Prior to its independence in 1984, Brunei was a former Malay state established as a British protectorate in 1888. The Brunei currency system was based on the Straits Settlements dollar, divisible into 100 cents. In 1946, when the Straits Settlements were broken up, the Malayan dollar replaced the Straits Settlements dollar at par. The Malayan dollar was replaced in 1967 with the Brunei dollar, divisible into 100 cents. The Brunei dollar is often referred to as the ringgit, a Malay word meaning ‘jagged’, referring to the milled edge of the coin. The sen is the alternative name for cent, from the Japanese word meaning ‘coin’.
Chinese coins were among those used earliest in Brunei. This Brunei money was known as Pitis. 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent Brunei coins were introduced in 1967. The first coins of Brunei bear the portrait of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III on the obverse. 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 sen coins were issued. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah acceded to the throne in 1967 and the second Brunei coins series bear ‘Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah I’ legend. Commemorative Brunei coins of $1 through to $1,000 were struck during this time. The title of the Sultan was changed to ‘Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’ in the third Brunei coins series. The fourth Brunei coins series adopted an entirely new portrait of the Sultan facing forward. The legend bore was ‘Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah’.