Coins of Malaysia- Die Varieties and Varieties
by Saran Singh AMN, AMP, PNM
Saran Singh AMN, AMP, PNM
In 1967, Malaysia's new 1st series coinage was issued which bore the well known Parliment House design on the obverse. In 1989, the 2nd series of the newly designed coins bearing various cultural motifs and the National Hibiscus Flower (Bunga Raya) came into circulation. These designs were finally replaced in 2012 with the current 3rd series.(However, for the record, beautifully struck Non Circulating Legal Tender (NCLT) coins of the 3rd series with the year date 2011 were issued in a folder for collecters. )During this long period of 45 years, millions of coins were issued by Bank Negara Malaysia. For certain years, when the production of coinage was unusually large, new dies had to be prepared to replace the old worn out dies. This sometimes resulted in minor differences in the general design of the lettering or date by the Engraver when the new dies were prepared.

Die Varieties
This article deals with the various Die Varieties that have occured on the coinage of Malaysia since 1967. As mentioned earlier, a Die Variety occurs when an alternate die is made which may have slight differences in the cutting of the letters, date or design. Die Varieties must not be confused with Error Coins, which occur due to a malfunction or careless mistake, that may occur during their manufacture at the Mint.

The author has taken the liberty of including coins that are struck with a different metal content e.g. 1 sen 1973/1976 Copper and 1 sen 1973/1976 Copper Clad Steel which are also included even though these are not die varieties. These are basically two different metal content coins struck from the same die. These are listed as Varieties and must not be confused with the Die Varieties. Coins that have two different planchet variations e.g. 1 sen 1970 Flat Top Rim and Tappered Rim are also included. Another example is the 1 Sen 1991 with the edge of the coin in Copper as well as Copper Clad Steel.

Error Coins
The author has also included error coins which are not within the preview of this article. However, some popular error coins like Malaysia 50 Sen 1979. DOT and 1988. DOT as well as the Malaysian 5 sen 2009 Double Die (Twin Towers) and the Die Crack Error (1 1/2 Towers) are included for the sake of posterity.

There are likely to be other Die Varieties and Varieties which are not included below due to the lack of information. Readers of this article are invited to share their knowledge with the writer for the benefit of all Numismatists.

Parliament House- 1st Series Coins- Die Varieties
1 Sen 1970 Variety 1 - Copper, Flat Top Rim
1 Sen 1970 Variety 2 - Copper, Tappered Edge
1 Sen 1970 Variety 3 - Copper Clad Steel, Tappered Edge, Pattern, RRR
1 Sen 1970 Variety 3 - Copper Clad Steel, Tappered Edge, Pattern, RRR
1 Sen 1973 Die Variety 1 - Copper clad steel, evenly spaced date
1 Sen 1973 Die Variety 2 - Copper clad steel, figure 3 in date slightly apart
1 Sen 1973 Variety 3- Copper, evenly spaced date similar to Die Variety 1

1 Sen 1976 Variety 1 - Copper clad steel
1 Sen 1976 Variety 2- Copper. RR

1 Sen 1986 Variety 1 - top part of figure 6 in date curved
1 Sen 1986 Variety 2 - top part of figure 6 in date straight
1 Sen 1986 Variety 1 - top part of figure 6 in date curved

1 Sen 1986 Variety 2 - top part of figure 6 in date straight

1 sen 1991 Variety 1 - Edge of coin copper and steel clad
1 Sen 1991 Variety 2 - Edge of coin copper clad

5 Sen 1982 - DOT or several DOTS at right of parliament house on obverse. This is a die gauge Error and NOT a Die Varietly. This has occured due to a worn die which got from bad to worse because of continuous usage during production at the mint.
5 Sen 1982 - DOT
10 Sen 1971 Variety 1- Milled Edge Teppered

10 Sen 1971 Variety 2 - Milled Edge Flat/Square. Small DOT. in the letter L of Malaysia

10 Sen 1971 Variety 3 - Milled Edge Teppered. The figure O of the denomination has been re- engraved and occurs with a small line within O, otherwise, this coin is similar to Variety 1.

20 Sen 1973 Die Variety 1 - Figure 3 in date normal size
20 Sen 1973 Die Variety 2 - Figure 3 in date larger and further apart.

50 Sen 1979 -DOT, Extra Dot at base of Parlaiment House. Die Gauage Error

50 Sen 1988- DOT, Extra at top right of Parliament House. Die Gauage Error

$1 1969 -10th Anniversary of Bank Negara Malaysia
Die Variety 1 - Flat Lettering (struck from PROOF coin Dies)
Die Variety 2 - Round Lettering (struck from normal Dies)

$1 1971 - Parliment House
Die Variety 1 - Royal Mint. Letter M of Malaysia
Die Variety 2 - Shah Alam Mint. Letter M of Malaysia (variation in style of M)

Source:Saran Singh AMN, AMP, PNM 
Photos by Dickson Niew 
To Be Continued................


  1. Gd morning to you,
    A timely posting as i am gaining interest in coins varieties too.A few
    comments here.
    1.Have 2 1 sen 1973 copper clad steel coins.Date evenly spaced.The
    differences [ i think} are on 1...the neck of '7'is thinner n more curved, and secondly..
    '3'appears thinner.
    2The $1 1971 coin where it is noted there is a variation in the letter 'M'.
    Would that be considered an 'edge variety' ?
    3.Has Mr Saran Singh comes out with a book on the coins varieties.

    Thank You. Have a pleasant day

  2. Hi QPS,
    Thank you for dropping by.
    The $1 1971 coin with a variation in the letter 'M' is suppose to be called "Die Variety" and not named "edge variety" because there were mint from two different Mint factory.Not only the "M" is with different font, the finishing detalis are different too.
    Mr Saran Singh will not be publishing the book on coin varieties but will be keep posting interesting articles on numismatics through my Blog.
    Part 2 of the coin varieties and error varieties of Master Saran will be posted later as the sharp photographs and the materials are yet to be ready.And I am very busy with 2 auctions preparation.Sorry!

  3. Hi Dickson,

    Need some help from you regarding 1970 1 sen varieties.

    1 Sen 1970 Variety 1 - Copper, Flat Top Rim
    1 Sen 1970 Variety 2 - Copper, Tappered Edge ...

    The tapered edge is it very easy spoted?Which one is more rare 1 or 2 ...?

    Thanks and regards

  4. Anonymous
    The tapered edge (Variety 2) is more difficult to collect. In MNS Auction 156, a MNS member bidded an Gem UNC piece up to RM550.