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Pewter coins were issued in Trengganu and Kelantan in the 18th century.The Malay Peninsula was a central emporium of trade between the Chinese merchants in the east, and the Indian as well as Arab traders.
The early days of the Straits Settlements of Singapore were marked by an acute shortage of currency.Find out more about Singapore's role as a vibrant and sophisticated financial centre serving the region and global markets and the depth and breadth of products and services offered by the multitude of industry players here.Read more Coins found from sites such as Fort Canning Hill and the new Parliament House Complex, dating back as early as the 10th and 11th centuries, proved that Singapore was already a busy trading centre long before the establishment of the British East India Company in the region.Research has shown that from 8th century AD, Chinese copper cash imported by Chinese merchants became the main currency for trade in the Malay Peninsula.A local indigenous version, pitis, cast from tin, eventually evolved from this model during the last two decades of the 18th century.By the 15th century, currencies made from native materials such as gold, tin and pewter were used.
These included tampang or money cast in shapes of pagodas and pyramids and tin-animal money.
The tampang developed into the lighter hollow 'tin-hat' shape and was used up to 1893.
Some states such as Johore, Kelantan and Trengganu also issued gold coins from the 15th to 18th centuries, while conventional shaped tin coins appeared in Malacca in the 15th century.
Indian and Penang coinage were the official standards, but merchants preferred the Spanish and Mexican silver dollars because of the high quality silver in these coins.
Owing to the wide and varied trade in the island, a much greater range of silver dollars such as the Peruvian, Bolivian, Hong Kong and American dollars, and the Japanese Yen were also in circulation.
Under those circumstances, a problem of an established exchange medium arose.