Two commemorative coins were issued by the Central Bank of Ceylon in April 1957 for the 2500th anniversary of the passing away of Buddha (543 B,C.) and the Birth of the Nation. A five rupee crown-sized silver coin was issued together with an one rupee cupro-nickel coin for circulation.
Obverse : An adaptation from the Anuradhapura Moonstone.
The numeral 2500 at the centre with Flower petals around in inner annulus,
next a procession of elephant, horse, lion and bull (2 sequnces). next a
procession of sixteen geese, with lotus flowers hanging from their beaks.
Reverse : A design based on the Jasmine flower surmounted by a Lotus flower. The value in Sinhala and the year of issue 1957 is superimposed at the center. The value FIVE RUPEES in English on left and Tamil on right and in Sinhala `Sri Lanka' at the apex and the anniversary `Buddha Jayanthi' at the bottom.
The traditional first king of Lanka is Vijaya is reckoned to have landed in Lanka in 543 BC on the same year of the passing away of the Buddha and defines the start of years measured in Buddhist Era (B.E).
These coins are popularly referred to as the Buddha Jayanthi coins. The Rupees Five coin is today accepted by many numismatists as one of the most beautiful and elegant "crown" size coins in the world.
700 sets of 4 Proof coins each (PS3) and 400 sets of 2 Proof coins each (PS2) were issued. The four proof coins are embedded (two Rs5/- coins on top and Rs1/- below) in dark blue velvet inside a dark blue 11.5cm square spring hinged box with the Emblem of the Central Bank of Ceylon printed in gold on top. The Emblem of the Royal Mint is printed in black on the white satin in the inside cover.
One of these 4 coin sets was gifted to each of the Cabinet Ministers with a slip of paper which said "With the complements of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank".
Mr Tuan Sally commeted that there was a reluctance of people to buy these sets priced at Rs17/- each.
258,000 of the original 500,000 mintage of the Rs 5/- coins was returned to the RoyalMint and melted by decision dated 23rd Nov 1962. So the number issued is given above is less than the number Minted. The Central bank had no-authority to issue them for more the face value of Rs 5/-; and the 0.84 troy ounces of pure silver in it was worth more than that since 1963. The next Silver Crown minted was Rs 500/- which in 1990 was issued at $12.50 and since 1998 has been Rs 1000/- when it was issued with premium at $18.75 which is four times the value of Silver.
The coins were scanned at 300dpi and the images are displayed at 150dpi. The uncirculated commemorative coin were obtained many years ago from the Central Bank of Ceylon. A proof 4-coin set was purchased from a dealer in Pittsburgh, USA in August 1998.