COINS OF SRI LANKA FROM 500BC


This is an attempt to bring up to date information of the monumental book of the greatest numismatist of Sri Lankan coins Mr HW Codrington published in 1924. The opinions expressed by other numismatists who followed Codrington’s footsteps, the likes of DPE Hettiarachchi,Dr S Paranvitane, Raja Wickremasinghe, Fred Medis, KNV Seyone, Bopearacchi, Walberg, Chandrika Jayasinghe, OMR Sirisena  and others . Any new material made available to me,will  be added into this Blog. The readers,please feel free to inform me[ sirimuna39@gmail.com] of any errors and omissions to up-date and complete the rich history of coinage of Sri Lanka.

TABLE OF CONTENTS[As published in ‘Coins and Currency of Ceylon’ of 1924]

CHAPTER l –METROLOGY.Part I -III Indian weights and measures, Pt IV- Weights and Measures in the Island.

CHAPTER II. a. ANCIENT NUMISMATICS Para 1 -7.Main sources of information on numismatics in the Mahavamsa and Dipavansa,Inscriptions( an abbreviation for Kahapanas), information from Athakatha etc.Para8-12- Name for value of coins-Kahapanas, hirranas, masakas ,adakahapana,kakanika ,…..in text and inscriptions.

PL 1. PMC Series II Type 269- Has an extra Banker Mark on obverse an Lotus.

b.Kahapanas.Plate . 1 CCC, the coin photo No 1 in the plates of Codrington- This coin has been identified from the tables of PL Gupta & Hardekar book ‘Imperial Punched Coins of the Ancient Maghadan Empire’ as an issues of one of the Decedents of Adjasatura[435-425 BC]. May have been a contempory of Kings Vijaya and Upatissa?. Many hoards of these coins now called Punch Marked Coins[ PMC’s] has been found and these coins used in Sri Lanka. Moulds of these coins has been found, hence some of the pieces were perhaps minted here……………….

Mould for Casting of Coins perhaps coins of Series V or VI from symbols and size of mould- 2 Cent AD- Gedige Excavations- S Deraniyagala.

 

CHAPTER III ANCIENT COINS.EARLY ANURADHAPURA PERIOD

Since 1924 few coin type have been discovered and published by Wing Comd Raja Wickremasinghe and Ms Chandrika Jayasinghe, Mr KNV Seyone etc . These are added HW Codrington list in “Coins & Currency of Ceylon”. The coins were scientifically C14 dated in the layer of earth they were found at Anuradfhapura and at Tissamaharama during excavations. These are added to the Coins & Currency of Ceylon  in a chronological sequence now accepted until fresh evidence.

Para 1.a; Inscribed Coins of Dataya. [Pre 300 BC].

Para 2.b;

Para 2-5. Edlings, Para6/7 . Single die coins,

Single Die Coin in Sri Lanka – Surasena Janapadaya India-400BC

Para 5a. PMC’s of Series II[ 435-425 BC] and III[ ]found in the Island;Fair numbers of coins has been published, many more lie with collectors or at Museums, these need be added to this list. These coins may have been issued prior to the capital moving from Upatissagama to Anuradhapura. We cannot assume that these coins were actually in use here, but as per the chronicle there was much Trade, movement or colonisation from the areas in India that these coins may have been in circulation.

Para 5 b. PMC’s of Series IV found in the island.

A Coin of the Nanda’s with the Sun, Six arm Symbol, the Tree on a Mountain,The Dhramma-chakra and an Elephant.

Para 5c. The Silver Kahapanas of the Series Va and VI a recorded in the Island as local finds.

Para 5.d; Series Vb , VI b and VII; The Silver Kahapanas of King Asoka/ Sunga period found in the Island.

A Kahapana of Rudy Boekle- Unlisted in 1990’s Gupta & Hardekar Vb

Para8. – Symbols appearing on coins with Railed Swastika Series of Coins,

The Pandyan Coins counter-marked as legal tender by King Vattigamini Abaya- Raja Wickremasinghe

Para9- Buddhist Chakram Types,A Pandyan coin found in Sri Lanka, probably introduced by the five  Pandyans who invaded Sri Lanka during the reign of Vattagamini-Abaya.

A double Pana-Multi-Symbol Elephnat & Railed Swastika

Para10- Elephant and Swastika,

Small Elephant & Railed Swastika

Para12/13 – Elephant and Swastika-Small

Para11- Elephant and Swastika-Variant,

,

Para14- Horse and Swastika, Para15- Lion and Swastika,

Para16 – Tree and Swastika,

Coin with Bull on obverse and 4 Dots in Circle on the Reverse- King Vasaba ??

Para17- Rectangular Bull Type,

“]
Coin of King Mahasen [ 275-301 AD

Para18- Maneless Lion Type,

Para19 – Deductions, Para 20Standards on which ancient coins were struck.

Appendix to chapter III- MAYA DEVI][ LAKSHMI ?] & MALE FIGURE

Since 1924 where HW Codrinton  published the standing female figure and few other types , New type were found in strata C 14 dated from 2 Cent BC to 6 Cent AD during excavations. They may be until further evidence is available , chronologically classified into

a. Male Figure with Staves or Weapons.

b.Figures with Halo around head or Kavadi Type.

c.Female figure Cast and  Struck.

(1) Plaques(Cast)

(2) Plaques(Struck).

d.Seated Figure.

e.Standing figure on square Coin-with Multi-symbols.

f. Standing Figure on Boat[ Vihare-maha Devi Coins.

CHAPTER IV – ROMAN(INCLUDING BYZANTINE), INDO-ROMAN AND MISCELLANEOUS.

CHAPTER V COINS OF MEDIAEVAL CEYLON -PT I. .LATE ANURADHAPURA PERIOD

Para 1- History of coins., Para 2-Sinhalese Sovereigns, Para 3-Reference of numismatics in texts and inscriptions, Para 4-6 –Weights and Standards,

Type I -Srivatsa-one of the over 30 varieties of Gold Coins recorded to date…

Kalandas of Gold-[PARA 7 TO 11]Para 7- Coins without Name or Ruler, Para 8 – Kahavanu Type I,

Para 9 – Kahavanu Type II.,

Para 10 – Kahavanu Type III,

A Unique set- a Full Kalanda, the Half, the Quarter and the Eighth-Type Chank over Pot.

Para 11- Fractional Pieces.,Para 12- Adakahapana.,

Para 13.- Deka or Pala– Type I Vase., Para 14 – Deka or Pala -Type III Ball & Annulet.,

Para 16-Aka(1)(?) Nadika. Para 17 –Aka-Type I & II, Para 18- Aka – Uraka Type III, Para 19- (?) – Massa.

CHAPTER VI –MEDIAEVAL CEYLON (CONTINUED)

Para 1/2 – Vijeyabahu I, para 3-Sinhalese in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, Description of obverse and reverse Human figure,

para 4- Assigning coins to kings, metallurgy,Fabric of coin etc, dimensions of coins of different Kings, attributing coins to different kings with same name.

Para 5- Gold, silver pieces, Para 6-Irregularity in weight and sizes of coins,

Para 7- Gold gilt or silvered coins,

Series I Coins;- para 8- Parakramabhu I,

The denominations of Parakramabahu Series. Gold Massa and quater Massa not shown

Para 9- Nissankamalle Coins,

para 10-Codaganga Coins,

Para 11- Lilavati Coins[ 3 Reigns 1107-1200;1209;1211].

In Nagari- Sri Matsa Sahasamalle

Para 12- Sahasamalle.[AD1200-1202].

para 13-Dhrammasoka Coins.

Denominations of Dharmmasoka Deva .

SERIES II CEYLON TYPE

Para 14 Parakramabahu II,

Para 15- Vijeyabahu IV,

Para 16-Bhuvaniaka Bahu I ,

para 17 – Ceylon type design derived from Gtupta/Kushan Coins or from ancient local coins??The gold value on coins. Kahavanus are anterior to time of Parakramabahu.;

Para 18-Setu coins of Jaffna.

pARA 19; Parakramabahu VI of Kotte.

Reading the Script on Coins.

CHAPTER VII – MEDIEVAL INDIAN

CHAPTER VIII -PORTUGUESE

IX -DUTCH

X -DUTCH(CONTINUED)

XI -BRITISH

XII -MUHAMMADAN

XIII – MISCELLANEOUS, MEDIAEVAL; AND MODERN (FAR EAST,VENETIAN,SPANISH,NETHERLAND ,OTHER EUROPEAN,PAGODAS AND FAMANS)

XIV -KANDY