Sri Lanka 2007 Cricket World Cup Runners-Up Commemorative Coins

By Kavan Ratnatunga

The Central Bank has issued two commemorative coins in the denominations of Rs 5 and Rs 1000 in celebration of the Sri Lanka Team being the Runners-up in the 2007 Cricket World Cup tournament.

The President Mahinda Rajapakse who announced the issue of a Rs1000/- coin for the World Cup runners up, when he met with them in Temple Trees on 8th May 2007, was gifted the coins on the 16th of August 2008 during the Kandy Perahara by the governor of the central Bank. On Monday 18th August before the start of the Idea Cup ODI series between Sri Lanka and India, coins were gifted to the captains of the Teams at the International Cricket Ground, Dambulla, and then sold to the public.

The Rupees 5 brass plated steel coin is minted to the same standard as the new Rs 5 coin since 2005, and Millions of coins will be issued into circulation. A colorful coin pack with two uncirculated Rs 5/- coins each is also being sold for Rs250.

The coin was designed by M. H. Hasitha Chanaka is similar to the 1999 Rs 5 coin issued for the 1996 Cricket World Cup Win which depicted a batsman and wicket keeper.

The obverse of the new coin depicts an artistic impression of a bowler, with an arm bent like that of Muralitharan. A legend "2007 Cricket World Cup" "March 13 - April 28" in English appears just above the figure. The words `RUNNERS-UP' in Sinhala, Tamil and English appears just to the left of the bowler. The names of the 16 countries participated in the 2007 Cricket World Cup Tournament appear along periphery, with SRI LANKA in larger font at the top.
The reverse depicts the legal tender value of the coin Rs 5 in large numerals and words in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages at the center. The heraldic lion in the National Flag appears just above. Along the periphery the name `SRI LANKA' in Sinhala appears on top and in Tamil and English on right and left. The year 2007 is at bottom.

The larger Rupee 1000 coin with the same design, except for the value has been minted in Nickel Plated Steel. The brilliant uncirculated coin is issued in a plastic capsule within a Black Royal Mint presentation box. With a numbered certificate of authenticity for the 10,000 minted, and are being sold for Rs1500/-.

This non-circulating legal Tender (NCLT) coin is about the size and weight of the Rs 2 FAO coin issued in 1968, and has the same composition of the current Rs 2 coin. This is the first time that CBSL has used base metal on a high denomination coin and seems to reflect the devaluation of the rupee in Sri Lanka with the recent high inflation. The CBSL had previously issued a series of Silver crown size commemorative coins since 1957, including a Rs1000 coin in 1999 for the world Cup win in 1996. These coin have been of demand for their beauty and intrinsic value in the International Numismatic market. Base metal coins are not of much interest outside the small number of dedicated collectors of Ceylon and Lankan coins.

The Rupee was defined in 1540 by Mogul Emperor Sher Shar Suri as 11.3 grams of Silver, a bit less than a Tola, which has a current value of about Rs600/-. It is a pity that Lankan Rs 1000/- coin could not be issued even with a Tola of Silver. Till about a century ago a coin was expected to have a face value equal to the value of the metal, rather than being just a token like currency notes.

Both coins and coin packs can be purchased with a credit card, through the Central Bank Website at http://www.cbsl.gov.lk. Amusingly the prices in US$ are being quoted to 4 decimal places, in this website which CBSL claims has 80,000 visitors every day :-)

The author maintains an educational website on 2300 years of Lankan coins at http://coins.lakdiva.org/

"Murali Bowling, at ODI vs India in Dambulla - ball in flight to batsman"
Photographed by Kavan with Digital Camera from Grand Stand 3rd level