Inscribed Lead Tokens/Coins from Ancient Ruhuna

A selection from Raja Wickramasinghe's collection

Illustrated below is the collection of 42 Tokens/coins from Raja Wickramasinghe's collection. LakdivaCollection was lucky to acquire them from leading collector Lalith Raddella in 2016 May. They had been sold to him independently before the remaining collection sold in 2010.

Please use Browser in wide full screen, so that both sides of coins and comments displayed at 600 dpi are visible.

Most are inscribed lead coins and include the 3 used in the cover illustration of the book published in 1999 by Osmund Bopearachchi and Rajah Wickramasinhe (OBRW) titled Ruhuna An Ancient Civilization Re-visited. Numismatic and Archaeological evidence on inland and Maritime Trade. These Tokens found mainly in Akurugoda are most often unique. Published Weight and Measured Weight had typical 0.05 grams errors in weight. This collection of 42 consisted of

  • 29 positively identified by weight and images as Plate Specimens of OBRW.
  • 2 positively identified by image as Plate Specimens, but had the wrong weight published in OBRW.
  • 4 misidentified with similar Plate Specimens,
  • 7 more unlisted lead tokens with Raja's handwritten comments on 2x2 coin flaps.

    Including A26 I had got from RajaW many years ago LakdivaCollection now has Seven (in bold in list below) of the Eleven coins (A21, A37, A20, A17, A11, A25, A19, A12, A5, A3, A26) from OBRW mentioned by Dr P. Pushparatnam in his book Ancient Coins of Sri Lankan Tamil Rulers

    Eight of the coins are among the Fourteen coins selected and crudely replicated in lead to match the size and the line drawing in OBRW.

    The two large inscribed Lion and Swastika coins E5 and e9 are not lead as published in OBRW, in mostly copper as indicated by green color of corrosion. They are extreamly rare, particularly in this large size.

    The B&W images printed in OBRW Book show hardly any detail. The line drawing appear not to be exact copies but drawn by eye of what was easily visible on coin or coin image. Displayed below are high resolution 600 dpi Scanned images which have been PhotoShoped to increase contrast of details. This PhotoShop operation done identically for all images however made the color of corrosion, more intense than seen on token, but does highlight the coins which may gain from some careful conservation which is not easy for lead coins.

    Individual pages for each token is linked from the ID between the coin images.


    Obverse OBRW
    ID
    Reverse Line Drawing and comments
    A3
    A5
    A6
    Rev: In addition to anticlockwise fish on top, there is a clockwise tortoise on right, and probably symbols to left and bottom as well not illustrated in OBRW line drawing.
    A7
    The obverse of coin used on the cover page of OBRW book. Identified as a stylised lion to right, looks like a lizard as the whipped tail extends behind the hind legs at the same size of body before thinning out. The oversize paws and the pointed head looks like that of a Monitor.
    A9
    A10
    Obv: Described in OBRW as a Shark,could this be a Crocodile or a Whale
    A13
    A14
    A17
    Both sides of this coin used on the cover page of OBRW book.
    A18
    A19
    A20
    A22
    Obv: Described in OBRW as a Maneless lion, looks more like a Deer as the legs are long relative to body. The square above is not connected to the short tail.
    A23
    A27
    A30
    Obv: Described in OBRW as a dancing Female figure, look like a seated person on stool the legs of which are seen on the right.
    A37
    Rev: Symbol on top excluded in OBRW line drawing.
    A38
    The obverse coin used on the cover page of OBRW book.
    A39
    A40
    a41
    Not Plate specimen. Shape and Brahami Text different from A41. indicated on coin flap.
    a42
    Not Plate specimen. Indicated smaller than A42 on coin flap. Shape and Brahami Text different from A42. Weight of 1.185 grams less than published Weight of A42 2.11 grams.
    a43
    Not Plate specimen. Brahami Text different from A43. Detailed features on fish is incredible. Swastika on side opposite Brahami text.
    E5
    Broken part of Lion and railed swastika coin does not belong among these tokens.
    e9
    Not Plate specimen. Weight and size does not match E4 indicated on coin flap. Weight, size and Line drawing like E9, but image of E4 or E9 in OBRW does not match. Large rare Lion and railed swastika coin does not belong among these tokens.
    E11
    E12
    Obv: Described in OBRW as a lion jumping, looks like a Deer in flight. The pair of hind legs curved up, the short stubby tail, a pointed head with antlers.
    E18
    F1
    Obv: Described in OBRW a lady with Mirror. If rotated 90 degrees right you can almost imagine a couple making love on the ground. But it is not so.
    F2
    Plate Image of F2 in OBRW and size matches specimen. But Line Drawing and Weight of 2.326 grams does not match published Weight of 3.30 grams.
    F4
    Obv: Described in OBRW a elephant to right. The ground line with clump of grass show that it a Elephant standing on hind legs with trunk up.
    F8
    F13
    Plate Image of F13 in OBRW and size matches specimen. But Line Drawing and Weight of 4.135 grams does not match published Weight of 2.11 grams.
    Obv: Horse running right has hind legs back.
    M2
    M5
    X3 Obv: Sambar with wide antlers
    Rev: Brahami around dot at center
    X4 Obv: Crown
    Rev: Brahami
    X6 Obv: RW says Lion but looks more like a Leopard right
    Rev: Brahami around dot at center
    X8 Obv: RW says Dolphins but looks more like the auspicious symbol Matsa or pair of fish
    Rev: Brahami
    X9 Obv: Elephant to right facing Tree
    Rev: Brahami around circle with flower at center
    X18 Obv: Srivatsa with dot at center
    Rev: Brahami around dot at center
    X21 Obv: Three elephants facing left, forward and right
    Rev: Brahami around circle with flower at center