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The Brunei dollar (Malay: ringgit Brunei, currency code: BND), has been the currency of the Sultanate of Brunei since 1967. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively B$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is divided into 100 sen (Malay) or cents (English). The Brunei dollar is issued by the Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (Monetary Authority of Brunei Darussalam).

Under a Currency Interchangeability Agreement in 1967, the Brunei dollar is interchangeable with the Singapore dollar at par. As such, the Brunei dollar is accepted in Singapore as "customary tender"; likewise, the Singapore dollar is accepted for payments in Brunei.[1]


Early currency in Brunei included cowrie shells. Brunei is also famous for its bronze teapots, which were used as currency in barter trade along the coast of northern Borneo.

Brunei issued tin coins denominated in pitis in AH1285 (AD1868). These were followed by a one cent coin in AH1304 (AD1888). This cent was one hundredth of a Straits dollar.

As a protectorate of Britain in the early 20th century, Brunei used the Straits dollar from 1906, the Malayan dollar from 1939 and the Malaya and British Borneo dollar from 1953 until 1967, when it began issuing its own currency.

The Brunei dollar replaced the Malaya and British Borneo dollar in 1967 after the formation of Malaysia and the independence of Singapore. Until 23 June 1973, the Malaysian ringgit was exchangeable at par with the Singapore dollar and Brunei dollar. The Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Brunei Currency and Monetary Board (now the Authoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (Monetary Authority of Brunei Darussalam) still maintain the exchangeability of their two currencies. The dollar is accepted as "customary tender" in Singapore according to the Currency Interchangeability Agreement,[1] although it is not legal tender there.

Coins were used in Brunei from the 10th century. The Straits dollar was also used in Brunei from 1906.

Due to the close ties between China and Brunei, the first type of coins used in Brunei were Chinese coins. This was initially called ‘Pitis’. They were later known as ‘Kue’ when local ‘Pitis’ were introduced.[2][3] The local ‘Pitis’ coins had ‘Sultanate of Brunei’ stamped in front of the coin and the royal umbrella was imprinted at the back. These were issued from the 16th to the 19th century. Previous Islamic coins were also called the ‘Pitis’.[4] Another type of coin that was used in Brunei were ‘Duit besi’ (which roughly translates to ‘Iron money’). Iron was considered valuable those days that it was used as money. 100 one-square inch pieces were valued at 1 dollar.[3]

The last coin to be issued before the introduction of the Straits Settlements currency was the ‘Duit Bintang’, otherwise known as the ‘Star coin’ or the 'Star Cent'.[2] It is called the Star coin because of the star imprinted on the obverse of the coin. It was minted in Birmingham, England, in 1887.[2] It was made from copper.

With the introduction of the Straits Settlements currency, the previously used coins were taken out of circulation. They were, however still used with certain exchange rates.[3]

The Straits dollar was introduced in Brunei in 1906. It was later replaced by the Malayan dollar which was introduced to British colonies and Brunei in 1939. It replaced the Straits dollar at par with a 1:1 exchange rate. The Malayan dollar was issued by the Board of Commissioners of Currency in Malaya. The board stopped issuing the Malayan dollar during the Japanese invasion during World War II. The Malayan dollar had the portrait of King George VI in front of the note.[2]

In 1952, the board was renamed the Board of Commissioners of Malaya and British Borneo. The board then began to issue notes to Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, British North Borneo, and Brunei in 1953. This was known as the Malaya and British Borneo dollar.[2] In 1967, the Malaya and British Borneo dollar was replaced by three new currencies: the Malaysian dollar, Singapore dollar and the Brunei dollar, all at par.[5]

The Singapore dollar is still interchangeable with the Brunei dollar today.[4]


In 1967, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. Except for the bronze 1 cent, the coins were struck in cupro-nickel. In 1986, copper-clad steel replaced bronze.[6] Later, in 2008, the 1 cent coins switched compositions to brass.


On 12 June 1967,[7] the government (Kerajaan Brunei) introduced notes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 dollars. Notes for 500 and 1000 dollars followed in 1979. In 1989, the title on the paper money was changed to Negara Brunei Darussalam, the official name of the country, and the Malay term for “State of Brunei, Abode of Peace.” 10,000 dollar notes were introduced the same year. All notes bear the denomination in Malay (in both Rumi and Jawi) and in English. The English denomination appeared on the obverse below the denomination in Malay on the earlier series, but now appears on the reverse together with the Jawi.

Five series of notes have been issued. The colours of $1, $5, and $10 notes have been the same for all the series of banknotes. [1] [23]

First series (1967) – currency with the portrait of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III, the 28th ruler of Brunei.

Second series – This series was the same as the first series with exception that the portrait of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin was replaced by the portrait of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the 29th and current ruler of Brunei. All subsequent currency has the portrait of Hassanal Bolkiah. In addition, two new higher denominations were issued in 1979.

  • $1 ~ $100 like 1967 series
  • $500 – pink
  • $1000 – yellow

Third series – the post independence series. This series was gradually being replaced by the fourth series.

  • $1 – blue
  • $5 – green
  • $10 – red
  • $50 – brown, green, orange
  • $100 – purple
  • $500 – orange
  • $1,000 – red-violet, purple, olive
  • $10,000 – green, orange

Fourth Series (1996–2000) all notes except for the polymer issues are no longer printed.

Polymer banknotes were introduced in (2004) due to high cases of banknote forgery. All of them are polymer. The $100 note of this series has won a gold medal award for its security features in the 22nd National Print Award in Australia in May 2005.[8]

The S$10,000 and B$10,000 notes are the world's most valuable banknotes, worth USD 8000 as of September 2014 (that are officially in circulation).[9] They are worth eight times as much as the next most valuable, the 1000 Swiss franc note (USD 1063).

  • $1 – blue (2011)[10]
  • $5 – green and yellow (2011)[11]
  • $10 – red, yellow and brown (2011)[12]
  • $25 – purple and beige (1992)
  • $20 – yellow (polymer, 2007)
  • $50 - yellow (polymer, 2017)
  • $50 - yellow (polymer, 2017)

See also

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