World Coins

Sarawak coins turned into jewelry offered in auction

Jewelry made from 18 silver coins, most representing Sarawak, is offered in Mavin International’s July 14 and 15 auction in Singapore.

Image courtesy of Mavin International.

An auction in Singapore features a unique piece of jewelry made from coinage. The Mavin International auction, scheduled for July 14 and 15, includes a chain composed of 18 coins. 

Fifteen of the coins are silver 50-cent pieces from Sarawak, plus one Straits Settlements Victoria 50-cent coin, with two soldered Sarawak 50-cent coins unattached to the main chain.

Because the coins have been turned into jewelry, they are no longer collectible per se, but the resulting item is a piece of numismatic folk art from a time when part of modern-day Malaysia was ruled by the Brooke family. 

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When Sir James Brooke assisted the Sultan of Brunei in quelling an uprising in Borneo in 1841, he was appointed as the governor of Sarawak as payment for his valorous efforts and good deeds. Before its fall in 1941 to Japanese conquest, the state of Sarawak on the northwest of the island of Borneo was ruled by three generations of the Brooke family from the West Country of England.


Each of these rulers issued tokens or coinage, pieces that fascinate even today.

The jewelry is made in the Peranakan style, according to the firm. Peranakan Chinese, or Straits-born Chinese, are the descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago including British Malaya (now Malaysia and Singapore).

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The coin jewelry has an estimate of 850 Singapore dollars (about $625 U.S.) or more. 

For more information about other lots in the auction, visit the firm’s website.

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