1801 - 1816 - Ceylon Government

Copper Elephant Dumps

The first coinages struck for the island under British rule consisted of copper and silver, and minted locally.

In 1801 April, a large quantity of copper bars and some old cannon, was handed over to a Mr. Adriaan Pieter Blume to be coined into pieces of 4, 2 and 1 stivers (the denomination is shown on the coins as 12, 24 and 48 representing 1/12th, 1/24th and 1/48th of a Rix-dollar). The first contract between Mr. Blume and the Administration for this coinage is dated the 6th May, 1801, and the weight of the stiver was apparently established at 37 stivers to the Dutch pound (206.1 troy grains each stiver).


1801-1803
KM63 1/48 Rix Dollar 1 Stiver copper 1801 Heavy coin
KM63 1/48 Rix Dollar 1 Stiver copper 1802 Heavy coin
KM64 1/24 Rix Dollar 2 Stiver copper 1801 Heavy coin
KM64 1/24 Rix Dollar 2 Stiver copper 1802 Heavy coin
KM65 1/12 Rix Dollar 4 Stiver copper 1801 Heavy coins

On 1803, March 29th, a second contract provided for the actual weight by stipulating that pice (stiver) of the weight of 50 to the pound be coined. This was the English avoirdupois pound, thus giving the Stiver the weight of 140 troy grains a weight standard which continued for the locally minted issues until the year 1816.

There are two major and rare varieties in this series. The first with date 1802 has two lines under the number on the reverse. The second better known variety with date 1803 has the elephant facing right coin rather than left which may have been an intentional method adopted to distinguish the issues of two different contractors.

On 1805, February 9th, a third contract for copper coinage signed with Mr. Blume on continued to provide for a weight standard of 50 stivers to the pound avoirdupoi.

All of the coins dated 1801 are of heavy type although actual specimens usually fall short of the standard. On coins dated 1802 and 1803 both heavy and light weight pieces occur. The heavy coins were issued till March 1803 and the light issues of 1802 are probably due to the use of old dies after the weight reduction.


1803-1805
KM63 1/48 Rix Dollar 1 Stiver copper 1803 light coins
KM64 1/24 Rix Dollar 2 Stiver copper 1803 light coins
KM70 1/24 Rix Dollar 2 Stiver copper 1803 Right coin
KM64 1/24 Rix Dollar 2 Stiver copper 1805 light coins
KM65 1/12 Rix Dollar 4 Stiver copper 1803 light coins

The local copper coinage struck under seemingly ceased in 1805, until 1811, when the contract system was abandoned and a local mint was established under Government control.
On 1812, November 14th, the Ceylon Government mint was placed under the direction of a Mr. A. Bertolacci as mint master, and continued until apparently 1816, the last date recorded on the local copper dump coinage.


1811-1816
KM63 1/48 Rix Dollar 1 Stiver copper 1812 coins
KM64 1/24 Rix Dollar 2 Stiver copper 1813 coins
KM64 1/24 Rix Dollar 2 Stiver copper 1814 coins
KM64 1/24 Rix Dollar 2 Stiver copper 1815 coins
KM64 1/24 Rix Dollar 2 Stiver copper 1816 coins
KM65 1/12 Rix Dollar 4 Stiver copper 1812 coins

Text edited from
* The Coins of the British Commonwealth of Nations
F. Pridmore, London, Spink & Son Ltd., 1960.