The Strait of Malacca, a narrow waterway some 550 miles long, is the fastest maritime route from India to China. Flanked by Malaysia and Singapore on one side, and the Indonesian island of Sumatra on the other, the passage, with its myriad inlets and river outlets, has been a haven for pirates for centuries. Even today’s ships fall prey to modern-day pirates, who are far less colorful than the swashbucklers of old. In the Golden Age of Piracy, ships were routinely seized for their cargo, which included valuable spices from the Orient. These tin pitis coins were struck in Palembang, a major VOC port, in the late 18th century, and filled many a pirate’s treasure chest.