Netherlands East Indies - Japanese occupation Coins for the Island of Java 1 Cent, 5 Cents, 10 Cents, Year Date 2603 (=1943)
1 Cent, 10 Cents, Year Date 2604 (=1944)
by Saran Singh AMN, AMP, PNM
The Netherlands East Indies (now known as Indonesia), comprised of the Islands of Sumatra, Island of Java , part of Borneo and New Guinea, as well as numerous smaller Islands. In early January 1942, during the Second World War, the Japanese Army invaded the Netherlands East Indies (N. E. I.). On the 9th March 1942, the Dutch authorities finally surrendered, to the more superior Japanese forces.
The Japanese Notes for the Netherlands East Indies were put into circulation as legal tender, and the earlier Dutch currency was discontinued.
In the Japanese Year 2603 (=1943), the Mint (most probably, the Osaka Mint), minted 1 Cent, 5 Cents and 10 Cents coins, for circulation in the Island of Java. In the following Japanese Year 2604 (=1944), only the 1 Cent and 10 Cents coins were struck for circulation. The 5 Cents 2603 (=1943) coin remained only at the PATTERN stage, and did not go into production. These coins all bear the motive of the puppet, which was passed down, from the early influence of the powerful Hindu Kingdom of the Sri Vijaya Empire of Java, which existed from the end of the 7th Century to the end of the13th Century. It was subsequently replaced by the powerful Majapahit Empire of Java around 1293, which lasted until around 1500.
It is believed that the above mentioned coins may not have reached the Island of Java, due to shipping difficulties. By 1943, the Allied Forces (America, Britain, Holland and Australia) navy and planes, kept surveillance on enemy movements, in the shipping lanes in the South China Sea. This made it difficult for the Japanese transport vessels to transport goods easily, without hindrance. The war came to an end for Japanese occupied South East Asia, when the Japanese Government finally surrendered on 15th August 1945.
It is not certain if the above coins actually circulated in the Island of Java. Very few of these coins have turned up in the last three decades. The 10 Cents 2604 (=1944) does turn up occasionally. The 1 Cent coins are extremely difficult to locate. I know of four pieces of the 10 Cents Year Date 2604, which have been sold in the last 5 years in Malaysia. One of these coins was only in Very Fine with rust marks. I have been fortunate in obtaining a piece of the 1 Cent Year Date 2604 in uncirculated condition (NGC Grade MS66). I had to wait for nearly 40 years to finally lay my hands on this piece, which finally made its way to my home, from an old private collection.
N.E.I. - J.I.M. 1 Cent 2603 (=1943), 1 Cent 2604 (=1944)
Obverse: Head of the Native Puppet. Year Date below. The word in Japanese Characters “Dai Nihon” (Great Japan)
Reverse: The denomination, figure “ 1 “ surrounded by an ornamental design
Edge: Plain, Weight: 0.6 grams, Diameter: 16 m.m., Composition: Aluminum
N.E.I. - J.I.M. 5 Cents 2603 (=1943) PATTERN.
Obverse: Native Puppet
Reverse: The denomination, figure “ 5 “ with the Year Date “2603” (=1943). The word in Japanese Characters “Dai Nihon” (Great Japan)
Edge: Plain, Weight: 0.8 grams, Diameter: 19 m.m., Composition: Aluminum
N.E.I. - J.I.M. 10 Cents 2603 (=1943), 10 Cents 2604 (=1944)
Obverse: Native Puppet
Reverse: The denomination, figure “ 10 ” with the Year Date below. The word in Japanese Characters “Dai Nihon” (Great Japan)
Edge: Plain, Weight: 3.5 grams, Diameter: 22 m.m., Composition: Tin (0.930%), Zinc (0.07 %)
Reference: “World War II Remembered - History in your hands - a numismatic study”
by C. Frederick Schwan and Joseph E. Boling. Published by BNR Press, Ohio, U.S.A. (1995).