unable to find additional sources of information. It seems like there is a huge lack of reliable sources of numismatic information about coins prior to the advent of Islam across the Asian Southeast.
    panzerman likes this.
  13. Ancientnoob

    Ancientnoob Money Changer

    I came across one of these many moons ago.

    Java, Bali and the Eastern Archipelago
    Kalasan or Kelurak (Empire of the Sailendra)
    AR Masa 11 mm x 2.32 grams
    Struck 778-782 AD.
    Obverse: MA (Massa) - Early Nagari Script
    Reverse: Irregular Sandalwood Flower place in Incuse square
  14. TuckHard

    TuckHard Well-Known Member

    Numista has some interesting tin Srivijaya coins listed under their Malay Peninsula section.

    Coin A: Obverse depicts a sitting Buddha who is surrounded on the left and right by incused Chinese script. If anyone can read this please let us know! Reverse shows a raised pentagon with a stylized Devanagari symbol within. Possible script underneath the Devanagari? Coin A weighs 9.51g and is 27.3 mm wide.
    Numista Tin 1a.jpg Numista Tin 1b.jpg
    Coin B: Obverse depicts a cross flared into three points on either side. Reverse depicts the same but with a deteriorated die. Coin B is significantly heavier; 17.56 g and measures to 29.4 mm.

    Numista Tin 2a.jpg Numista Tin 2b.jpg

    Coin C: Obverse shows what the original submitter suggests as "A", "69", "690", a worm, or a snake. Reverse shows a cross, or perhaps a sword. Possible script on left side. Coin C weighs to 6.08 g and is 20.3 mm across.
    Numista Tin 3a.jpg Numista Tin 3b.jpg

    Coin D: Obverse shows either a fish, turtle, tortoise, or flower. Reverse shows what the submitter proposes is an "e", "p", or a worm. Coin D is significantly thicker than many of the rest and measures to 5.8 mm thick to it's total 10.8 mm diameter. It weighs to 2.20 g.
    3 Numista Tin 4a.jpg Numista Tin 4b.jpg Numista Tin 4c.jpg
    Sulla80 and panzerman like this.
  15. Ancientnoob

    Ancientnoob Money Changer

    @Loong Siew an expert numismatist and my go to guy for Chinese maybe able to translate that script. Great coin BTW, me wants.
    Loong Siew likes this.
  16. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Thanks @Ancientnoob .. I'll try my best on these ones.

    @TuckHard .. Coin A is not a Buddha but the Bodhisattva of compassion Guanyin. The inscriptions read Guan Yin Pu Sa meaning Guan Yin Bodhisattva.

    Coin B is nonetheless a cross. This may indicate that it was probably minted post Srivijaya when the Dutch or even Portuguese may have their influence there. This would be during the Muslim times or Malacca Sultanate times.

    Coin C could be 69 which I am not certain why but likely because the cross symbolises European influences.

    Coin D are typical Srivijaya tin ingots. During these times, tin was the preferred commodity of exchange for the region much alike copper or even silver. Thus there are some creative designs and casts to such issues instead of just plain tin chunks. Fish, bull, lions or even crab designs were known. Symbolism of each is beyond me..
    panzerman likes this.
  17. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    And the 4 characters on the right side of Coin A says "Safe Trip Wherever You Go".
    Loong Siew likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page