World War II JIM - Malaya Japanese Propaganda Note

Some people call it a "note", perhaps in reference to the short form for the term "banknote". If it is, then it is technically incorrect.

Before we get into the technical details, let's go back 70 years, Malaya was then under Japanese occupation since late 1941 / early 1942. By 1944/45 the tide was turning against the Japanese and toward the end of the war, sometime between 1944 and 1945, the Royal Air Force (British) started airdropping these pieces of paper as part of the psychological warfare initiative.

Malaya JIM Propaganda Leaflet Replica - Obverse
Fig 1 : Suspicious looking propaganda leaflet (Obverse)

A brief analysis of BNM's inaugural auction on 27 Sep 2014

This is a quick run down on the statistics and a brief analysis of the BNM auction yesterday. The are base on the UNOFFICIAL results of the auction. I do hope MNP will publish the realized prices soon so that further analysis can be done.

BNM Auction 27 Sep 2014 - Cover Page (c) BNM

BNM Auction of Malaysian Banknotes with Special Serial Numbers - 27 Sep 2014

The much anticipated numismatic event of the year has finally arrived. As I made my way to Sasana Kijang in downtown Kuala Lumpur, there are many thoughts about how the event will turn out and how it will affect the local numismatic market. There has been much buzz on social media sites and many will turn up at the event - either to bid for the items or to just sit on the sidelines and enjoy the show. Which ever way it goes, I think it is going to be a very crowded.

From what I know, and do correct me if I am wrong, such an event is unprecedented; as in our central bank is, for the very first time, running such an auction. The event is conducted by MNP Auctioneers (based in Penang, with office in downtown KL) at the auditorium of Sasana Kijang. The buyers' premium is quite reasonable - at 15% of the hammer price and there are 231 lots up for grabs.

As I arrived just after 9:00am and made my way down the escalator to the foyer of the auditorium, you can already hear the noise. People are already queuing up to register.

Fig 1: Escalator going down to the auditorium

Fig 2. Crowd building up....

Fig 3. Registration counters were packed.

Fig 4. Waiting for their number cards.

As I reached the foyer, I could immediately see all the familiar faces, just about every personality and dealer in the numismatic scene are there; from Steven Tan to Raymond Chang to KN Boon. Folks from the Malaysian Numismatic Society like Dickson Niew were there too. We even have collectors coming from down south, as in from Johor and Singapore, some from the north of the peninsular as well. I did not, however, encounter anyone from Hong Kong or China, which according to some will be here as well.

There was a lot of catching up to do, after all, no where in this country you can find all the dealers and collectors all in the same place at the same time ! I said many hellos to people whom I know and chatted with for hours on Facebook Messenger but have NEVER met them in person.

Fig 5. Guess who's here? 

Fig 6. Can't touch this! 

According to the itinerary, registration will be from 9:00am onwards and bidding is expected to begin at 10:00am. Due to the overwhelming crowd, the registration took a bit longer and bidding finally got underway at 11:00am. As I entered the auditorium, I took a rough calculation and my estimate that there there are about 250 to 300 people at the start of the session, this is the probably the biggest numismatic auction in this country yet.

Fig 7. The atmosphere of the grand looking hall.

Fig 8. Very spacious hall at audio was good and clear.

Fig 9. Waiting for the bidding to start.

Fig 10. And so it begins ....

Fig 11. Bidding went on for hours.

Fig 12. Good turnout.

The first lot up for grabs was RM1 AB Prefix with numbers AB0000001-10 with an indicative price of only RM200. Now this first lot was a BIG shocker, it came in at RM5,700 !   Subsequent similar lots settled at about RM3,500 to RM4,800 range. This took everyone in the room by surprise, there were gasps and claps at the same time. Amazing.

The next big thing was Lot 61 RM5 AA6666666, that piece comes with a frame and it got bidded up to RM16,000. Unbelievable. Considering that the rest of RM5 pieces were doing RM2000 to RM3000+.

Fast forward to 2:00pm, we are still at Lot 77, only one third of the way thru. At this rate, my calculations show that this should finish at about 8:00pm.I couldn't stay any longer and had to leave for my next appointment, after all according to the itinerary, it was suppose to finish at 2:00pm.

The prices are just incredible - for low serials, at least 10 times the catalog prices.

As I made my way out, I could see that some people have already left, perhaps disappointed that they could not get any of the lots at their target prices. I left the place thinking about what will be the subsequent impact of these new high prices of special serial number banknotes ....

I'll be back with my thoughts and some analysis of this momentous event. I will try to get the realized prices tonight and run thru them.

Stay tuned!

P.S. In the meantime, get ready to answer a barrage of questions from your brothers, sisters, wife or wives, aunties, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, colleagues, friends, your insurance agent, car mechanic, right up to your hairdresser about what is their nice number banknote is worth and whether you want to buy or not. Expect this to be inflicted upon you for a minimum of 6 months.

Happy Collecting Folks!