MYANMAR 10 kyat “opium” weight


MYANMAR, 10 kyat weight, no date (17-18th century AD), hantha (“duck”) shape, single crest, 2 grooves on left side of head. 1 on right, rounded tail & beak, slightly heptagonal base, bronze, 58x31x31mm, 160.7g, F

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In the 17th and 18th centuries the Burmese government authorized the use of standard weights for market transactions. When the “odd and curious” dealers of the mid-20th century wanted to market these weights to collectors they conceptually linked the weights with the notorious product in hopes of piquing interest.

Myanmar is pronounced “Burma.” It is a large country in the shadow of giant neighbors. It is filled with people of various ethnicities who have never gotten along. The currently ascendant Burmese conquered the inhabitants several centuries ago. Some noteworthy acts of mass violence have occurred. My favorite is when a certain king had 9000 of his subjects (no citizens, just subjects) murdered so their hearts could be burned to make a magic potion to bring him luck.

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.