1877 - S. & Co. (Sabonadière & Co.)
Ambewatte Mills.

Issued by Sabonadière & Co., to whom the mills belonged in 1877. They have since, in the year 1884, during the coffee crisis, passed to Messrs. Cumberbatch & Co. The token is of copper and finely struck, and represents 18¾ cents. Prior to 1877 the firm of Sabonadère & Co. used paper chits instead of these tokens. Mr. F. R. Sabonadière, head of the firm, designed the token, and the striking was done at Birmingham.

Denomination18¾ cents
Diameter29.2 mm
Thickness1.2 mm
Weight5.63 gms
1877_ambewatte_mills_obverse 1877_ambewatte_mills_reverse
Lowsley #19 Pridmore #86

Obverse : S. & CO.(Sabonadière & Co.) between ornamental scrolls
within beaded circle inside raised rim.
Revverse : AMBEWATTE
within beaded circle inside raised rim.

See also webpage for the Maddema Mills token of same year and similer design issued by the same firm.

As the manager of the great Delta Coffee property of Baron Dalmer in the ``forties'' and ``fifties'', and subsequently an estate proprietor and head of a mercantile house, Sabonadière has been for a period of over half-a-century connected with the Coffee Industry. The collapse of coffee brought misfortune to him as to so many others, and amidst trying physical suffering, the closing years of his life were devoted to the task to enable him to say ``I owe no man anything'.'' Such was the remarks of the Ceylon Observer in 1891 when reporting the death at Colombo of F. R. Sabonadière who took over as many of the Agencies that could be saved from Dickson Tatham & Co. together with the lease of Ambawatte House and Mills, when this firm went into liquidation in 1866
Francis Richard Sabonadière founded the firm of Sabonadière & Co. in 1869. He was the son of a Pastor of the Reformed Church of France and arrived in Ceylon in 1839. He devoted his time to planting activities for over 17 years, until he was relieved by his brother William Augustus Sabonadière. As a practical planter he obtained the agency of a large number of estates, so much so, that in 1883, the firm headed the list of Estate Agencies, dealing with the produce of 117 estates. It may be mentioned that his brother W. A. Sabonadière was the author of a manual on coffee planting which was the accepted handbook in its day for the industry. This book was dedicated to F.R.S. and was published in 1886 in Guernsey, their family home. Sabonadière & Co. employed over 690 hands at each of their Mills at Ambawatte and Maddema situated at Slave Island, Colombo.
All went well with the firm till the gradual decay of the coffee industry through disease hemileia vastatrix. With the consequent failure of the Oriental Bank Corporation, the firm bad to suspend payment on 4 Sept. 1884. It was succeeded immediately by Messrs. Cumberbatch & Co.

* Coins and Tokens of Ceylon, Lieut. Col B. Lowsley, Num. Chron. Sr III Vol. XV, 1895.
* The Coins of British Commonwealth of Nations to the end of the reign of George VI 1952 Part 2 - Asian Territories by F. Pridmore Spink & Son Ltd., 1965. Tokens

The nicely toned VF grade token was scanned at 300 dpi and the images are displayed at 200 dpi. It was purchased in 2003 April from NY-USA dealer.