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Malaya Paper Money Issues: 1940-1941

The Board of Commissioners of Currency of Malaya printed an issue of paper money in 1940 with denominations of 1 , 5 and 10 dollars; the colours of these banknotes were green, blue, and purple, respectively. All of these banknotes were printed in the United Kingdom and then transported to Penang in what was then Malaya but is now Malaysia.

The 10 dollar notes arrived without mishap which cannot be said for the 1 or 5 dollar notes. Their fate was far different.


Malaya $10 from 1940: Original Issue Malaya $1 from 1940: Original Issue Malaya $5 from 1940: Original Issue

Of the 27 million 1 dollar and 5.6 million 5 dollar notes planned for circulation some 500,000 1 dollar and 100,000 5 dollar notes were lost when the cargo ship the the SS Eumanes was sunk. In November of 1940 the cargo ship SS Automedon encountered the German raider Atlantis and came under fire, the first shells hitting the bridge of the SS Automedon killing its captain and all of its officers. On board were 700,000 1 dollar notes and 500,000 5 dollar notes. The manifest also included crated aircraft, motor vehicles, spare parts, alcohol, cigarettes and several food products including frozen produce. The biggest find, however, were the top secret maps and codes and above all a bag marked "highly confidential", with multiple punctures so that it could sink in case of a devastating attack. Within were documents pin-pointing positions of all allied troops in the Asia area, including additional details outlining exactly what would happen from a British point of view should Japan enter the war on the axis side. Details of Australian and New Zealand force deployment and future plans were also present. Located and removed from the ship by a boarding party from the Atlantis, the information was then sent to the German Embassy in Japan and later the Japanese were given copies, while the originals were hand carried to Berlin for verification. The axis powers were very wary of the information at first, puzzled that such important documents were being carried on a virtually defenseless ship. Berlin verified the documents as genuine and later Japan would act upon the information. This information was instrumental in the Japanese planning its assault on the Malay peninsula and subsequently the relevant ease with which they were able to take Singapore.

It is not known if any of the notes were taken at the time of boarding the Automedon, which was sent to the bottom by scuttling charges laid by the Germans when they determined the ship was too badly damaged to tow. When news of this incident reached the British, they almost immediately they halted the release of the 1 and 5 dollar banknotes, releasing only the 10 dollar note in mid 1941. New paper money with different colours were then produced. The 1 and 5 dollar notes swapped colours the 1 dollar was now blue, the 5 dollar green, and the 10 dollar was changed to red. However, a brown version also exists. The popular conclusion is that the brown 10 was removed from circulation at the time of Pearl Harbour. As of 2012 there is only 1 known example of this note to exist so its existence is bound to remain a mystery. It is very possible the Japanese were able to seize all of the brown 10 dollar notes when Penang was taken in 1942. The banknotes with denominations of 1, 5 and 10 (the red version) dated the 1st of July, 1941, did not actually circulate until 1945. The purple 10 dollar note was still redeemable until 1948.


Malaya $1 from 1941: Second Revised Issue Malaya $5 from 1941: Second Revised Issue Malaya $10 from 1941: Second Revised Issue

Today the 1940 1 and 5 dollar Malayan banknotes are extremely rare and command five figure sums, whether as specimens or as potentially circulation notes. The 5 dollar banknote is by far the rarest. The purple 10 dollar note is also somewhat scarce but possible to collect. The brown 10 dollar (unlisted in the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money) has not been offered for sale in recent times. The notes dated 1941 are relatively common and collectable, the 5 dollar bill surprisingly being the scarcest of the three and commanding a higher price, relative to its counter parts in a similar condition.

More Information About cats25
By cats25 on 2014-10-27

20,000 Banknote Gallery Images: A Monumental Milestone


best paper money gallery on the internet

Having been taken over by Krause Publishing in the mid 1980's, the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money had a considerate head start when measured against RealBanknotes.com. And though the website is not in direct competition with the catalogue, I am proud to annouce that we have just recently achieved a huge target for our image gallery: that of 20,000 banknotes with front and back images. Our current database boasts roughly 47,500 banknotes listed, roughly based on the Modern Issues and General Issues of recent issues of the printed catalogues (but also including several hundred listings which are not in the catalogues). And also based on this, we are nipping at the heels of the catalogue, which advertises 25,750 images included in the books of which many are either front or back, but not both, and of which the vast majority is in black and white print.

Based on our strict gallery requirements for uploads, I may be too bold but will admit that I think that we have the best online gallery. Our images include front and back scans, as well as having a minimum dimension requirement which in itself exceeds even some of the larger galleries online. And all this has been done in the span of a mere 20 months!

But I do not write solely to boast. I encourage our visitors to become members, and our members to become contributors so that this gallery will set an unprecedented standard and volume of imagery and data for the hobby of our passion: the collecting of world paper money.

On that note a special thanks goes out to all those who have taken the time and gone through the trouble to contribute to the website. It just wouldn't be what it is without you. Special mention goes out to our member Cortes. Cheers!


best banknote gallery online

More Information About Proteus
By Proteus on 2014-09-17

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