LAOS VIENTIANE KINGDOM tiger tongue lat circa 1707-1828


LAOS, VIENTIANE KINGDOM, lat, no date (circa 1707-1828), Obverse: tiger tongue marks, ,billon, 106x21mm, 76.12g, MN-3013, F

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The later Lanchang coinage was the slug shaped ingots called lat. The Vientiane Kingdom continued the lat tradition, first in the form of the so-called “tiger tongue,” relatively large coins with characteristic rows of squashed circles and dots. During the “odd and curious” period of collecting of non-coin money (1950s-60s) there was a story that the marks were made by the struggles of ants dropped into the molten metal, but that’s just ridiculous.

The big player in East Asia is China, of course. Then there is Japan and Korea, throw in Mongolia. South of China and east of India, but not including, for the most part, the islands to the east, is what we call Southeast Asia. From Burma to Malaya there have been a series of local kingdoms for about 2000 years. Russia, with its Asian Siberia, doesn’t count. We consider it part of Europe.

By “Modern World Coins” we mean here, generally, the round, flat, shiny metal objects that people have used for money and still do. “Modern,” though, varies by location. There was some other way they were doing their economies, and then they switched over to “modern coins,” then they went toward paper money, now we’re all going toward digital, a future in which kids look at a coin and say “What’s that?” We’ll say: “We used to use those to buy things.” Kids will ask “How?” The main catalog reference is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, to which the KM numbers refer.