SCOTT SEMANS WORLD COINS
CAMBODIA

HOME     ORDER / CONTACT        VIETNAM      THAILAND      ANCIENT S.E.ASIA      PRE-THAI      BOOKS



FOX COLLECTION:    Offered below is the collection of the late Anton Fox, plus some additions from my own stock. The Fox Cambodia collection is one of the best ever formed. Anton began collecting the Indochina series generally when he served there during the Vietnam War, but by the 1980s had confined his interests largely to the coinage of Cambodia and the medals of French Indochina. He was a serious researcher and buyer in both series, and dealt with auction houses in Asia, Europe, and the US.

TO ORDER: Copy the entire line WITH price but WITHOUT photo, and paste each line into an email (you can use this one). If there is more than one grade or item in the line, delete the unwanted item(s). Add your name and mailing address. I will respond with an invoice including postage charges.

LITERATURE    For convenience the listings are referenced to K#s (Bruce, Colin, SCWC, 19th & 20th C. editions), though it is incomplete, filled with errors, and the 1860 series has been moved to Unusual World Coins!. I have made up or modified some numbers. KM's valuations are not useful either. L = Lecompte, Jean, Monnaies et Jetons des Colonies Françaises, 2000 Ed. the best reference for the 1860-1953 series, successor to Gadoury, whose 1979 and 1988 Coloniales works included post-1953 issues. A useful limited edition coin & banknotes catalog has been produced by Allan Lim. For much of the background information on early series I am indebted to Joe Cribb: "A Hoard of Cambodian Coins," Coin Hoards VI, 1981, p.129-135, and "The Introduction of European Style Coins in Cambodia," seriaized in Seaby's Coin and Medal Bulletin 1981-82, and Charles Panish, "The Coins of North Cambodia," ANA Museum Notes 20, 1975, p. 161-174. Also useful is H. Rolland, "Ètude Numismatique sur le Protectorat du Cambodge" in Courrier Numismatique #29, 1932. Howard Daniel has discovered important information on the denominations, dating, and symbolism of early Cambodian coinage, which will be published in a future volume of his series on Indochina coinage.


CLICK ON THUMBNAIL TO SEE ENLARGED IMAGE

PHASE I COINAGE:
c. 1500 - 1650

NATIVE RULE
     
Cribb quotes S. Sarai (JNSI 1971 p.90-104) in attributing the first Cambodian coinage to the usurper Kan (1499-1505, or 1512-26), and the traveler Gabriel Quiroga de San Antonio in 1595 as finding coinage in three denominations of ratio 1:1/2:1/4 with designs of Cock (K9 & Panish 1a,,9d), Snake (K3), and heart with Flower (K4). The silver-washed billon types are probably later, and descended from the full unit. Cribb also asserts that there are two parallel series of coinage, those with and without borders (beaded or solid circle), each ranging from silver to billon to copper. As the denomination breakdown, dating, and ordering of types in KM is useless, I have followed Cribb's rearrangement of Panish's types, though combining the border / no border types. According to Panish all coins were minted at Battambang except K4 and K25/28 at Siem Reap. Both the rarity and high grade (or holed state for wearing) suggest that this coinage, possibly excepting the three types seen by Quiroga which are commoner, was issued for religious rather than commercial purposes. For convenience I have called the Unit "Fuang," though even at the lower 1.8-1.9g Ayuthian standard, the likely earliest Hamsa pieces (P1) are light. All coins are uniface.
     A few of the Phase I types have come on the market from small hoards, though most rarely appear and some are known from single specimens. Most Phase II and III coinage is extremely common.


     K3      Lotus Sprout 1/4 Fuang     Silver, 8-9m, avg. .31g for 27 pieces, flat flan. This is what Quiroga called a snake, but it is a lotus seed with a curling root sprout, forked at the end, and (on some specimens) two bumps indicating lower forkings of the root. The spiral may be c/w or cc/w. Some specimens, possibly later, are cruder in style. Weights noted by Wicks seem to run .3-.6g suggesting a 1/2 Fuang, but without a clear denominational break. K3.1 = cc/w Vg-F $20.00

PHASE II COINAGE:
c. 1600 - 1870

THAI DOMINATION

     
Cribb assigns to this period just one basic type, the Hamsa bird (K27,K32). He also notes a progressive debasement of both metal and style. I believe there are two distinct series, a silver Fuang, and a billon or silver-wash Pe (invented "K31"), called takung takom. The silver series drops in fineness within the first variety, and then appears to level off as the style deteriorates, though a constant weight is maintained throughout. The copper/billon comes in four distinct varieties, none clearly derived from another; they range widely in weight, indicating a token coinage. I am uncertain whether the "Pe" precedes, antedates, or is contemporary with the "Fuang".
      Design elements of Fuang: Hamsa standing left. Body solid at center but broken into three lines fore and aft. Three vertical (upper) tail feathers; hindmost much longer and often curved back, with five horizontal dashes. Right leg joins left leg at body; both with spurs. Single-stroke beak and raised dot for eye (not visible when worn). Circle and five curved lines, detached from body, running approximately 8:00-1:00: Upper two elements representing the crest, third C-like element the top of a vine held in beak, and bottom two elements likely vine bottom and branch, or the bird's wattles. Birds vary in size, most noticeably in the heads, but this variation does not appear to correspond to fineness nor flan characteristics. The flans vary from irregular 16-17m slightly dished, down to rounder thicker, flat 12.5m,corresponding roughly to a drop in fineness. I have roughly judged fineness by appearance and "ring". Weight averages 1.53g independent of fineness, flan size, and size of bird.


     K31a.1      Hamsa Pe     Circle & Cross Variety   Hamsa standing left, body squared in front and upper tail feathers fused into a forward-pointing bun with five horizontal dashes. It is merely speculation, but the cross (not a + or x) could represent Christian influence. This is the rarest of the four types (1 in ANS collection) and a premium is asked for it from Bangkok. For 12 specimens flans range 11-14m, .89-1.46g. They appear to range from base billon to pure copper, though silver wash makes it difficult to tell. Panish-1h, Wicks-iii.   Billon or AR-wash examples:    Poor $5.00
     K31a.2      Hamsa Pe     Circle & Cross Variety, Copper or very low-grade billon.    EF-AU, lustre, centered $30.00; VF-EF $18.50;    crude Vg-F    $ 8.50
     K31b.1      Hamsa Pe     No Circle & Cross Variety. Hamsa same basic style, but cruder, lacking in detail. Probably a later issue, but commoner in billon than copper. Panish (1d) illustrates a broad, heavy double unit of this variety. Billon. Panish-1c, Cribb-iv     crude VF-EF $14.50;    crude F-VF    $ 8.50
     K31b.3      Hamsa Pe     No Circle & Cross Variety, Copper    crude
     K31c.1      Hamsa Pe     Fancy Tail Variety. Fine style variety with a bud at top of branch, and second vertical tail feather is forked. Unpublished variety.    Billon or silver-wash    crude EF    $ 25.00
     K31c.2      Hamsa Pe     Fancy Tail Variety. Copper, cruder strikes    VF    $ 6.00
     K31c.3      Hamsa Pe     Thin flans with bulbous heads detached from body & cruder style. Possibly the final phase of this coinage.    crude VF    $ 5.00
     K31d      Hamsa Pe     Branch Behind Neck Variety with budded branch behind neck and variant upper tail feathers. These tail feathers resemble those on the silver Fuang. Unpublished variety.    VF, holed $8.00; blackened, but not bad-looking $15.00;    crude VF-EF    $ 25.00

FRENCH PROTECTORATE

and NATIONAL COINAGE

     
Cambodia's first national coinage was struck in Udon using European dies and machinery. Problems with the 1853 strikings from Ingram dies led to a second series c. 1856 using Heaton dies. More than one die variety is known for some, though the differences are small. The Tical and 1/4 Tical are unique among world coinages in bearing dates in three eras. The coppers with "3 3+4" legend (KM #1,2) are also from this period, the intriguing question being whether they preceded the silver coinage and provided their design, or were contemporary.

     K33X      1/8 Tical     Lapa counterfeit (1970s). Heavier (2.0-2.5gm), flatter strike, cruder die work. Many differences in bird, but neck is most obvious: 5 horizontal lines & 3 diagonal, vs 6 & 2 in genuine. Rev. is accurate as var. b, but stylistically cruder. Not for sale.       $

     
Minor Coinage: The common Praq Pe (K11), dated by Cribb to 1870-1900, suggests a significant need for coins smaller than the 5 and 10 Centime. A Standing Garuda Pe (K26) was issued c.1880-1902 from the mint machinery installed in 1880. Many dies exist, but no significant varieties. The corresponding 4 Pe is much rarer. Trial strikings and patterns for Centimes (KM-Tn1) were made in Europe in 1897 (Lecompte, Yeoman) or 1875-1904 (KM), corresponding to types widely used in French Indo and Cochin China 1875-1902. A scarce series of 10, 15, 20, and 25 (Centime) tokens are noted by H. Rolland (1932) as "a l'usage du palais (1906)."

     K11      Hamsa (Praq) Pe     Crude Hamsa left with crest, vine, and tail feathers as detached elements around. Chinese Ji (luck) in box above. From style and silvering, varieties with one or two dots above upper tail feathers and five horizontal dashes behind appear to be earlier than the variety with no dots above, and four dots behind. 1850-80 (Panish) or 1870+ (Cribb). K11a = one dot above, 5 dashes behind; K11b = 2 dots above, 5 dashes behind; K11c = No dot above, 5 dots behind; Order "K11" for my choice, best grade. Each: VF-EF $4.00;    EF, silvering    $ 7.50
     K11S1      Hamsa (Praq) Pe     Set of 3 varieties, K11a with silvering, others with traces or no silvering.    VF-EF    $ 13.50
     K11W      Hamsa (Praq) Pe     From an old bulk purchase, unsorted, per 10 pieces    F-VF/better    $ 20.00

     
"1860" Series   Dated for Nordom I's accession, though first struck in 1875 in Belgium, with later restrikes in Cambodia, and business strikes of the 5 and 10 Centime in Heaton. There are actually six to thirteen metal and striking varieties for each denomination; "regular," Essai (normal and proof), Piefort, off-metal strikes, and Cambodian restrikes are the main categories. The silver were intended as largesse issues: one series of light-weight restrikes was for the 1899 cremation of the Queen Mother. The regular and restrike silver did curculate, and repeat orders were given to the Heaton Mint for circulation strikes of the 5 and 10 Centimes. However, the editors of Krause's SCWC have failed to link the "award" coinages of Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia with the Western commemorative tradition, resulting in the omission of most of the Thai multiple-mark bullets, and lately the removal of the entire "1860" Cambodia series to Unusual World Coins, though Vietnam's extensive series is in the main catalog.

     K42s      5 Centime Silver     Restrike, 5.88gm     Progressive die crack under TIMES seen on regular strikes is stronger, plus roughness about head and face suggest a striking date after 1875 but perhaps before the 1899 restrikes.    L-nl, Unrecorded; unique? Despite the KM42.2 listing, there were probably no base metal restrikes of this denomination.    Appears Prooflike AU    
     K48a      4 Franc     Belgian strike, 19.71gm, L80, D of signature center-left over O of date; die used for regular and restrikes. Auction results this variety: Stacks 12/17/08, Lot 1075; $4000+fees, Goldbergs 5/26/08, Lot 882; $13000+fees!!    Proof, UC, few hairline scratches, slight split in edge (flan defect)    $SOLD
     K48b      4 Franc     Belgian strike, 20.34gm, L80, D of signature centered over O of date. Auction results this variety: Hess-Divo 11/27/04, Lot 1271; $5800+fees.    Cameo Proof, UC    $ 5000.00
     K49a      Piastre-Peso     Belgian strike, 25.53gm, L93, N of signature centered over O of date. Proof-like surface. Lecompte does not list proofs, but this may be the best the Belgian mint could do. Auction houses list such strikes as Proofs. Recent auction results for "Proofs": Stacks 4/24/08, Lot 1419 Pitted die: $9000+fees;   Goldberg 5/26/08, Lot 881 Scratches in field: $12,500+fees, and the same coin in Stacks 1/12/09, Lot 4381: $10,200+fees.    Proof-"like" AU-UC, some bagging, but no die problems    $SOLD.00
     K49b      Piastre-Peso     Belgian strike, 27.10gm, L93v, O of signature centered over O of date. Casting porosity at several spots on rim, and an apparent sprue filing at 5:30-6:00 0bv. FAKE    EF+-AU, some bagging    $ NFS
     K49R      Piastre-Peso     Original, or Restrike (pre-1899?)     Die roughness evident, esp. @ 5:00-7:00 obv. Edge reeding very faint. Proper weight (25.55gm). Lecompte does not list a restrike. The striking quality is more in line with an original Belgian mint product, but the poor edge reeding could indicate a Cambodian strike??    AU-UC, some bagging    

     
1902 Series   Even the European-struck Essais show die cracks, suggesting poor initial quality, and by 1902, year of the Hanoi Exhibition, new dies were clearly required. The new design features variations in date (1902) portrait, coat of arms & legends; "SOUVENIR" in place of denomination, and plain edges.

     K45S      50 Centime     1902, Hanoi Expo commem? SOUVENIR L108   2.29gm Vg-F, hole (b) $15.00

     
Independent Coinage   Turbulence as a result of America's war in Vietnam produced a series of governments 1953 - present. The communist regimes put Cambodia's name on a series of ridiculous commemoratives of themes and events bearing no relation to Cambodia, produced by the Havana Mint.

     K53      10, 20, 50 Centimes     1959, aluminum, Y11a-13a   (K56 50 Centimes UC $1.50)    Set: UC    $ 3.00
     K54-56      50 Centimes     1953, aluminum, UC, light oxidation $3.00; VF-EF $1.50
     K59      Riel     Khmer Repiblic, 1979, F.A.O.   EF-AU $3.00;    UC    $ 5.00
     K69      5 Sen     Kampuchea, 1979    UC    $ 1.00

MEDALS, DECORATIONS, AMULETS


     
H. Rolland (1932) describes a number of medals issued in France from about 1686 with Cambodian themes, and four brass medalets honoring Nordom I's accession in 1860, two of which are listed by Lecompte. Also likely struck in Europe is a series of at least fourteen designs commemorating various events 1860 to the end of the monarchy in 1970, each approximately the size and weight of the 4 Franc coin, some with 2 and 1 Franc counterparts, as well as gold strikes. These are usually found circulated, and are arguably as much a part of Cambodia's coinage as the "1860" silver series. Lecompte lists them to 1928, and Gadoury through 1965. Civilian and Military decorations are listed by John Sylvestre, The Orders and Medals of Cambodia and Laos. An extensive but uncatalogued series of crude cast(?) silver charms or amulets has a common theme of a man (Buddha?) standing under a tree , holding a staff and jug, or pot.

     S19/3      Royal Decoration     Official Labor Medal, issued Sept. 9, 1948 Statue of Visnoukan, bronze open-work, 40mm, no bar/ribbon, uniface    EF+    $ 125.00
     S1      Peoples Republic     Vietnamese-style red & gold aluminum with pinback bar 7.1.1979 above 35m with soldier holding rifle, inscrip. for liberation (defeat of Pol Pot regime by Viet forces)    AU-UC    $ 40.00

CAMBODIAN LOTUS TOKENS

     
This series has been attributed to Ayutthia and to Angkor (Mitchiner), but M&K's idea of post-Angkor Cambodia is more realistic. The metal, lack of consistent weight, and alternation of shape among the denominations suggests to me that they are tokens, probably for gambling, though this does not predlude a wider use as money. Specimens often show metal ageing, but most show little wear. Obverse and reverse disigns are the same. My assignment of the value ratios is pure guesswork. Photos show typical examples.

     T100a      Unit     Round, 42mm, 29.03gm (1). Obv & Rev: Four Lotus with branches either side separated by double pellets. Outer rim & circle; Drilled center hole with 2 circles, obv. only. Fine style. Metal shows considerable age.       $ NFS
     T100c      Unit     Round, 37-40mm, 19.06-22.98gm, avg 20.75 (5). Generally cruder style. Metal shows significant age. Possibly contemporary copies of T100b    VF    $ SOLD
     T100d      Unit     Round, 37mm, 22.34-30.40gm, avg. 26.56 (7). Crude style. Metal shows some age, but clearly not older than 19th C.    VF    $ 10.00
     T100e      Unit     Round, 36mm, 17.36gm. Poor style and casting. A contemporary fake.       $ NFS
     T100f      Unit     Round, 33mm, 16.48-20.09gm, avg. 18.62 (3). Design has devolved to a series of five beaded crescents surrounding pellets.    VF    $ SOLD
     T100g      Unit     Round, 57mm, 69.47-86.76gm, avg. 76.66 (5). Degenerated design. Metal shows little age. Likely a modern "bigger is better" fake for collectors or tourists. MN2653       $ SOLD
     T102b      1/2 Unit     Scalloped, 29-32mm, 11.72-18.32gm, avg. 14.54 (14). Well defined scalloped edge with inner borders forming five cartouches; Central hole with double border. Lotus bud with enclosing forked branches either side. Wide variation in size and form of buds and branches. Generally good style. Metal shows significant age.    crude F-VF, some crusty    $ 15.00
     T102c      1/2 Unit     Scalloped, 29-30mm, 10.96-18.14gm, avg. 13.89 (11). Poorly defined scalloped edge. Otherwise as T102b. Wide variation in size and form of buds and branches. Generally good style. Metal shows significant age. MN2655 - 2657    crude F-VF, some crusty    SOLD
     T102d      1/2 Unit     Scalloped, Softer pieces with higher lead content. Generally good style. Metal shows significant age.       $ NFS
     T102e      1/2 Unit     Scalloped, 30mm, 15.45-16.19gm (3) Drilled center holes. Metal does not show significant age.    crude VF-EF    $ SOLD
     T102f      1/2 Unit     Scalloped, 29mm, 13.79-16.17gm, avg. 15.119 (10). Well defined scalloped edge. Identical pieces, poorly cast, sometimes showing mould slippage or filled holes. Metal shows some age, but likely late 20th C.    crude    $ 6.50
     T102g      1/2 Unit     Scalloped, 36mm, gm, avg. (9). Poorly defined scalloped edge. Similar pieces, poorly cast. Design devolved to lumps and lines. Probably moern forgeries with deliberately enhanced size.       $ 4.00
     T104a      1/8 Unit     Round, 17mm, 4.18gm Center hole, outer and inner rims. Four lotus heads with curled branches at side. Metal shows some age.       $ NFS
     T104b      1/8 Unit     Round, 15-17mm, 3.81, 3.78, 3.56, 2.88gm, Different pieces still showing floral design. Metal shows some age. MN2662       $ NFS
     T104d      1/8 Unit     Round, 15mm, 1.95 - 2.99gm, avg. 2.73 (16). Pellets & Crescents design with little variation within group. Metal slightly softer (more lead) than other classes, shows some age. MN2660-61    F-VF    $ 4.50
     T104e      1/8 Unit     Round, 14-14.5mm, 3.03 - 4.42gm, avg. 3.51 (8). Pellets & Crescents design with little variation within group. No center hold. Metal shows some age, but likely 20th C.       $ 2.50
     T106      1/16 Unit     Scalloped, 11.5 - 14.5mm, .91-2.10gm, avg. 1.51 (5). Center hole, outer and inner rims. Four groups of two pellets in scallops. Scarcest denomination.       $ NFS



TOP OF PAGE |   | WEBSITE HOME