1815 - Ceylon

Fanam - Token

Struck locally and declared current by a British Government notice dated 16 July 1814. The silver fanam tokens, 16 of which intrinsically worth a rix-dollar to pass current at 12 to the rix-dollar. Minting continued until September 1815.

DenominationOne Fanam
Diameter8.7 mm
Thickness mm
Weight Legal0.56 gms
Weight0.5 gms
1814_1fn_dot_obverse 1814_1fn_dot_reverse
Codrington #156
Diameter8.7 mm
Thickness mm
Weight Legal0.56 gms
Weight0.6 gms

The coin above has a clear dot at center of TOKEN side which does on appear on the higher grade specimen on the right. This is listed as a minor variety in the 3rd Edition of Krause.
1814_1fn_ag_obverse 1814_1fn_ag_reverse
KM#83 ; Mitchiner #2216

Obverse : A dot at the center and the legend FANAM within two line circles.
Reverse : A dot at the center and the legend TOKEN.
The image of token shown on the upper panel and that in Codrington has a dot within center circle on reverse. On the token on the lower panel images shown in Krause, Mitchiner this central dot is not seen. I have also seen other specimens of both types.

Jan Lingen explains the dot at center of some Ceylon coins ``When cutting the dies often a centre point is used for marking the circular legend and outer borders. Once the punches for the values are added the centre point usually disappears while on some other varieties the centre point is very clear.In my opinion all the coins were initially designed with the use of a centre point, but by filling in the design this point disappeared.

In 1814, the scarcity of silver and copper coins was causing the Government great concern. The Governor, after speaking of the inconveniences resulting from the scarcity stated,
"no better expedient has presented itself than that of following the measure lately adopted in the Mother Country of issuing tokens".
Since the tokens supplied a real want they remained in circulation. These tokens were receivable at the Treasury and at all Kachcheries. The introduction of the tokens also helped curb the export of coins and the return of private hoards of coins back into circulation.

In the past a coin was a "Token" if it was valued at more than the intrinsic worth of the metal in it. This coin at the time of issue had only 75% of it's weight in silver, and was therefore a Token. On the same basis all coins circulating today should also be called tokens.

Text from
Sri Lanka Currency Museum Circulars No 1 & 7
See Also
* Ceylon Coins and Currency By H. W. Codrington. Colombo 1924
  Page 156 Chapter XI British - Coins struk in Ceylon - Plate 156.

The coins were scanned at 600dpi and the images are displayed at 600dpi.
This coin is rare and difficult to find. It is often not even listed in coin catalogs, which assume it is a Token. The image of the upper coin is used in the 3rd Edition of the Krause 19th century Volume, replacing the previous image. It also noted the two types illustrated above as known varieties.

The lower almost uncirculated coin was purchased in 1998 May at a coin show in Cleveland, USA, and the upper XF grade coin in 2000 October at the PAN coin show in Pittsburgh, USA, about 30 years after I seen one at NoorHameem's one of the oldest coin dealeships in Colombo, Lanka, and couldn't afford to buy it.