Old square coins – an exciting find

I would have to rank this as the absolute highlight of my visits to Christmas Island. How I came to find these three coins, two partially buried, all within a metre of each other, is nearly a story in itself that I won’t go into here. Suffice to say that it was a thrilling find for me. Three little survivors:

Head side “George V King and Emperor of India” – Tails side “Straits Settlements 1936”.

Head side “George VI King Emperor” – Tails side “Commissioners of Currency Malaya 1939”

Head side “George VI King Emperor” – Tails side “Commissioners of Currency Malaya 1943”

Select the images below to view the three coins.


I thought the 1943 coin was very interesting because it was dated during World War II. I found a great description and it is apparent that it wasn’t in circulation until after the war:

The British Government established the Malay Planning Unit in London in 1943 to prepare for the return to Civil Government in the area after the Japanese invasion force was removed. One of the steps it took was to have the Royal Mint strike coins, ready for placement in circulation soon after the return (the Japanese issued no coinage, relying on paper money). The coins were stock-piled in London until Malaya was placed under British Military Administration in August 1945 when they were soon put into circulation.

The 1943 bronze 1 cent was struck with a wartime alloy – 97% copper, 2 1/2% zinc and 1/2% tin (pre-war 95 1/2% copper, 3% tin, 1 1/2% zinc) owing to the war needs for tin. Also on account of the war, Proof of Record strikes were largely discontinued …

Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/51066

I was very happy to be able to give these coins to Nora Koh at Tai Jin House so she could display them at the museum there. For the record, I also gave photographic and written information of where they had been found. This is important as it gives context to the found items.

I would urge anyone, locals or visitors to please not take any finds off the island.