1881 - George Steuart & CO, Ceylon
Wekande Mills, Colombo

This token were issued in 1881 for the firm of George Steuart & Co. merchants, bankers, estate and commission agents, was started in 1835.
Denomination19 cents
Diameter29.0 mm
Thickness mm
Weight7.94 gms
1881_wekende_mills_obverse 1881_wekende_mills_reverse
Lowsley #35 Pridmore #96 Mitchiner #2246

Obverse : Centered Commemorative date 1843 within 2 pairs of circles. GEORGE STEUART&CO.
along periphery within rope circle inside raised rim.
Reverse : Centered within a rope and plain circle: two women at work; one filling a sack inscribed GS&C WEKANDE
along periphery within rope circle inside raised rim. Wekande in Sinhala and Tamil on left and right respectively

The 1881 token designed by the manager, Mr Charles Hendry, were issued in 1881, after all the countermarked coins in use by the firm had been called in. The mills were in their most posperous days at a time when 1300 hands at Wekande Mills (Slave Island, Colombo) engaged in curing coffee.

This was probably the last Coffee token issued and the only token recorded that bear inscriptions in native scripts, although neither are correct. The Sinhala should read VAKANDE and the Tamil omits a letter.

The main business of the firm has been that of estate agency work. As their minted token indicates, the firm had Wekande Mills (Slave Island, Colombo) which employed over 1,000 hands engaged in curing coffee, cinchona, etc.

* 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
* Oriental Coins AD 600 - 1979 by Michael Mitchiner (#2246)

The token was scanned at 600dpi and the images are displayed at 200dpi.
the mint condition token with original luster was obtained from a collector in pittsburgh as it was better than the XF purchased in August 1998 on ebay.