NETHERLANDS INDIES, SUMATRA plantation token circa 1900


INDONESIA, SUMATRA, token, no date, (1902-13), Obverse: MUNT VAN DE ASAHAN TABAK MAATSCHAPPY “SILAU” 1/5 DOLLAR, Reverse: 3 Chinese characters (20 cents silver), A T M S, nickel, 22mm, 4.44g, VF

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The normal explanation of plantation tokens in general has to do with local coin shortages. An equally strong case can be made that they were a scheme to make more money off the workers, who had to spend the tokens at the company store.

This catch-all category of exonumia to include things that don’t fit in the other categories. Coal scatter, bale tags, things to put on keychains, seals, and so forth.

The word “exonumia” is used to describe all kinds of things that are “like” coins but are not coins. I wrote a blog post on that subject. Basic categories: 1. used like a coin but not issued by a national government, 2. looks like a coin but not made for spending, 3. other things that we are interested in.