Learning about coin collecting
By John Tiong - 4 August 2014 @ 1:46 PM
Full Report:
Reporter: Mr.John Tiong,
Photographer: Mr.S.Sugumaran.

MALAYSIAN Numismatic Society honorary secretary Dickson Niew says rookie coin collectors should be aware of pitfalls in the hobby.

He said there were many fakes in the market, including things such as assisted freak coins which are not worth collecting because they are not real mint errors.

Niew said the rule of thumb was not to fall for something that sounded too good to be true, such as a rare coin with a low price or the easy availability of such coins.

He said there were some 3,000 numismatists in the country and added that eight out of 10 Malaysians would have collected some coins during their lifetimes.

He advised new hobbyists to start out by collecting Malaysian coins as they would be most familiar with local coins.

He also urged them to take the time to read up on the subject and make friends with the old-timers who could guide them.
Niew writes on coin collecting at

The first rule, he said, was to be very observant. For example, he said, the 50 sen coin was worth RM80 if the tip of the wau was off from its 11 o'clock position. The further off it is, the more the coin is worth, said Niew.

Among the pricier coins, he said, were coins with planchat errors, where a part of the design was missing. Errors at the mint may result in irregular shapes, images and other defects which increases the value of a coin.

"There is always a ready buyer for a rare coin or note," said Niew who regularly attends numismatic auction fairs in Malaysia and Singapore.

He said one of the rarest Malaysian coins was the 1976 one cent bronze. He said only 100 pieces were minted and they were now worth about RM12,000 each. He said the 1971 10-sen coins were worth some RM700 each because only 32,000 were minted.
Niew said the RM1 banknote signed by Tan Sri Ali Abul Hassan Sulaiman was worth about RM6,000.

He said it was special because all of the banknotes in the third series bore Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz's signature, except for the prefix CR that came with the late Tan Sri Ali Abul Hassan Sulaiman's signature
He said there were only banknotes with CR serial numbers from 720xxxx to 724xxxx, meaning there were a maximum of 40,000 to 50,000 pieces.

Niew stocks all kinds of old coins at his shop, Dickson Niew Collection, here.
They include coins from the Malay Archipelago dating back to the early days of Islam. The tin duit ayam from Kedah are about 500 years old and fetch about RM1,800 each.

Tin coins from Perak, made in the shape of animals such as fishes, clams and birds, are also sold at between RM250 and RM400 each.


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