2001 - Sri Lanka - 1 Rupee
A commemorative one rupee cupro-nickel proof coin was issued by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on 2001 March 9th to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Sri Lanka Air Force.
Obverse : The Armorial Ensign of Sri Lanka Air Force in the centre with
the years 1951-2001 depicted on either side. The words
SRI LANKA AIR FORCE in Sinhala, Tamil and
English appear at the bottom, left and right sides along the
Reverse : The value ONE RUPEE in Sinhala, Tamil and English to the right in 3 lines. An artist's impression of three planes used by the Sri Lanka Air Force. Below is the Chipmunk, used in its early days, and above are a KFIR and a MIG 27 used currently. SRI LANKA in Sinhala, Tamil, and English at the top, left, and right sides along the periphery. The year of issue 2001 is at the bottom.
The Cupro-Nickel Proof has been minted to the old standard Rs. 1/- still in circulation. The artwork was done by Central Bank artist Mrs Padmanjalee Karunatilleke. Minted by the Royal Mint, Liantrisant, United Kingdom.
The Proof coin enclosed in a clear plastic circular coin capsule is embedded in black velvet inside a 7.7 cm square light blue rexine coverred metal box. The words "SRI LANKA AIR FORCE 50TH ANIVERSARY 2ND MARCH 2001" in 3 lines are printed in Gold on top and the CBSL Emblem in black on the white satin of the inside cover. A machine numbered white card Certificate of Authenticity printed in blue and black contains the specifications and description in Sinhala, Tamil and English is tucked into white satin band across lower-left corner of inside cover. The issue price (March 2001) in Sri Lanka Rs 600/- (US $7).
This limited commemorative coin was not issued for circulation at face value. The very large primium relative to face was the largest for any coin issue before then. It was only issued as a Cupro-Nickel Proof unlike the previous commemorative 1 rupee Army coin and Navy coin. which were also issued as Brillient Uncirculated Nickel clad Steel coins which are attracted by magnets.
Media Report 2001 03 09 CDN
I thank Shehan Patterson of HSBC for obtaining this commemorative coin for me from the Central Bank which makes no arrangements to sell to collectors abroad. It is a Pity CBSL translates their poor marketing to a lack of interest, which probably led to their decision to limit the Mintage.
I understand that minting just 2000 proof coins with box can cost almost the US$14,000 which is the premium at which they were sold out by CBSL within one month of issue. I was told that 1200 were given to AirForce and just 800 sold to Public.
This has clearly become a very rare coin to find for any Lanka collection. I was told that someone purchased over 250 of the coins sold to public and has artificially increased the rarity, and exploiting it by only selling one or two each year for a very high price. Two have been reported as having been found from circulation.