Polonnaruwa Era Massa

Light weight copper REPLICA of common copper massa coins of three Monarchs of the Polonnaruwa Era made for sale at the recently opened CBSL Economic History Museum in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka.

MonarchQueen Lilavathi
Diameter20.1 mm
Thickness mm
Weight Replica2.23 gms
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MonarchKing SahasaMalla
Diameter19.4 mm
Thickness mm
Weight Replica2.71 gms
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MonarchDharmaAsoka Deva
Diameter19.4 mm
Thickness mm
Weight Replica1.96 gms
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Obverse : Traditional Lankan massa design of standing king.
The head consists of an irregular oblong, the right side being a vertical line, from which projects three horizontal stokes representing the nose, mouth and chin. The crown bulging outwards at the back. The two curved lines on either side of the legs slightly turned upwards at the end indicate a person wearing a 'dhoti', and standing on a lotus stalk with flower to the right. The forearm is bent sharply down; the hand grasps the hanging lamp. The right side elbow is curved down with the arm turned upwards holds a flower presumed to be a jasmine blossom. To the right are five dots or spheres. A rim of 40 to 43 beads.
Reverse : Traditional Lankan massa design of seated king.
Head and crown as on obverse. Arm is raised upwards and the hand holds a conch shell. On right Nagari legend with the name of the Monarch Sri ...

These three common massa coins are of the Late Polonnaruwa Era

The CBSL sales persons did not they had three types until some collectors pointed it out to them. I sorted through their entire replica stock and found there were only three types at that time. If anyone has picked up a different type please let me know. If CBSL will continue to make and sell these replica is uncertain,

The copper replica were significantly lighter than the standard weight of 4.4 grams. The edge was plain and the Die Axis was 180°

The replicas were made for sale at the CBSL Economic History Museum sold loose in a standard red velvet jewelry box. With sometimes a pasted sticker on the inside cover stating Replica of a 'Massa' coin used in Polonnaruwa / Dambadeniya Era. Prics Rs 150/- (US$1.15).

The replica does not have any identification mark on it to indicate it is a replica. It could fool novice, and I can just see them being sold as half massa coins :-). How can we now stop the sale of Tourist Replica Sold on the Street when CBSL has also started this enterprise with scant regard for the possible consequences. What is amusing is that a genuine Massa coins of SahasaMalla and Lilavathi can be purchased in bulk for under Rs100. DharmaAsoka Deve is slightly less common and could cost a little more.

It was also sold sealed within in a clear plastic key-tag, with wording * CENTRAL BANK OF SRI LANKA * above and Massa (Replica) Economic History Museum in two lines below along the periphery. Price Rs 100/- (US$0.77). This was also available in the same three types. Sales staff didn't know how many were made, but many were available when I visited a month after opening. However even without active use the gum sealing the coin inside the keytag gaveway within a month.

The replica coins were scanned at 600 dpi and displayed at 300 dpi. They were obtained from the new CBSL Economic History Museum in 2013 November.