Prior to the establishment of Brunei Currency Board, Malaya and British Borneo dollars were circulated in Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Singapore. On 12th June 1967, Board of Commissioners of Currency Malaya and British Borneo handed over its powers to issue currency and these three territories began issuing their own currencies – Brunei dollar (BND), Singapore dollar (SGD) and Malaysian dollar (MYR) via Brunei Currency Board (BCB), the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Singapore (BCCS) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) respectively.
The currency issuance in 1967 consisted of a paper note series in five denominations (BND 1, BND 5, BND 10, BND 50 and BND 100) and a coin series of five denominations (1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 20¢ and 50¢). Both featured the portrait of Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien ibni Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam II, the 28th Sultan of Brunei Darussalam. The reverse of the 1967 notes depicted the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. The reverse of the coin series featured various local designs including those said to represent flower or group of blossoms (1¢), tree-shaped to represent a bird (5¢), claw-shaped to represent an animal (10¢), vertical oblong pattern said to represent a tree (20¢) and the crest of Brunei Darussalam (50¢).
The Currency Interchangeability Agreement was also signed between Brunei Darussalam, Singapore and Malaysia on 12th June 1967; where all currencies were interchangeable at par with one another. Till the present day, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore continued to maintain this Agreement. Under this Agreement, the monetary authorities and licensed banks of each country are obliged to accept and exchange each other's currencies at par and without charge. This Agreement allows the individual currencies (the BND and SGD) to be accepted as customary tender when circulating in the country in which they are not legal tender.
Following the accession of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji 'Omar Ali Saifuddien Saadul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam as the 29th Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, His Majesty's portrait was featured in the second coin series in 1970 and note series in 1972 . The note series included two new denominations in BND 500 and BND 1,000 with new reverse designs. All other denominations had the same reverse designs as the previous currency series.
the BCB issued the first set of proof coins consisting of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 20¢, 50¢ and BND 1. Proof coins are special coins made specifically for collectors and are not intended for circulation. From time to time, BCB issued commemorative coins in various compositions including gold, silver and cupronickel in conjunction with special events.
The third series of notes was introduced in 1989 in eight denominations with a new portrait of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on the obverse and a local scenery on the reverse with Kampong Ayer as the main theme. This included the highest denomination of Brunei currency, BND 10,000.
In 1992, to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji 'Omar Ali Saifuddien Saadul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan Brunei Darussalam accession to the throne, BCB issued limited edition BND 25 paper notes as legal tender in addition to the existing denominations.
BCB, in 1993, issued a new set of coins bearing some notable differences from the 1977 series. While the 1977 series featured the side profile of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji 'Omar Ali Saifuddien Saadul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the 1993 series carried an entirely new portrait depicting His Majesty facing forward. Additionally, His Majesty's title on the coins was changed to SULTAN HAJI HASSANAL BOLKIAH on the 1993 series from SULTAN HASSANAL BOLKIAH.
Follow part two of this series to know more about Brunei Darussalam's currency. The general public is also welcome to visit the AMBD Currency Gallery at the BCMB Building, Ministry of Finance Complex, Commonwealth Drive, which exhibits a range of currencies from the early era as well as uncut notes and commemorative coins. The gallery is opened from 8.30am to 12.00 noon and 2.00pm – 4.30pm except on Friday from 8.30am to 11.00am and 3.00pm – 4.00pm, and during the month of Ramadhan, 8.30am – 2.00pm except on Friday from 8.30am – 10.30am.
Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam
Photos credit: AMBD Currency Gallery
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