Old currencies used in Singapore

I was at the bank to deposit some money including some old currency notes that are legal tender when it dawned on me they might be collector’s items and worth more than their face value.  I also have some Japanese ‘banana’ money that used to be worthless. I thought they might be in demand now.

Does anyone in SHC know the value of the old currencies shown in the image below? It will save me a trip to the antique shops if someone does.  :)  The image shows:

Top row (l-r): Japanese one dollar; Japanese fifty cents.

Mid row (l-r): Malaya and British Borneo one dollar; Japanese five cents.

Bottom row (l-r): Malaya one dollar; Malaya ten cents.

Coins (l-r): Malaya 20 cents; 10 cents; 5 cents – all obverse King George VI.

Square coin: Straits Settlements 1 cent – obverse King George V.

It was quite interesting scrutinizing these old notes and coins and thinking of the history of early Singapore.


Author: Jassmine Teo

I came to know about the SHC from eNN (Seng Kang). My interests are varied. I write on the forum regularly to improve my writing. In my autumn years, my priority is voluntary service. Hope to meet like-minded people and help initiate a programme/project for the disabled like the hearing impaired.

34 thoughts on “Old currencies used in Singapore”

  1. Haha Jassmine…

    You need an old person to reply to old notes! First must say that I’m no collector or expert on old currencies… but I do accept notes of any age especially high value ones!

    Now I have some bad news for you: Man numismatic sHops in Singapore will not buy anything from you…they have too much stock of their own. Even if they are willing to make an offer it’ll be like antique dealers who may “buy your junk and sell them as antiques”!

    Old currencies and coins are valued by their rarity, condition and, of course, face value and physical content of silver or gold in the case of coins. Collectors expect and demand “mint” condition e.g. Even a rare note but if it is folded or creased would reduce its value by as much as 50%!

    Right now, I can safely say, your collection would be better served by letting your grandchildren have them as a historical souvenir or exhibit for a school project.

  2. Alamak, Kenneth, you have dashed my hope for a mini windfall with your pessimistic pronouncement! Since my little stash of old currencies is worthless, I don’t think anyone will be happy to inherit it. Hmm… I shall turn it into a work of art, frame it up and may be get the windfall this way. Lol!
    [image=money tree.png]

  3. Jassmine… I didn’t say they they were worthless … But certainly they were worth less than what you expected. I can say that my views were from personal experience: Yes, I was in your shoes…with a little stash of notes and coins…

    But I did find a shop which was a little different from all the others…which was willing to buy some items. I think the owner has a lot of cash and does not mind hoarding some notes and coins, or he has a market overseas.

    If you like, I can take you there and you can decide if the fortune you have is worth your selling it!

  4. Hi Kenneth,

    I do have some old currency and coins inherited from my late father. If there is a buyer I would like to sell it. If you do not mind please email me at: temasek95@hotmail.com, the details of the shop. You may let me have the details after bringing Jassmine to the shop.

    Hi Jassmine,

    Do not worry, I will not get to the shop before you as I do not have the time to look into this before the end of the year or beyond.


  5. Hi Kenneth
    Appreciate your willingness to take me (and Moon?) to the antique shop. :) Is it ok if we just browse in the shop and ask the antique dealer for his valuation of old currencies and other old stuff like stamps?

    Hi Moon
    Hope you can join us after we fix a date. :)

  6. Hi Jassmine
    It’s not an antique shop but a numismatic shop… Yes, I think they’d be happy to look at your collection and make you an offer if they want the items. We can do it sometime after 11th May…
    Moon: care to come?

  7. I’m just an amateur coin collector too. Glad we found each other here. Though we’ve met but none of us knew about our common interest. Yes, now there’re 3 of us.

  8. Hi Kenneth,

    Thanks for your kindness. Please go ahead to arrange a time with Jassmine and Susan. If I can make it, I will join in. I am still working to take care of my 3 square meals. Furthermore, most of the coins are in the safe deposit box.

  9. Hi there!
    I collect coins and currencies too. Perhaps we can have a gathering to meetup to exchange our extras.

    In the present days, it’s difficult to value our collections be them coins and currencies or whatever. Many things have changed over the decades since I first collected stamps in my younger days. Then collection expanded to first day covers, match boxes, badges, bus tickets, phone & mrt cards, electronic door cards from hotels and stirrers. These days people are most interested in collecting the latest gadgets or electronic devices. Sigh.

  10. Hey Jassmine,
    I have a rather large collection of proof coins which I collected from as far back as the 1970’s. I too want to find out what they are worth and if anyone is interested to take them off my hands, of course for a tidy profit, haha.
    I have several kilos of them, serious, and I don’ t know what to do with them. They are all still in mint condition, not unwrapped.
    Perhaps we could arrange for a meeting of like minded people and see if we can put a value to our collections?

  11. Hi Kenneth,
    Can we go to the numismatic shop on Friday afternoon, May 15? Since it’s a numismatic shop, I shall only bring old currencies and commemorative coins for valuation.

    Hi Susan, Yew Kwong
    For old currencies, I’m no collector. They were left behind by relatives. I briefly collected commemorative coins, stamps, jewellery, books (Lat and Charlie Brown). I regret I didn’t collect property(LOL!)
    I like the idea of meeting to share our collections…kiv ?

    Hi Mary
    I think the proof coins should be worth something. If Kenneth is free to go to the numismatic shop on Fri 15, do come along and let the dealer valuate the coins as what I will be doing. As for like-minded collectors meeting, yes – and we can use Kenneth’s condo function room, right, Kenneth? Lol!

  12. Heehee…only few of us…can use my library meeting room… I mean my condo’s.

    I’m also not a collector…but have a few more coins left to sell…so Friday 15th may be a good day to meet at the dealer’s. Will be in touch when I get back Wednesday. Oh yes, I wanted to say that we should keep our silver and gold coins as the price now is low and I believe that could be a hedge against any market crisis.

  13. Jassmine, thanks for the invitation.
    Kenneth, appreciate your bringing us to a numismatist. I will bring along a selected few for valuation.

  14. Hi Kenneth
    According to the Chinese Almanac, May 15 is a good day for selling coins. lol! So it’s confirmed we will visit the numismatic shop with Mary on Fri May 15.
    I think I will sell my silver commemorative coins despite the low silver price as I’ve lost interest in these coins.

    Calling other currency/coin collectors, do join us if you are free. :)

  15. My dad did left some currencies/coins of some countries especially those very early of China communist time coins – Dont know how they are worth cos dun know.. But I really dont mind meeting this kind of meeting to show off some of these coins lor.. Let me know if meeting is confirmed.

    Cheers.. Dolly

  16. Hi Hi Kenneth
    I keep the Mr yusof notes of $2 $5 $10 since it first circulated and never use it (brand new). It’s about 20 years now. Does it worth any money more than it face value?

    Hi everyone, I have some stamp collection and coins of different countries too. Don’t mind to learn something about them if there’s a meeting of this sort

  17. Hi Mary
    I think I will leave the time and meet place to Kenneth as he is the shepherd. lol!

    To all looking forward to a meeting of currency collectors, I ‘ll ask Kenneth if he could host a sharing session after our visit to the numismatic shop. I think Kenneth and YK can shade some light on those currencies and coins in our possession that we are clueless about.

  18. Hi Jasmine, Kenneth, Yew Kwong, Moon & Frisna,
    I am also a collectors of old coins and currencies note. By the way there are a few websites where they can trade our coins and also currencies. You just need to Google it and many websites both local and oversea are available . I am having the SHC May monthly meeting on 21 May 2015, Thursday 5-8.30pm at The Gallerie Foodcourt 04-101/102 Marina Square. All of you are welcome to come for the meeting and we can talk also about coins and currencies notes beside smartphones. Cheers..
    Bobby Bok

  19. Hi Bobby
    Tks for suggesting google. I did a quick search on currency of Straits Settlement and this is what I found about the selling price of some notes: Refer to image:
    Clockwise $1 Queen E -$20; $10 George VI -$420 (wow!); $10 buffalo -$400 (wow!); $10 George V -$450 (wow!). I matched the dates and the design but not the serial numbers. Anyway it was very exciting to see that I have some of the notes ppl are selling!

    Regarding the monthly meeting, I’m only free from 4 to 5p.m. hence regret can’t attend, otherwise I’ll like to have your opinion of the old currencies I have.
    [image=straits settlement 002.JPG]

  20. Hi guys!
    So I guess it’s Feb 15th then…

    Can we meet at 11.30am at the Chinatown MRT…go for lunch at Hong Lim food centre…anything from char kway teow to crayfish noodles…then proceed to hawk our coins!

    So see you Jassmine..and Mary, and any others welcome?

  21. Hi Kenneth
    Welcome back! Was it a good trip?
    About Friday’s visit to the numismatic shop, can I meet you either at Hong Lim food centre or the shop itself (is it at the same building?) at 2p.m.? I’m not free to meet at lunchtime.

  22. Hi Jassmine and all others

    It looks like we’ll not be meeting for a discussion/viewing before going to the shop… But, I should be at the Coffee Chat on Thursday if anyone cares to bring their collection.

    It should be fine if we all meet at 2pm on Friday 15 at the Chinatown MRT and go straight to the shop. We do not need to make any commitment and just try to get an evaluation and view their display.

  23. Hi Kenneth
    I shall meet you at the Chinatown MRT at 2p.m. on Fri 15 May. Which Exit?
    It’s a good idea to talk about old currencies at the coffee meet, but I’m not able to make it this week. May be the next one.
    Can I ask you about the gold coin in the image? It was minted to commemorate 150 years of the founding of S’pore. Is the gold solid? (sure hope it is!)
    [image=coin 001.JPG]

  24. Hi Jassmine

    Yes, it looks like the real McCoy…do you still have the packing and box?
    The stated value on the website is $1,200. Bring it along for an offer!

    OK Mary…see you guys at the exit nearer People’s Park Centre at 2pm.

  25. Hi Kenneth,
    I will like to join in also, hv few pcs of old Straits Settlement coins, uncut notes and few issues of commerative coins (frm Singapore Mints).
    See you and rest on 21May.


  26. Hi Peter
    We are visiting the numismatic shop on this Friday, 15 May. (not 21 May).
    Glad to see you joining us. :)

    Hi Kenneth
    I only have the original little plastic bag that came with the gold ‘lighthouse’ coin. Now I have a big problem – to sell or not to sell, that’s the question…lol!

  27. Thanks to Kenneth we had an interesting experience at a numismatic shop. :)
    The $10 coins featuring an animal in the Chinese zodiac are worth only their face value – after three decades! Sigh…
    If you have the $1 coin shown in the image – smile! It’s worth $3! [image=coin lion 001.JPG]

  28. Kenneth, thank you for bringing us to the numismatic place in Furama. I will be visiting them again as I have quite a big collection. I want to convert them to cash as I find the heavy coins very cumbersome.
    It was rather disappointing to learn that the souvenir notes that I have been keeping are worth only their face value according to the lady there. Anyway, I will keep them still and hope to find someone who wants to pay more for them.
    Anyone interested to buy? Hahaha.

  29. Numismatic news update
    I sold my $10 uncirculated animal coins – rat, cow, tiger, rabbit, snake, horse – for $15 each to an individual who was interested in collecting all 12 animals from year 1984 onwards.
    (Kenneth, don’t pound your chest! lol!)
    Though the price was a bit low, I’m happy to have sold them :)

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