The Coins & Notes Museum

This is a monthly post on 'Educational Places'. Every 4th week of the month I will post on local educational places we have brought AJ to.

The club that AJ joined had organised a trip to The Singapore Coins & Notes Museum last November.  This was the 2nd time we went.  There was no guided tour when we went there the 1st time.  This time, there was.

The museum is a discreet tribute to the country's history of coins & notes, from early colonial rule & World War II to Singapore's 1st orchid series & portrait series.

The children were taught the 9 key security features to authenticate a S$50 dollar note:

See the magic?

More magic!
& then the key security features of our new series of coins:

Our infamous S$1 coin of the new series

Do you still remember this 5-cent coin?  It was issued in 1967, even before I was born!

The minting process
Prior to the founding of Singapore (pre-1819), bartering was the predominant form of trade.  When Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore in 1819, there was no dominant native currency.  The Spanish dollar & the Mexican dollar were the 2 preferred units of account. The East India Company Indian Rupee was eventually made the official currency for all British settlements in Southeast Asia in 1835, but a variety of currencies still remain in use.

In 1938, the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Malaya, was established to unify the currencies for the Straits Settlements, the States of Malaya & Brunei into a common currency form.  Coins & banknotes issued from 1939 bore the image of King Geroge VI.

From 1940, low-denomination "emergency" notes of 10-cent & 25-cent were issued to ease the shortage of metal during World War II.  They were gradually withdrawn from circulation & replaced with new regular currency notes in 1941.

The Japanese forces invaded Malaya in 1941 & completed their conquest of the Peninsular in 1942 when Singapore surrendered.  The Japanese Government issued currency notes to each occupied country.  All the notes had similar designs but were differentiated by the 1st letter of the country's name: Malaya's started with a capital "M".

The Japanese military notes for Malaya were nicknamed "banana money' owing to the dominant motif of bananas on $10 notes.

Although Singapore gained independence in 1965, it was only in 1967 that the currency union came to an end, & Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei each issued their own currency.

Singapore's 1st series of circulating currency notes was the Orchid series (1967-1976).  The Bird Series (1976-1984) was the 2nd series & the Boat Series (1984-1999) was its 3rd series.  The current series is the Portrait Series (1999-current), which was Singapore's 1st president, Yusof bin Ishak.

The Boat Series 

The Boat Series
The museum also sells gift sets made from coins.

How about pendants like these over conventional pendants we see in Jewellery shops?

Before we left the place, the children got to watch an educational video on the minting of coins & also work on quizzes & exercises about the museum's display.

It has been an informative educational trip & AJ truly enjoyed it.  I think 1 or 2 visits aren't enough because there was indeed a lot of information to absorb & learn.  I believe we will visit it again in the near future.

The Singapore Coins & Notes Museum
40 Pagoda Street
Singapore 059199

Operating Hours: 10am to 8pm daily
Fees: Adults                                         S$10
         Children (3-12 yrs) & Snr Citizens S$6
         NSF & Students                         S$6
         Family (2 Adults & 2 Children) S$25



  1. What a great trip that must have been. You seem to go on some diverse adventures. Interesting info, too.

  2. This was really interesting...Thanks for sharing :)


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