Tin Hat Money or Tampang

As early as the 16th century, foreign traders recorded that tin intended for commerce was cast into tin ingots of fixed weight and used for all major transactions in the bazaar (market place) as a form of currency. The value of each ingot depended upon it's weight, and thus the shape and size of each ingot was of little consequence. Most of the tin ingots were cast in Perak but a small quantity were also cast in the neighbouring States of Selangor and Pahang. These tin ingots circulated extensively in Perak, Selangor, Pahang and Negeri Sembilan over a very long period. They were also acceptable in the neighbouring Malay states in the Malay Peninsula as well as in Sumatra. These currency blocks of tin ingots were used for internal and international trade.
Bidor : Perak Tin Ingot With "Mangosteen Rossette" Design.
   The currency denomination of these ingots was based upon the amount of tin that could be exchanged for one Spanish silver dollar (8 Reales). This value varied from time to time and from place to place. The average weight and rate of exchange was 10 Katis (6 Kilos 50 grammers) to the silver dollar (8 Reales) in Perak. In Selangor the rate of exchange was 8 Katis (4 Kilos 840 grammes) to the silver dollar (8 Reales). There were also smaller and lighter tin ingots which were used for minor purchases.

   The Tampangs were gradually withdrawn and replaced with the coinage of the Straits Settlements in proportionte values until finally demonetized in 1893.

Tampang Mould
    The early ingots were made using sand or clay moulds. At a later stage, the solid tin ingot known as sugar loaf was made using a brass mould with a "mangosteen rossette" design at the top. The tampang was casted by pouring the molten tin into the brass mould. The mould had a handle for the person to hold in casting the tampang.


Duit Bentuk Topi Atau Tampang

   Seawal kurun ke 16, pedagang-pedagang asing telah mencatitkan bahawa timah yang hendak diperdagangkan telah ditempa menjadi jongkong-jongkong timah yang beratnya ditetapkan dan digunakan untuk semua jenis urus niaga utama di pasar sebagai sejenis matawang. Nilai setiap jongkong bergantung kepada  beratnya dan oleh itu bentuk dan saiz setiap jongkong tidak begitu penting.

 Kebanyakan jongkong-jongkong timah ditempa di negeri Perak tetapi terdapat juga sebilangan kecil yang ditempa di negeri-negeri jiran seperti Selangor dan Pahang. Lama-kelamaan jongkong-jongkong timah ini diedarkan dengan meluasnya di Perak, Selangor, Pahang dan Negeri Sembilan. Ia juga diterima di Negeri-negeri Melayu yang berjiranan di Semenanjung Tanah Melayu serta di Sumatera. Matawang dari jongkong-jongkong timah ini digunakan untuk perdagangan tempatan dan juga antarabangsa.

   Nilai matawang bagi jongkong-jongkong ini adalah berdasarkan kepada banyaknya timah yang dapat ditukarkan dengan satu dolar perak Sepanyol (8 Reales). Nilai ini berubah-ubah mengikut masa dan tempat. Di Perak, hitung panjang berat dan kadar pertukarannya adalah 10 kati (6 kilo 50 gram) untuk satu dolar perak (8 Reales). Di Selangor, kadar pertukarannya adalah 8 kati (4 kilo 840 gram) untuk satu dolar perak (8 Reales). Terdapat juga jongkong-jongkong yang lebih kecil serta lebih ringan yang digunakan untuk pembelian-pembelian kecil.

   Tampang beransur-ansur ditarik balik dan digantikan dengan duit-duit syiling Negeri-negeri Selat yang setara nilainya sehinggalah ia dimansuhkan dalam tahun 1893.

Acuan Tampang

   Jongkong yang terawal diperbuat dengan menggunakan acuan dari pasir ataupun tanah liar. Kemudiannya, jongkong pejal timah yang lebih dikenali sebagai "sugar loaf " atau tampang telah diperbuat dengan menggunakann acuan tembaga yang mempunyai corak "tampok manggis" pada bahagian atasnya. Tampang ini diperbuat secara tuangan dengan menuangkan timah cair ke dalam acuan tembaga. Acuannya pula mempunyai pemegang untuk pembuatnya memegang semasa penuangan tampang dilakukan.


  1. Hi Dickson,
    Very interesting article.
    When we read about these ancient money, we think about the Chinese sycees too.
    Wonder how much are these tin money worth in the present numismatic market?
    Thanks a lot for the info, Dickson :)

  2. Great information as usual Mr. Dickson! I have never seen such money before.

  3. Hi Whycollect,
    Pahang's Tampang is about RM600 per piece and Perak Bidor Tin Ingot worth about RM850.00 to RM1200.00.

    The Chinese sycees are still in my wanted list,looking and waiting for a trusted collector to let go his Chinese cash collection!

  4. Hi David Danny,

    I will show you a piece of Perak Bidor Tin Ingot in your next visit to my Dickson Niew collection Corner.

    Happy Sunday,bro!

  5. Dam beautiful, i wish to have one. Maybe i want to become treasure hunter also.

  6. Dear Hooi Yew,
    Good! Good to be a treasure hunter,just make sure don't end up be a ghost hunter!

  7. Hi ,

    I run into this forum by luck today while searching for more Perak Tin ingot information. I am from Melacca and also a serious ancient Chinese small cash coin collectors. 2 year back I encountered a strange square shape tin money and later found it could be Malaya currency. The weight is 570g, with flower/mangoseteen desin on top. Quite close to the 4th images from top. Beside, I also have 11 pieces Melacca tin coin that imitate China cash coin dated around 14th~15th century. Some Straits Settlement cash coins and bank notes to let go as well. Interested collectors can contct me at dominicsew@hotmail.com

  8. Thanks for the good sharing above..Useful information.