Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Netherlands East Indies - Japanese occupation Coins for the Island of Java 1 Cent, 5 Cents, 10 Cents, Year Date 2603 (=1943) , Year Date 2604 (=1944)

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).



The Rajah Hitam Coconut Estate, Limited was incorporated in the Strait Settlements around October1911. The Head Office of the Estate was established in Singapore. A branch office was later set up in Kuala Lumpur. Its main focus was on planting coconuts and producing kopra (copra) and coconut oil.  By the end of 1913, it had planted  close to 1000 acres of coconut trees in Peninsula Malaya. 

Malaya was well known for its fertile land. Hence plantations were developing at a fast pace in the early 1900’s. Most of these Estates or Plantations focused on rubber, timber , coconut and  palm oil. As these plantations expanded, they eventually started to give good financial returns.  Some of these entrepreneur plantations offered shares for sale to the public as a means of collecting funds. Thus the  investment arm of the business continued to grow. In return for the share holders investments in these company’s, attractive dividends were offered at the end of each financial year. 

The Rajah Hitam Coconut Estate, Limited, is one example of a very successful plantation. It obviously had issued shares to its investors as part of its initiative to expand and had offered dividends, in return for their investment and confidence in the company. 

On 10th June, 1949, an advertisement was placed in the Singapore News Straits Times newspaper by The Rajah Hitam Coconut Estate, Ltd, Kuala Lumpur. The 34th Annual General Meeting of the Company was to be held at No:1, The Embankment , Kuala Lumpur, on Friday 17th June, 1949. The annual general meeting had five main objectives, one being the declaration of dividends for the company. 

There was a 15% dividend being proposed to be paid out on 24th June, 1949. The transfer books of the company were to be closed between 17th to the 24th June, 1949 for the purpose of preparing Dividend Warrants for the Nominative Shares holders. Bearer Warrant holders were requested to present their Coupon No : 13 to the Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China , Kuala Lumpur branch for the receipt of payment for the above said dividends. 

Illustrated below is a photograph of the Coupon No : 13.
Obverse : The Rajah HItam Coconut Estate Limited (incorporated in the Straits Settlements)
                  Coupon No : 13 for dividend on 100 shares.  Warrant to Bearer No : 1207.
Reverse : Stamp of “Chartered Bank, Kuala Lumpur” with date  27th June,1949.                 Notation of “Paid” written, indicating bearer had collected his dividends 1949 from the bank. 

MALAYA - Petrol Ration Coupons 1941 - 1950

MALAYA  - Petrol Ration Coupons  1941 - 1950
by Saran Singh AMN, AMP, PNM

The Survey Department, Federation of Malaya, was established in 1924 as a printer of Government documents - Survey Maps, Emergency Bank Notes (the Malaya 10 Cents dated 15.8.1940 and 25 Cents dated 1.9.1940), Postage and Revenue Stamps, Rubber Export Coupons, War Savings Certificates and Bonds, Share Certificates, Identity Cards, Motor Vehicle Licenses and Petrol Ration Coupons. Its head office was located in Kuala Lumpur, with branches in Singapore, Penang and Malacca. Branches were also established in the States of Johore, Pahang, Kelantan, Kedah, Perak and Negeri Sembilan.
After the end of the Japanese occupation of Malaya (8th December 1941 to 15th August 1945), the British Military Administration, took over the control of Malaya on 12th September 1945 to 30th March 1946 (for a short period of 7 months). The Malayan Union was formed on 1st April 1946. The Malayan Union comprised of the Federated Malay States, the Unfederated Malay States and the former Straits Settlements (consisting of Penang and Malacca only). Singapore became a separate Crown Colony of England. The Malayan Union however proved to be very unpopular. This finally led to the formation of the Federation of Malaya on 1st February 1948.
At this time, there was an acute shortage of petrol in Malaya and the Crown Colony of Singapore. To overcome the problem, necessary measures were immediately taken to control and limit the distribution of petrol by the petrol dealers.

First Issue
The first Petrol Ration Coupons were printed in 1941, Some examples of these first issues exist with the words SPECIMEN. However, due to the Japanese occupation of Malaya, the issuance of these Petrol Ration Coupons could not be implemented. The Petrol Ration Coupons for public use, were issued in January 1947. These Coupons were printed in the values of 1 Gallon Petrol, 2 Gallons Petrol, 3 Gallons Petrol, 4 Gallons Petrol, 5 Gallons Petrol and 10 Gallons Petrol. These coupons had a validity period of three months. Motorcycle owners were issued with the 1 Gallon Petrol, 2 Gallons Petrol, 3 Gallons Petrol and 4 Gallons Petrol Ration Coupons. These Petrol Ration Coupons could be used by motor cycle as well as motor car owners. These Coupons were only valid for a specified period of 3 months. They were printed on pink colour paper, and were 43 mm X 55 mm in size. The words “Private Cars & Motorcycles” is printed in a circle on these coupons. These first series were issued by the Government of the Malayan Union.

Second Issue
In December 1947, The Surveyor-General of the Malayan Union and Singapore suggested to the Commissioner of Road Transport Kuala Lumpur to have one colour for the 1 Unit Petrol, 2 Units Petrol, 3 Units Petrol and 4 Units Petrol for use by motorcycles. A different colour was suggested for the 5 Units Petrol and 10 Units Petrol for use by motor cars. This colour difference and value in units was implemented with effect from 1948. The size of these petrol ration coupons was 45 mm X 55 mm. These second series of Petrol Ration Coupons were issued by the Government of the Federation of Malaya. The denomination of 1 Unit = 1 Gallon Petrol. In actual pratice, the smaller units of Petrol Ration Coupons could also be used for both motorcycles and motor cars irrespective of their colour.
In the second quarter of 1948, it was discovered that some unscrupulous people were making forgeries of the 10 Units Petrol Ration Coupons. The Road Transport Department of the Federation of Malaya, issued a stern warning. Any petrol licensed retailer in the Federation of Malaya who printed his own ‘Petrol Coupons’ forgeries, would be prosecuted, and would probably suffer suspension or cancellation of his license.

Third Issue
 In 1948, the 50 gallons Petrol Ration Coupons were printed for the first time. These were for use by higher horse-power cars and Government trucks and lorry’s. In 1949, the denomination was changed to 50 Units of Petrol. The 50 gallons Petrol Ration Coupons, was printed on a large piece of paper , 90 mm x 165mm, with the words in oval ‘COMPETENT AUTHORITY PETROL OIL AND LUBRICANTS’, with the validity period stated upon it. These were rubber stamped and signed by the various Road Transport Department officials in the States of the Federation of Malaya. The issue of these 50 Gallons Petrol Ration Coupons, was strictly controlled by the Road Transport Department. These high values were printed only in limited quantities. According to Government records, Petrol Ration Coupons to the value of 30 Gallons or Units of Petrol were to be also issued. However, not a single piece of the 30 Gallons Coupon has been seen so far. 

Crown Colony of Singapore  
In 1949, newly designed series of Petrol Ration Coupons were issues in Unit denomination, i.e., 1 Unit, 2 Units, 3 Units, 4 Units, 5 Units and 10 Units. 1 Unit was good for 1 Gallon of Petrol. The petrol ration coupons for the Crown Colony of Singapore were printed on special watermark paper with the words “SINGAPORE” embossed in the watermark. The coupons for Singapore also had the letter “S” in the bottom right hand corner. The size of these petrol ration coupons was 45 mm X 55 mm. The 50 Gallon Tetrol Ration Coupon had the words “Crown Colony of Singapore” printed above and was 90 mm x 165 mm in size.
After every quarter, the used Petrol Ration Coupons were destroyed by cutting them into small strips in the guillotine machine. They were then burned in the public incinerator in Cheras Road, Kuala Lumpur. Other States had their own manner of disposal, of these used Petrol Coupons.
In case these Petrol Ration Coupons were not used by the owner, they could be exchanged at pre-agreed values, and exchanged for goods or other services. In such a way, they were used as a medium of exchange or barter trading.
The last known issues of these Petrol Ration Coupons are for the period October - December 1950. It may be presumed that the supply of petrol in 1951, may have become normal, to adequately serve the needs of the Country.
Listed below is the average price per Gallon as a reference. 1 Imperial (British) Gallon Petrol  = 3.78 Liters Petrol . For the record the American Unit of 1 Gallon = 4 Liters.       
Average Price/Gallon
Average Price/Liter

(a)   “Petrol Coupons” by Lawrence de Souza (Published in Malaysia Numismatic Society Bulletin
Volume 29  No.1 January/February 1997).
(b)   Survey Department Federation of Malaya, Files and Journals 1924 - 1955.   
(c)   Federation of Malaya Government Gazette Volume  : IV, Number : 14. Dated 21st June, 1951



First Issue

                                 Malayan Union : Series 1 – July to September 1947. Color : Pink

                                Federation of Malaya : Series 2 – October to December 1949. Color : Green

                      Federation of Malaya : Series 2 – October to December 1949. Color : Blue

               Federation of Malaya for Singapore: Series 3 – July to September 1949. Color : Dark Blue

                   Federation of Malaya : Series 3 – July to September 1949. Color : Brown

                                  Federation of Malaya : Series 3 – January to March 1950.

                                        Color : Blue (3 Units) ; Orange (5 & 10 Units)

         Federation of Malaya : Series 3 – October  to December 1948. Color : Black - 50 Gallons (of Petrol)

           Federation of Malaya : Series 3 – January  to March 1949. Color : Green - 50 Units (of Petrol)

               Federation of Malaya : Series 3 – April  to June 1949. Color : Blue - 50 Units (of Petrol)

                Federation of Malaya : Series 3 – July  to September 1949. Color : Brown - 50 Units(of Petrol)

      Federation of Malaya : Series 3 – October  to December 1949. Color : Dark Green - 50 Units (of Petrol)

          Federation of Malaya : Series 3 – January  to March 1950. Color : Orange - 50 Units (of Petro