1747 - Dutch Ceilon

අක මිල Aka Mila - 1/8 Duit - Tin-Lead

A 1/8 Duit "bazaroekken" made of half lead and half Tin issued to relieve the shortage of duits. First Lankan coin with Sinhala letters අක මිල Aka Mila

Denomination1/8 Duit
Diameter12 mm
Thickness mm
Weight Legal1.462 gms
1747_aka_mila_obverse 1747_aka_mila_reverse
Schloten 1319; Mitchiner #Unlisted; Krause #23

Obverse : 17
with a center punch not holed through
Reverse : අක
in Sinhala

Codrington states:
By January of 1744 the unusual lack of duits had bought daily trade, in particular that in arecanuts to a standstill, and, as the Kandyans would not take any money but duits, it was decided to issue to the Cashier the small quantity then in the treasury to be paid to purchasers of areca, and also to publish a notice strictly forbidding the changing of copper coins for a premium, and recommending the people to bring all not required for daily use to the Treasury to be exchanged for rupees and pagodas. The Ceylon plakaat ordering all copper duits to be delivered to the Treasury and pagodas and "paper money" to be issued in their stead may be the notification or a reiteration there of, as its date is given in one place as 1745, and in another as January 30, 1746.
To relieve the situation the Indian Government by secret letter of September 24, 1745, sanctioned the minting of "bazaroekken," and in July, 1746, it was resolved to commence work. The alloy was to be half lead and half tin ; the coin was to be pierced with a hole for the purpose of stringing, was to weigh 338 or thereabouts to the pound (22.4 grains Troy), and was to be current at 64 to the Holland double stuiver or 192 to the schelling, that is, at one-eighth of a duit. The work seems to have progressed slowly, for in May, 1747, it was reported that one Marcellus files had all in readiness for casting these coins, which were put into circulation by plakaat in the same year; in 1756, however, it is stated that they were issued in 1746. As was to be expected, they were promptly forged, and in January, 1748, a reward of RD. 300 was offered for the detection of the offenders.

This coin is listed as extremely Rare in Scholten. I remember seeing one in the British Museum collection.

Text from
* Ceylon Coins and Currency By H. W. Codrington. Colombo 1924
  Chapter IX Dutch - II 1681-1768 (31). Page 119
* The Coins of the Dutch Overseas Territories- 1601-1948
  C. Scholten, 1953, Amsterdam: Jacques Schulman Page 156.

This extremely Rare coin is unlikely to be found for this coin collection.
The image is from Scholten, scanned and 600 dpi and displayedat 600 dpi.


741.46gNearly pierced in center from reverse
751.36gNo central pellet. Probably a contemporary forgery.

Sold at Taisei-Baldwin-Gillio Auction Catalogue #19. 1995 February 23. Singapore Dick Ford Collection for US$550 and for US$308 including the 10% buyers premium.