The Indonesian Plantation Token

 History Collections


Created By

Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA

Limited E-Book In CD-ROM Edition

Specila For Numismatic Collectors

Copyright @ Dr Iwan 2014


In 1985 in memoriam Mr Nasution from Langkat east Sumatra show me a rare token from Deli Plantation local area, and My friend numismatist Halim Sukmana Jakarta asked me to found this rare collections but I did not bought that token because not in very fine condition,many hole and the priced very high.

When I visit Samosir Island in the center of Toba Lake at north Sumatra in 1976



I found

the Kisaran paltation Token in very fine condition,

then in the same year I found the Poelaoe Radja plantation Token.

Starting from that time I am hunting the Indonesia platation Token when visit North Sumatra,Bukittinggi Middle Sumatra,and the when moved to Jakarta

I also found Tea Kajoe Aro Soegei Penung Kerinci Jambi platation Token named Tea Goaldpara, and  boemiayoe platation Token.


Because until now now special book exist related with that plantation Token and also about the Tea,tobacco and Rubeer plantation in Indonesia in 19th Century, I am starting to make reaseach about the Indonesian Plantation History Collections and this e-book in Cd-Rom was the study report.

I hope many historian and numismatic collectors will now what hapanned in the Indoensia Plantaion during DEI in 19th Century.

I want to thank very much to everybodies who have help me to finish this e-book, espaciall the family of Nasution and his son alaso have the same bussineess until now

Jakarta June 2014

DR Iwan Suwandy,MHA




Starting from 1872, plantation tokens were used on a large scale for payment on many tobacco plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia.   The tokens were used to pay the coolies who worked on the plantations.   Company  names such

as De Guigne Freres,




and Unternehmung mostly Germans who specialized in tobacco farming  started to establish themselves on Sumatra’s East Coast regions.The coolies received their payment once a month and tokens can only be used to buy their provisions at the company stores.

Chinese coolies of Tobacco plantation deli


The question is why dollars and cents but not guildens since Sumatra was a Dutch colony. Reason is that many of the coolies were Chinese from the Straits as they were used to receive payment in silver dollars.

The Sultan of Deli was one of the riches persons in Sumatra when German companies started to get concessions to plant tobaccos in DelI


The study of issued of Indonesian Plantation’s Token in 19th century still not know, and this study will find why,when,where,how and who related to Indonesia Plantation Token.


The use of token currency as a substitute for the normal coin circulation on plantations in North and South America and in Asia is a well-known occurrence. At the end of the 18th century, English planters introduced plantation money in the West Indies. Around 1820, they also introduced this kind of payment for labour payment on the coffee and tea plantations on Ceylon, a state of affairs which lasted till about 1890. From about 1870 till 1914 “house-tokens” were also used on tea, rubber and coffee plantations in South India by the English estate owners. Around 1900, plantation tokens were used on tobacco and coffee plantations in Central America: Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Guatemala. 



From about 1872 plantation and estate tokens were used, on a large scale, for payment on many tobacco plantations in the so called “ Residence of the East coast of Sumatra” in the Netherlands East Indies. This “money” was used to pay the coolies who worked there on the plantations.

The planters established on Sumatra’s East coast started issuing this exchange item in a way which was directly related to the plantation or estate. As their main reason they said that there was a shortage of small change in these areas. But that was not really the main reason: what they really wanted was to get total control of money circulation on the estates. With that, the coolies were obliged to buy their daily supplies in the plantation shops 


The coolies received their payment once a month; in the meantime, their purchases were written in their own “debt record book”; as were also, for example, their gambling debts, and fines for insufficient productivity on the plantation. Another thing of minor importance was that, when the coolies left the plantation without permission, they did not have any normal circulating money which was necessary for staying outside the plantation. They, therefore, also had to pay a fine for unauthorised absence from the plantation when visiting family or friends.


Plantation Money(token) Dutch East Indies , Sumatra , Java and the Moluccas .

This page is in my view the main page of this site, because many images are shown here , and descriptions are given of plantation tokens from Dutch East Indies , the islands of Sumatra , Java and the Moluccas . Also on this page discusses other Dutch Indies private money and tokens and attributed to Dutch indie wrongly plantation money .
Below are all the plantations and other private companies were mentioned on this page are pictures and descriptions .
These plantations etc. are covered by this page on the same order .







Bandar Pulu Estate *** Wetter Baumann & Co. . Bindjey Starfruit *** *** *** *** Dolok Estate Gallia *** Unternehmung Goerach Batu Batu Goerach Unternehmung *** *** *** Unternehmung Hessa Hüttenbach & co . Unternehmung Kisaran *** *** *** Kwala Begoemit Company Lingga *** The Netherlands India Sumatra Tobacco Company Limited *** Padang Tjermin *** Unternehmung Pulu Raja *** Company *** Rimboen Asahan Tobacco Company Silau ** * Kedeh China company Simpang – Tiga *** Malay Kedeh company Simpang Tiga Soengai Serbangan *** *** *** Soengy Diskie Tanah Raja Tandjong Alam *** *** *** Tandjong Kuba company Wampoe .




Company Argasari Boemie Aju *** *** *** Soember – Doeren Soember – Redjo *** Soember – sukkah *** Waspada .

the Moluccas

Rotterdam – Batjan Cultural Society .

Another Dutch Indies private money and tokens

Trading Amsterdam *** Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Sour Abaya *** Jacobson van den Berg *** *** Pulu Samboe Postal Savings Bank in the Dutch East Indies *** CPK

Winckel .


Plantation Money Sumatra


Most of the company’s money was spent in the late 19th century . A period of rapid development in the Dutch East Indies . The fame of the plantations on the east coast of Sumatra is based on the cultivation of tobacco , although a large number of companies are also coffee , nutmeg , coconut and various types of rubber produced ( Lances , 2001) .




Rubber , oil palm , and were planted in areas of eastern Sumatra where no high -quality tobacco could be produced. Also tea plantaion at Kerinci goalpara dan from Java also had their local plantation Token



The currency in which the cash payment of coolie wages was normally made on the “kebons”, the estates, was the “dollar coin”; the so-called “Straits dollar “. The coolies had to pay for their purchases in the “ Kedeh” or “Cadei”, the shops on the estates.

With the development of tobacco cultivation on the east coast of Sumatra, about 1870 in the districts of Asahan, Langkat, Deli and Batoe Bahra, there came into existence new circulating areas for silver coins, i.e. different sorts of silver dollars of foreign countries. During this development, many Chinese coolies were recruited from the southern Chinese provinces and the Straits Settlements ( Malacca). These coolies were used to getting their payment in silver dollars.

The east coast of Sumatra had a very intensive trade relationship with the Malaysian Peninsula with the main important trading points of Singapore and “ Pulau Penang” on the other side of the Straits of Malacca. On the east coast of Sumatra there was the extraordinary situation that, whereas officially the “guilder” was meant to circulate, almost all money transactions took place in foreign currency. Government officials, however, were paid in Dutch currency ! The silver dollars circulating, on a large scale, on the east coast were: the “Pilardollar” ( the Spanish Cob), the Mexican dollar ( Mexican Cob ), the Hong-Kong dollar, the Japanese “Dollar” ( Yen), the French Piaster, the British Trade dollar and the American Trade dollar.


In 1906 the circulation of foreign currency in the Straits Settlements came an an end as a result of intensive measures to remove it. The Netherlands East Indies Government did the same, starting in 1906, ending in 1908. This was definitely the end of a period when foreign currency circulated all over the Netherlands East Indies.The majority of the workers on the plantations and estates were used to being paid in “dollar currency”, sub-divided into the several denominations of these coins. That is why on the plantation tokens the value was given in “dollar” denominations and the big “dollar-issues” most of the time had a “silver- or gold-like” appearance.


In the description of the plantations various sizes are used :
1 building = 7096.5 m2 = approx 7/10 acres
1 post = 1506.94 m
1 post = 320 square construction

1 Gantang = 8.58 liters ( salt or rice)

Pikol 1 = 61.76 pounds




In general, the shape of plantation tokens is round.


Other types are: square, triangular, pentagonal, octagonal, rectangular, oblong, oblong with clipped corners, oval and eye-shaped ones. The tokens are mainly struck in brass, copper, nickel-plated zinc, bronze, tin, aluminium and silver. Most of these tokens referred to as silver are only silver-plated items. Note that tokens made of nickel-plated zinc, tin and aluminium have the appearance of “silver”.

Some tokens can be identified by such characteristic features as a square or round hole in the centre. These items were specially made for use in areas of Chinese settlement, where the people were familiar with the centrally pierced Chinese cash. Items exist with counterstamps and Chinese chopmarks on them. Some cast tokens are also known.

While most of the plantation tokens were made for use on tobacco plantations and estates on the east coast of Sumatra, some types also circulated on the west coast. Another group circulated on tea plantations on western Java. There was also a coffee plantation on the island of Batjan, in the Molucca’s, where these tokens circulated.

On the tobacco plantations in British North Borneo mainly tokens of British Companies circulated. Some Anglo-Dutch companies also issued their own plantation money. For example the: Amsterdam-Borneo Tobacco Company; the London & Amsterdam Borneo Tobacco Company and the Rotterdam-Borneo Company.


Generally speaking it is true to say that, while some of these plantation tokens are scarce, most are very rare. The scarce serird are from the tobacco estates of Silau, Hessa, Kisaran, Poeloe Radja and Soengei Serbangan, but this only relates to the high denominations of the one and half dollar.

Tokens in excellent condition and proof items are, in general, very rare. It is not yet known by many collectors of these tokens that the small denominations are much rarer than the big ones.

Even now, it is unknown where the majority of these tokens were made. A small group appears to have been struck in Germany by Lauer Nürnberg, a medallion and token factory in Nürnberg. On some tokens of British North Borneo we find “KB” in small letters, possibly an indication that these items were struck at the mint in Kremnitz in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, nowadays in the republic of Slovakia.


The earliest issued plantation tokens are these of the Guigne freres, owners of the Soengei Sikambing tobacco plantation on the east coast of Sumatra and the Sumatra Tobacco Company who managed the Tjinta Radja Estate.

The first plantation money circulated around 1875-1876 on these estates. Some tokens bear the year of issue: 1888, 1890, 1891 and 1892. Most of this estate money circulated around 1890 on Sumatra’s east coast. After 1906, the start of the money cleansing operation in the Netherlands East Indies, it can be ascertained that no new issues came into circulation.


Almost nothing is known about the issuers, die makers, mintmasters of these different plantation tokens, with a few exceptions for certain big companies such as the Deli Tobacco Company. A lot of these firms were independent estates. Their activities only took place abroad, in the Netherlands East Indies. Their main offices in the Netherlands only had a controlling function and was head financier for further new developments on the plantations.
Those companies received their capital investment from all over Europe: The Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and Belgium. The management and supervisory staff on the plantations came from all over the world: Dutch, Swiss, Russians, English as well as Germans or Americans. A large proportion of the total amount of these plantation tokens were issued by Herrings & Co. and the multinational Société Financière des Caoutchoucs.

A lot of plantation tokens were issued at the end of the 19th century. That was the period of fast and quick development of tobacco estates in the Netherlands East Indies. The fame of the plantations on Sumatra’s east coast was based upon the cultivation of first-class tobacco, sold all over the world.

The companies obtained their concessions to explore plantations by paying the owners of the land, the Sultan and his Raja’s on the east coast, an annual lease revenue.
Around 1890, at the high point of tobacco cultivation, the Sultan of Deli, resident in Medan, was one of the richest and most influential persons within the Dutch Government on the east coast of Sumatra. In 1872 there were already 17 tobacco plantations in Deli, increasing in the 80s to over 75 in Deli, Langkat, Serdang, Bedagei and Padang. In 1891, 130 tobacco plantations were in production.

In 1890, the price of tobacco declined very strongly due to the increase of import tax on tobacco by the United States. By around 1920, most of the tobacco estates had changed their production from tobacco to rubber.

Some plantation tokens bear the name of Chinese dealers who had close relations with special estates and their employees. These tokens were used in the Chinese shops on the plantations.

The tokens with German inscriptions such as “Unternehmung” and the value “gut für” were used on a lot of plantations on Sumatra belonging to Mr Herrings, a German. All his plantations produced tobacco which he shipped to Bremen, in Germany, instead of to the biggest auction in Europe, that of Amsterdam. The reason for this was to create a competitive market. This failed and caused him to go bankrupt around 1900.






Tropen museum

Administrator house


C.H.Japing and wife Grechen





C.H.Japing and wife Grechen thefounder of polonia tobacco platation deli in 1864



C.H.Jiping walk acrros the deli river leapin on the bridge near polonia tobacco plantation deli

The brigde over barbera at Polonia Tobacco Plantation deli


Polonia tobacco plantation near deli river



Close up


Plantation Worker


Timbangandeli Plantation Factory 

at Loeboek Pakan Deli sumatra




Chinese  Plantation controlmans

dutch  Plantation controlman


Indian  Plantation controlman


Javanese  Plantation controlman


Administrator and  their wife

Chrystal wine dring sets

Administrator House


Administrator  with his wife  on horse carriage in the front of house


Right side


Office helpers ThePersonal of

Timbangandeli Plantation Factory  at Loeboek Pakan in 1879



The House Of Private Tobacco Platantation

at Sungei Brass  In Deli 1879





1206 0147 INDONESIA, SUMATRA, estate token, 1888 UNTERNEHMUNG HESSA GUT FÜR 1/2 DOLLAR 1888 / blank, copper-nickel, 33mm, 11g, Sch1063, spots, aXF high bid $65.00
Click picture for enlargement


1206 0148 INDONESIA, SUMATRA, estate token, ND (1902) ATSM & Chinese / MUNT VAN ASAHAN TABAK MAATSCHAPPY “SILAU” 1/5 DOLLAR, copper-nickel, 22mm, 4.58g, Sch1126, light stains, VF high bid $25.00
Click picture for enlargement





1206 0147 INDONESIA, SUMATRA, estate token, 1888 UNTERNEHMUNG HESSA GUT FÜR 1/2 DOLLAR 1888 / blank, copper-nickel, 33mm, 11g, Sch1063, spots, aXF high bid $65.00
Click picture for enlargement




 Kuli Tionghoa memilih tembakau deli dan asahan

Chinese koelies bij het sorteren van tabak


Pekerja tembakau deli dan asahan



Memilih tembakau deli dan asahan


Tobacco Plantation boss and coelie

Tobsasco plantation deli nursery




























Argasari Kina estate Plantation Token


Onderneming Argasari 1892 / Uang Perkebunan Argasari Tahun 1892

Perusahaan Argasari, nama lama dari perkebunan yang berada di kawasan Gunung Halimoen, terletak di Preanger Bandung, di Kabupaten Tjipendjeuh di Jawa Barat. Di perkebunan tersebut ditanam kina yang digunakan untuk mengobati malaria.





Tobacco deli plantation card 1899





Onderneming Token



Silau  Asahan Tobacco Factory  Token


Netherlands East Indies: Sumatra. Asahan Tabak Maatschappij plantation token set including: 1/10, 1/5, 1/2, and 1 Dollar tokens in nickel, Sch-1124/2… (Total: 4 coins Item


Sumatra. Asahan Tabak Maatschappij plantation token set including: 1/10, 1/5, 1/2, and 1 Dollar tokens in nickel, Sch-1124/27, all are XF. Issued by owners of the tobacco plantation to appease the Chinese workers who refused to accept Dutch guilders in payment



 Silau Asahan Tobacco Factory Token




George B Perkins the founder of The AmericanSimatera tobacco compay in 1907

In June 1907, George B. Perkins, a founder of the American Sumatra Tobacco Company, acquired control of the central portion of the Houston Plantation by assuming a lease purchase agreement originally given by

Patrick Houston’s widow, Martha E. Bradford Houston (in rattan chair – photo from Florida State Archives), a granddaughter

John Branch, Florida’s last Territorial Governor (served 1844-45 – photo from Florida State Archives).  The actual purchase in November 1907 for $10,000.00, was by the American Sumatra Tobacco Company, with a life estate retained by Martha Bradford Houston.







Tobacco plantation deli Javanese collie







In December 1910,

 the American Deli Tobacco Company foreclosed on the mortgage, and at a sheriff’s sale (James P.S. Houston [photo on right from Florida State Archives],

  a son of Patrick and Martha Houston then being sheriff),





Amsterdam Borneo Tobacco Estate Plantation Token



Asahan Tobacco Company Silau
This trading company owned the private tobacco company Soengai Silau, which was located in the east coast of Sumatra Residence, Department Asahan. 50 km west of the Tandjong Balei the Silau river. Period issuing tokens: c.1902 – c.1913


Silau, LaWe 249a, 1 dollar cupro-nikkel, blanco keerzijde, 38 mm. (R). Daarnaast een token van dit type met instempeling van een dubbel cijfer

Silau, LaWe 249a en 249b, 1 dollar cupro-nikkel, 38 mm. verschillende bewerkingen. Er zijn maar enkele exemplaren met de instempeling S.A.N.A.N. bekend. de “V” op de middelste token is waarschijnlijk een ontwaardingsteken

Silau, compleet setje van de uitgegeven nominale waarden:
LaWe 249b, 1 dollar cupro-nikkel, 38 mm. (S)
LaWe 251b, 1/2 dollar cupro-nikkel, 28,5 mm. (S)
LaWe 252b, 1/5 dollar cupro-nikkel, 22,5 mm. (S)
LaWe 254, 1/10 dollar cupro-nikkel, 19,5 mm. (S)




Tobacco Onderneming Asahan “SILAU FACTORY”Token

1206 0148 INDONESIA, SUMATRA, estate token, ND (1902) ATSM & Chinese / MUNT VAN ASAHAN TABAK MAATSCHAPPY “SILAU” 1/5 DOLLAR, copper-nickel, 22mm, 4.58g, Sch1126, light stains, VF high bid $25.00
Click picture for enlargement




Onderneming Token



Silau  Asahan Tobacco Factory  Token


Netherlands East Indies: Sumatra. Asahan Tabak Maatschappij plantation token set including: 1/10, 1/5, 1/2, and 1 Dollar tokens in nickel, Sch-1124/2… (Total: 4 coins Item


Sumatra. Asahan Tabak Maatschappij plantation token set including: 1/10, 1/5, 1/2, and 1 Dollar tokens in nickel, Sch-1124/27, all are XF. Issued by owners of the tobacco plantation to appease the Chinese workers who refused to accept Dutch guilders in payment


1206 0147 INDONESIA, SUMATRA, estate token, 1888 UNTERNEHMUNG HESSA GUT FÜR 1/2 DOLLAR 1888 / blank, copper-nickel, 33mm, 11g, Sch1063, spots, aXF high bid $65.00
Click picture for enlargement



 Silau Asahan Tobacco Factory Token



Bandar Poeloe Estate

 Bandar Pulu Estate
The Bandar Pulu Estate, tobacco plantation was located in the building of the east coast of Sumatra, Department Asahan District Bandar Poelau (Pulu), south-west of Tandjongbalai on the west bank of the Asahan River and approximately 20 miles. Pulu of Raja and Oelakmedan. Period issuing tokens: ca 1891 – ca 1897.


Bandar Poeloe Estate, LaWe 24?, 1 dollar zilver(?) proef, 33 mm. (RRR)



Wetter Baumann & Co..
The tokens Baumann Wetter & co. presumably issued for circulation at the Bandar Maria Estate, a coffee plantation, which was located 2 km away from Bangoen-Perba Deli. Period issuing tokens: ca 1900 – ca 1914


Baumann wetter & Co., LaWe 37a, 20 cents, geelkoper, 21 mm. (RRR)




Unternehmung Bindjey
The company Bindjey, formerly Tanah Merah, was a tobacco plantation located in the Residence east coast of Sumatra, in the department Asahan, large building in 2000, at a distance of about “24 pole” of Tandjong Balei at the mouth of the river Asahan. Period issuing tokens: 1890-1895

Bindjey, Lawe 41b, 1 dollar 1890, cupro-nikkel, 38 mm. (S)






Blimbing Cofee Company plantation Token

This coffee company, large 1573 building, was located in the east coast of Sumatra Residence, Department Batu Bahra, landscape sukkah Limah Poeloeh, about 18 km. from Laboeanroekoe. Period issuing tokens: ca 1888/1889 – c.1903.

Facts: The starfruit is a tree that bears edible fruit star, These are very juicy and sour. There are different types blimbingbomen

Blimbing, Lawe 55b, 1 cent roodkoper, op voor- en keerzijde de letters KB, 22 mm. (RR)









Deli Badagei Estate plantation Token










Deli “de Guigne Ferees “ Estate PLantaion Token





Dolok Estate plantation token



Dolok Estate
The Dolok Estate was located in the residence east coast of Sumatra, Empire of Asahan, Department Batu Bahra in Landscape Sukkah Poeloeh Lima, 18 km. from Laboeanroekoe (Tebingtinggi-Deli). Period issuing tokens: ca 1886/1887 – until probably 1897.


Dolok Estate, LaWe 67, 1 dollar nikkel, 30 mm. (RR)























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