India - 1740-1807 - Madras Presidency

Gold Star Pagoda

The Gold coins; the Madras Presidency Star Pagoda ( Mal varagama in Sinhala) and the Porto Novo Pagoda were the chief Indian standards when the British East India Company took over the currency of Ceylon in 1796.

SPECIFICATIONS
DenominationOne Pagoda
AlloyGold.823Au
TypeStruck
Diameter11. mm
Thickness mm
Weight Legal3.406 gms
Weight3.41 gms
ShapeRound
EdgePlain
DieAxis
MintMadras
star_pagoda_obverse star_pagoda_reverse
KM Madras #303

Obverse : Vishnu standing with star above; deeply struck.
Reverse : Granulated with five-pointed star in center.

The coins are mentioned by Codrington, who states It was in use in Ceylon in 1777 and also under the British.
Under the dutch the Star Pagoda was worth 30.5 fanams, and increased in value relative to the Ceylon Stuiver under the British. The exchange on 1796 March 22 was 1 Star Pagoda = 45 fanams. About 17% higher than the Porto Novo = 38.5 fanams. Over the period 1802,1807,1809,1813 the Star Pagoda rose in value to 48,60,70,80 fanams as the Rix Dollar dropped to it's intrinsic value of Silver. In 1819 it was 8 Shillings, or 54 6/7 fanams.

Text from
* Ceylon Coins and Currency By H. W. Codrington. Colombo 1924
  Page 172 Chapter XIII Miscellaneous: VI - Pagodas and Fanams.

The coin was scanned at 600dpi and the images are displayed at 500dpi.
The VF+ condition coins were purchased in July 1999 on ebay, and probably not one that actually circulated in Lanka.