North Borneo: Coins Issued and Used

Showing only circulating coin types (regular coinage plus circulating commemoratives).

North Borneo (1882 - 1963)
Information about what currencies were issued by North Borneo, with lists of coinage, as well as periods when foreign-issued currencies were used.
Currency: British North Borneo Dollar. Used in North Borneo: (1882 - 1953)
CurrencyBritish North Borneo Dollar
PeriodBritish North Borneo Dollar
Used1882 - 1953

The British North Borneo dollar was the currency of British North Borneo from 1882 to 1953. It was subdivided into 100 cents. The dollar had remained at par with the Straits dollar (and its successor the Malayan dollar), the currency of Malaya and Singapore, at the value of one dollar to 2 shillings 4 pence sterling from its introduction until both currencies were replaced by the Malaya and British Borneo dollar in 1953. Both coins and banknotes are issued by the British North Borneo Company.

During the Japanese occupation period (1942–1945), paper money was issued in denominations ranging from 1 cent to 1000 dollars. This currency was fixed at 1 dollar = 1 Japanese yen, compared to a 1:2 pre-war rate. Following the war, the Japanese occupation currency was declared worthless and the previous issues of the British North Borneo dollar regained their value relative to sterling (two shillings four pence). The occupation ended the Company's control. The area became a British Colony after liberation.

Coins were first minted in values of 1⁄2 cent and 1 cent in copper, and later 1 cent, 2 1⁄2 cents, and 5 cents in copper-nickel, and 25 cents in silver. Originally they were issued under the name "British North Borneo" and later under "State of North Borneo" starting in 1903. All coins depicted the state crest on the obverse and denomination on the reverse. These were last minted in 1938 and later phased out by coins of the Malayan dollar.

Banknotes were printed in values of 25 cents, 50 cents, $1, $5, $10, and $25. The design of the banknotes did not change much during the currency's lifetime. However, their physical sizes tend to shrink over time. They either show the coat of arms, Mount Kinabalu, or both.

Twenty Five Cents (demonetised 1953)
1 coin (1929)
Coin NameMintage
Twenty Five Cents 1929 400,000
Five Cents (demonetised 1953)
8 coins (1903 - 1941)
Coin NameMintage
Five Cents 1903 1,000,000
Five Cents 1920 100,000
Five Cents 1921 500,000
Five Cents 1927 150,000
Five Cents 1928 151,000
Five Cents 1938 500,000
Five Cents 1940 500,000
Five Cents 1941 1,000,000
Two and a Half Cents (demonetised 1953)
2 coins (1903 - 1920)
Coin NameMintage
Two and a Half Cents 1903 2,000,000
Two and a Half Cents 1920 280,000
One Cent (demonetised 1953)
17 coins (1882 - 1941)
Coin NameMintage
One Cent 1882 2,000,000
One Cent 1884 2,000,000
One Cent 1885 1,000,000
One Cent 1886 5,000,000
One Cent 1887 6,000,000
One Cent 1888 6,000,000
One Cent 1889 9,000,000
One Cent 1890 8,000,000
One Cent 1891 3,000,000
One Cent 1894 1,000,000
One Cent 1896 1,000,000
One Cent 1904 2,000,000
One Cent 1907 1,000,000
One Cent 1921 1,000,000
One Cent 1935 1,000,000
One Cent 1938 1,000,000
One Cent 1941 1,000,000
Half Cent (demonetised 1953)
5 coins (1885 - 1907)
Coin NameMintage
Half Cent 1885 1,000,000
Half Cent 1886 1,000,000
Half Cent 1887 5,000,000
Half Cent 1891 2,000,000
Half Cent 1907 1,000,000
Currency: Malaya and British Borneo Dollar. Used in North Borneo: (1953 - 1967)
CurrencyMalaya and British Borneo Dollar
PeriodMalaya and British Borneo Dollar
Used1953 - 1967

The Malaya and British Borneo dollar (known as the ringgit in Malay, Jawi: رڠڬيت) was the currency of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, North Borneo, Brunei and Riau archipelago from 1953 to 1967 and was the successor of the Malayan dollar and Sarawak dollar, replacing them at par. The currency was issued by the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Malaya and British Borneo. Prior to 1952, the board was known as the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Malaya.

The Malaya and British Borneo dollar was used in Malaya after independence in 1957, and in Malaysia after its formation in 1963, as well as in Singapore after its independence in 1965. After 1967, the two countries and Brunei ended the common currency arrangement and began issuing their own currencies. However, the Malaya and British Borneo dollar continued to be legal tender until 16 January 1969. The currency was also being used in the Riau Archipelago in Indonesia prior to 1963.

Coins were issued in bronze 1 cent square shaped coins issued between 1953 and 1961, and circular coins of similar composition from 1962, and cupro-nickel 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents. These all shared a similar basic design depicting Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and denomination on the reverse. However, the Queen was replaced with two daggers on the smaller round cent of 1962. These coins carried the same design features and sizes from the coins of the previous Commissioner's Currency and Straits series, making them relatively unchanged in appearance except for the depictions of the British monarchs. The older coins also continued to circulate alongside these bearing the new title.

All notes bear the date 21 March 1953, and signed by W.C. Taylor, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioner of Currency. The 1, 5 and 10 dollar notes were printed by Waterlow and Sons, the 50 and 100 dollar notes were printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co. Ltd. and the 1,000 and 10,000 dollar notes were printed by Thomas de la Rue & Co. Ltd.. As a safeguard against forgery, a broken security thread and the watermark of a lion's head were incorporated in the paper before printing.

Royal Mint
Royal Mint