Javanese Silver Sandalwood Double-Massa – circa 850-900 CE Shailendra Dynasty of the Mataram Kingdom – Central Java Period The silver double-massa sandalwood flower coins were a short-lived series that remain to be one of the rarest in the Southeast Asian numismatic history. The double-massa coin is an oddly formed lump of two coins weighing 4.8 grams with a thick bar connecting them, termed the double-massa because its weight is double the standard coin weight; one massa or 2.4 grams. The only source of information on these coins is Dr. Jan Wisseman Christie, who studied the archaeology, epigraphy, and history of Indonesia and Malaysia, with special emphasis on the pre-Islamic kingdoms of Java. She remains one of the best sources of information on the development of Javanese markets and their early coinage. Her research piece A Preliminary Survey of Early Javanese Coinage Held in Javanese Collections discusses the contents of several Javanese hoards and collections of pre-Islamic coins and it is the source for the only photographs and discussion on the double-massa coins. Dr. Christie writes that the silver double-massa pieces were minted during the second half of the 9th century, a time when the Javanese silver coins were undergoing changes such as flan shape and distortion of the Nagari character. The ‘ma’ characters in Nagari script on the double-massa pieces that Dr. Christie examined are described as either “undistorted or slightly distorted” and the coin flans, thick and flat, match closer in shape to the ones used in the first half of the 9th century than the contemporary massa coins being minted at the time of these double units. Interestingly, and perhaps uniquely, the Javanese moneymakers opted to link two individual unit coins with a short, thick band rather than to create a coin twice as thick or wider than normal. The band connects the two halves in such a way that they never lie flat on a surface. Given the lack of further examples and the rarity of the coins, it appears that the double-massa silver coins were not minted for long nor were they produced in large numbers. There is no known contemporary mention in stone inscriptions or other literature and it’s likely they did not spread far. Perhaps it is due to its awkward size and shape, or maybe a preference for gold in transactions where the value traded is more than a silver massa. The most notable discovery and example of a silver double-massa coin comes from the famed Wonoboyo Hoard that was excavated by archaeologists and historians in the 1990s. It’s thought that the hoard was compiled from the start of the 9th century until the time it was buried in the Mt. Merapi eruption of 928-929 CE. The Wonoboyo Hoard is most notable for containing nearly 7,000 gold piloncitos and over 600 of the silver massa sandalwood coins, but it also had a small amount of other coins, including two of the double-massa silver coins. The coins weighed 4.4 grams and 4.8 grams, a wide range for a time when the Javanese generally held strict weight standards. An additional three examples were discovered by Dr. Christie in a hoard from Kwaron village, just outside of Yogyakarta in Central Java. These coins were similar to those from the Wonoboyo Hoard and were likely doomed by the same fate; the Mt. Merapi eruption of 928-929 CE. The Kwaron Hoard contains three of the double-massa coins, a 4.7 gram specimen and two 4.9 grams examples. The three coins that are photographed and shown above are from the Kwaron Hoard. The dimensions are given for the coins in this hoard; the length of the double-massa coin is 24mm total, with both individual coins being ~10mm and the center bar running about 4mm long. It’s notable that the two individual coins that make up the double-massa are slightly smaller than the normal single massa silver coins from the time, meaning the double-massa coin was comprised of two individual coins that were specifically minted for use in the double-massa and to account for the weight of the bar connecting the two. Dr. Christie writes in Money and Its Uses in the Javanese States of the Ninth to Fifteenth Centuries A.D. that the rare double-massa coins were produced by using molds to cast the entire piece at once, and then later each of the two individual coins were hammered with the ‘ma’ character and the sandalwood flower pattern. It’s not likely that the double-massa coins saw common use and, given that there have been no recorded discoveries in East Java, it appears that its production and circulation ended either before or when the Mataram Kingdom shifted its palace to East Java in 928-929 CE due to the Mt. Merapi eruption that shook Central Java.  Jan Wisseman Christie, A Preliminary Survey of Early Javanese Coinage Held in Javanese Collections, pg. 19  Ibid., pg. 26-27  Ibid., pg. 34-35  Jan Wisseman Christie, Money and Its Uses in the Javanese States of the Ninth to Fifteenth Centuries A.D., pg. 254 I'm hoping to find more examples of this extremely rare coin series. Currently, the five examples from the two Javanese hoards discussed by Dr. Christie are the only known pieces and online research has not revealed anymore examples. It may be a stretch, but if anyone had one of these or anymore information about them I'd love to see or hear it! Feel free to share any coins or relevant information about the coinage from the Maritime Southeast Asian kingdoms.