- Origin: Southeast Asia, present day Indonesia and Malaysia
- Date: circa 15th to 19th century CE
- Metal: Tin alloy (typically contains copper and lead)
This is one of our weekly special offers, so quantity is limited - we have six of these "boat" ingots for sale.
These boat-shaped tin ingots were once traded as money by the various maritime empires and sultanates of Indonesia and Malaysia. They feature a distinctive crescent shape with a central pillar, reminiscent of a person rowing a canoe. Lateral holes suggest that these ingots were meant to be strung, possibly to be worn as charms or simply to make them more portable.
According to Chinese accounts, cast tin ingots were used as a form of currency in Southeast Asia beginning in the 15th century CE. These ingots took on various shapes such as rings, clasps, boats, and even animals. They were traded alongside many different types of coins as well, ranging from tin pitis to Spanish silver dollars. The use of tin ingots as money died down in the 19th century, and today many are found preserved at the bottom of rivers.
As a safety warning, these items are made of a tin alloy that likely includes lead. Though lead can be handled safely, it is important to take proper precautions: mainly, avoid touching your face and wash your hands after handling these items.
All purchases include a Certificate of Authenticity. You will receive one of the items in the photos above, along with a glass top leatherette display box.