Sir James Brooke died in 1868 and was succeeded by his nephew, Charles Johnson who had previously adopted the surname Brooke on being named as his heir. He was created GCMG in 1888, the year in which the British government negotiated a treaty of protection. Britain undertook to look after foreign affairs, leaving the "White Rajahs" in control of internal affairs.
Sir Charles had been rajah for three years before he ordered a new series of coins bearing his profile. These coins followed the previous pattern, merely substituting the moustached portrait of Sir Charles, and the initial C instead of J in the title. The date 1870 appeared on the reverse, although the coins were not actually issued till the following year.
New cents and half-cents were ordered in 1879, but thereafter only cents were issued, at more or less annual intervals, till 1891 (with the exception of 1881 and 1883).
For much of this period orders for coins continued to be placed through Smith & Wright. In 1889, however, responsibility for ordering the coins was transferred to the British North Borneo Company in London and henceforward the coins were impressed with the H mint mark of the Heaton Mint.
Thus the cent dated 1889 exists in two versions, with or without the H mint mark which appears on the reverse, below the ribbon of the wreath. Some 3,210,000 cents were struck that year, equally divided between those with and without the mint mark.
All of the cents issued in 1890 had the mint mark, but in 1891 only about two-thirds of the mintage (1,623,888 in all) bore the letter H, while the others were unmarked.
In 1891, the export of coins from Sarawak was forbidden due to complaints by the Straits Settlements Government. As a result, from 1892 to 1897 the one cent coins of Sarawak had a centre hole, which meant they were thicker to preserve the same weight and diameter as earlier coins, and necessitated a smaller portrait of the Rajah on the obverse. The protected status of Sarawak was also reflected in the design of the cent introduced in 1892 where the crossed flags below the hole represented those of Sarawak and Britain.
The wreathed value reverse was modified to allow for the central hole. These coins bore the H mint mark as before. Cents alone appeared in 1893 and 1894, but in 1896 they were joined by a comparatively small quantity of halves and quarters.
[Article] James A Mackay, Coin Digest, 1989 Vol.2 No.1.:
"Issues of copper cents were made in 1937 and 1941, production of each date being continued in 1938 and 1942, respectively. This accounts for the rumour that 1942 cents were struck; but an examination of the Birmingham Mint records indicates that all coins struck early in 1942 merely continued the 1941 date. Of the 1941 cents some 2,016,000 were struck in that year and a further 984,000 in 1942 (including 18,227 by ICI).
Due to the outbreak of the war in South-east Asia in December 1941, however, the entire issue was recalled before it could be dispatched to Sarawak and subsequently melted down. Only about 50 examples of the 1 cent of 1941 are now believed to be in existence."
References to additional information:
[Book] Atkins, James. 1889. The Coins and Tokens of the Possessions and Colonies of the British Empire. pp 228-229
[Book] Saran, Singh. The Encyclopaedia of the Coins of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, 1400-1967. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Malaysia Numismatic Society, 1986. pp 351-372.
[Book] Kavanagh, Kevin F. 1969. The Coins of Malaysia, pp 65-73
[Book] Remick, Jerome. 1971. British Commonwealth Coins, pp 489-492
[Article] History of Sarawak Coinage, James A Mackay, Coin Digest, 1989 Vol.2. No.1