Ma-tam: coin from Kingdom of Bhutan; 1/2 rupee


Ma-tam (1/2 rupee), 1835-1910: Kingdom of Bhutan

Ma-tam (1/2 rupee), 1835-1910: Kingdom of Bhutan

ND (no date).

Symbols of Buddhism and Dzongkha letters.

Letter "Sa" from Dzongkha language (the precise significance of the letter Sa is unknown, but it must have something to do with "land"; many old personal seals of Bhutanese officials have the letter Sa, so it was probably intended to distinguish coins issued by one of the important issuing authorities).

Hammered coinage.

  • Copper: 20 mm - 3.68 g
  • Reference price: 7$

COIN MA-TAM — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. KINGDOM OF BHUTAN (18th-20th centuries): ma-tam = 1/2 rupee

MA-TAM as coin name.
Ma-tam — historical hammered copper coin of the Kingdom of Bhutan. It was produced mostly during the 19th century.
Very contradictory information about the monetary system of Bhutan of the mentioned period is spread. There is little reliable data. Even the authoritative Standard Catalog of World Coins, Krause Publications ("Catalog Krause"), according to many numismatists, lists the BHUTAN section with a number of inaccuracies...
It is interesting that Bhutanese coins of the 19th century are not very rare at auctions. However, often the same types of copper coins are called differently: ½ rupee, deb, ma-tam, che-tam...
Most likely, the following statement is closest to the truth: the main monetary unit of the Kingdom of Bhutan at that time was considered to be the Indian rupee; more precisely, the so-called deb rupee. It was a silver coin (a wide variety of silver-based alloys were often used). Half of this currency was called ma-tam and was a copper coin weighing from 2.5 g. In turn, half of a ma-tam — che-tam, — up to 2.5 g.
All known ma-tam coins look the same to foreigners, or at least very similar. In fact, there are dozens of types of coins.
The name of the coin ma-tam in translation means "red coin": in the context — a copper coin.