These coins have been gold-plated, hammered into lockets and painted with enamel to look like stained glass, but it is in fact, illegal to turn Singapore coins into jewellery. A police report was made by MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) after it discovered that people had been making such trinkets and selling them on US-based craft website Etsy. Prices can go up to thousands of dollars. Some of the pieces are from the first series of coins issued by the Singapore Mint from 1967 to 1985. They are known as the marine series, featuring motifs of the seahorse, swordfish and lionfish.
Under the Currency Act, it is illegal to “mutilate, destroy or deface” Singapore currency, including painting, engraving or cutting into coins. Offenders can be fined up to $2,000. All the sellers are based overseas, with most in Britain and the United States, and are using these techniques to make jewellery from coins around the world. As pretty as they might be as a representation of our country’s history and legacy, do think twice before buying something that is illegal on our shores.
Text: Rachel Chia, The Straits Times / Additional Reporting: Janice Sim