MYANMAR, PEGU, tin-lead alloy, minor, no date (16th-17th century)


MYANMAR, PEGU, minor, no date (16th-17th century), Obverse: lion running L, Reverse: blank, tin-lead alloy, 29mm, 10g, see Robinson plate 3 #17, VG

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Pegu (now Bago) is in southern Myanmar with a major port city of the same name. In medieval times it was an independent kingdom of Mon ethnicity. Pegu was frequently at war with it’s neighbors, and in a moment of weakness was taken by Portugal in 1600. It got back on it’s feet and was briefly independent again in the 18th century before being conquered by Burma.

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.

South Asia generally is taken to include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Some people would like to include Afghanistan and Burma, but that’s a minority opinion.

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.