At the request of the Colombo Municipal Council a commemorative Rs 500/- sterling silver crown size frosted Proof NCLT coin was issued by Central Bank of Sri Lanka to mark its 150th Anniversary Celebrations on 2015 December 14th.
Obverse : In the center, official logo of 150th Anniversary with image of Colombo Town Hall with 1865 and 2015 above on left and right. Below in Sinhala, Tamil and English MARVEL OF COHESION and at bottom large numeric 150 and ANNIVERSARY. Along the periphery the legend COLOMBO MUNICIPAL COUNCIL in English, Sinhala, Tamil with two lotus to separate.
Reverse : The face value of the coin 500 in large numerals above FIVE HUNDRED RUPEES in Sinhala, Tamil and English. On the top SRI LANKA in Sinhala, and in Tamil and English to left and right.
The frosted proof coin has been struck with one ounce of sterling silver to the British crown coin size. Enclosed in a circular coin capsule it is embedded in red velvet inside a Red leatherette covered 6.5cm square spring hinged presentation box with white satin inside cover. A printed numbered Certificate of Authenticity contains the specifications and the text in English, Sinhala and Tamil.
It was advertised by CMC for sale to public for Rs 8110(US $56) each. Quarter page color advertisements appeared in the Ceylon Daily News, Dinamina(Sinhala) and Thirakaran(Tamil) on 2015 November 23rd.
Unlike previous commemorative coins which were also sold by CBSL, the complete mintage were to be to be issued to the CMC with none sold by CBSL.
Those who wished to obtain a coin were requested to make a reservation with the Colombo Municipality ID center(@ Town Hall,1st floor), by letter. Payment needs to be made to the Municipal Treasurer. The limited number of about 600 silver coins are to be made available on a first come first served basis. CMC recorded names, contact phone numbers and national IDs of those who purchased coins in a CR2 register with the serial number of coin and issued a CMC reciept.
The coin was presented to Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe by Arjuna Mahendra the Governor of the CBSL at CMC 150th anniversary event held at Colombo Municipal grounds on 2015 December 14th.
A colourful ceremony interupted by thunder storms, was held on December 14 at the municipal grounds where formers mayors and CMC workers who had completed 25 years of service were awarded financial appreciations. Family members of the former Colombo municipal councillors who later became presidents of the country including late Presidents S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and R. Premadasa and present Cabinet ministers who also served as councillors of the CMC would honored during the ceremony. 50 mayors from around the world have been invited for the event. The Colombo Business community was to bear 80% of the Rs 250 million cost of the CMC's 150th Anniversary celebrations. 250 silver coins were offered to former mayors who have been invited to attend the ceremony and the rest of the coins were sold to the public after December 22nd.
A double page advertisement and a five page supplement appeared in the Ceylon Daily News of December 14. Included was a quarter page article on this coin, which I found to my amazement, had been copied verbatim from the then version of this webpage, without copy editing and probably even reading it!!!
Read my article which was published as The other side of CMC's 150th anniversary silver coin in the Sunday Times of 2015 December 20th.
The coin was obtained from CMC on 2015 December 17th and scanned at 600 dpi and the images are displayed at 200 dpi.
The Daily Mirror on 2015 October 22nd (Page A6)reported the issue of the CMC 150th Anniversary coin for Rs 8000 maybe via CBSL. When I visited CMC on November 11th I was told it was to be advertised for sale Rs10,000 based on a decision by the Mayor. I advised them to get price approved by CBSL, and it was then advertised on November 23rd for Rs8110 as CMC was authorised by the Monetary Board of Sri Lanka, to sell coins only at actual cost. Not only could they not make a small profit, they probably did not cover cost of marketing by Newspaper advertisements (~Rs150K) or cover administrative cost of selling and maybe VAT.
Coins have rarely bee sold by the organizations. In 2009 Customs and in 2011 Ananda College sold most of the coins they ordered, but CBSL also sold few to public. In 2011 the Buddha Sasana Ministry which took stock of all but 250 of the Sambuddhatva Jayanti 2600 coin, they returned them to CBSL to settle outstanding cost of minting the coin.
The price at Rs8110 is very curious. I was told over phone by CMC treasure on November 26th that it was excluding 11% VAT which would make price Rs9000/-, same as the similar Pope coin issued at the beginning of year. A VAT number is mentioned in receipt, and this expected VAT now appears to have been included in the Rs8110, the price also mentioned in CBSL press release. CBSL kept 100 coins for their Museums and archives and issued only 900 to CMC. CBSL should have minted few hundred extra coins for this need, and to sell some directly to public as they have for previous issues.
Mine was the first sale and I had to wait patiently for 2 hours, while accountants tried to figure out which Account the money needed to be credited. Collectors who went on 22nd Dec to CMC did not find a smoother process. CMC was totally unorganized to sell the coins. One had to get a voucher at one location, get a recipt written in a second, pay at a third, and finally pick up the coin at a fourth. A process which took at least 45 mins even without a queue. They checked if you were on the registered list only at the end. The staff were in a very annoyed mood, because of the extra work. Threatening to go on leave. They are selling as many coins as requested, since they seemed to want to get rid of them as soon as possible.
A week later I heard that CMC have said they still have 350 coins left to sell. This means that they have only sold 300 even with few taking more than one coin. The CMC coin would have only been purchased by coin collectors as there is nothing appealing like the Pope Visit coin which clearly had demand both in outside local collector community and abroad. Even the Anagarika coin may have had outside demand and in any case as far as I know still available for sale from CBSL. There were only 200 PeoplesBank coins sold to public and that was clearly not enough. So maybe real core collector demand is now only 300 coins.
Why is this