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History of Money in Malaysia :  Early Money

Early Money in the Country

In the early days, people exchanged goods by 'bartering' for what they needed. Under this arrangement, goods were exchanged for goods. But this is not always convenient. The carpenter must look for a person who can provide him with the right mix of foodstuffs in exchange for the table, which he will make for him. The indivisibility of large items posed a real problem. So did the selection of the right person to barter with. With time, it soon became apparent that a form of medium of exchange would solve the problems. A unit of measure based on something that was valuable, durable, easy to store, homogeneous and portable was required for this purpose. Gold and silver fitted the bill. Thus the use of primitive money in the form of metallic (usually gold or silver) tokens or coins was introduced.

Through the ages, money has become not only a medium of exchange and a unit and store of value, but also a historical document on the culture, religion and traditions of the society. Coins have been used to record historical events, such as the reign of kings, or the art and design motifs of the time when the coins were issued. The inscriptions, the designs and motifs used on coins reflected the important events, traditions and social and political changes of nations. With time, money in the form of paper currency or notes were introduced, as these were convenient to issue, use and store, as the economic life of society became more complex.