There has been a tradition of coinlike amulets on Java since the 16th century if not before.  There is a lot of magic in the culture, and people like to carry around luck with them.
    In the 1960s a guy in Java living near an iron foundry starting taking lumps of iron trash, coating them with wax, carving out pseudo-Arabic inscriptions and designs, soaking the lumps in battery acid.  The result were little amulets that he gave away to his friends.  They ascribed beneficial results, and soon he went into business making amulets, not all in iron.  Mitchiner saw them and supposed they were 17th century, but he was wrong.  The guy has since stopped making them.

INDONESIA, JAVA, 61mm cast brass amulet, ND (1950s-60s), Muhammad (!) standing facing flanked by Indonesian sycophants, Arabic legend / Kaaba in Mecca, Arabic legend, VF $75.00 sold
Click picture for enlargements.

INDONESIA, JAVA, 18x5.5mm hexagonal brass amulet, pseudo Arabic legends, the two lines repeated around, c. 1970, VF $15.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

home (if you've never been there you really ought to take a look)
Bob Reis POB 26303 Raleigh NC 27611 USA
phone: (919) 787-0881 (8:30AM-10:30PM EST only please)
fax: (888) 503-8308
how to order