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Thursday, June 18, 2009

North Borneo Coins and Token


North Borneo was a former British colony that is now part of Malaysia.  It had its own coins until World War II. The coins include the 1 and 5 Cent, both struck in copper-nickel. One side of the coin shows the denomination.  The other side shows the countries arms which include two natives (one with a very large sword) upholding a shield that shows a lion and a ship.   The coins were struck at the Heaton Mint in Birmingham, England and will date from the mid 1930's until 1941.


Little is known about this rare plantation token from British North Borneo, (now known as Sabah).  One side has the legend "N.L.B.T.C.L. ESTATE SHOP / 1 CENT"  the other side has the Chinese characters for "One Cent In Exchange". The brass piece is 24mm in diameter and has a center hole.  It is believed to have been issued by the New London Boreno Tobacco Company Ltd. in the late 1800's or early 1900's.  It was used to pay workers - and was redeemable at the company store.  Because of abuses by plantation owners, the use of plantation tokens in British Borneo was outlawed in 1920.  The coin grades Fine, however it is slightly corroded from being in a tropical environment.