Restrikes of Lankan Coins

Many Lankan Coins were restruck at Mints using older dies on official request.

For example the 1945 George Sixth one-cent coin was restruck in in the an Indian Mint in 1959 and in the London Royal Mint in 1961 and 1962. The 1945 5-cent coin was also similarly restruck even after a 1951 type 5-cent coin was issued in Proof.
I find it amazing that the Indian Government was Minting Coins for Ceylon with legend "George VI King and Emperor of India" till 1959 and the Royal Mint in London till 1962, a full 10-years into the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

The 1951 10-cents coin 25-cents coin and 50-cent coins were however restuck till 1962.
The 1951 Proof Set minted by Royal Mint was reminted in the Indian Mints in Proof-like and issued to collectors. The quantity is unknown, and it is not obvious if they can easily be identified from the original 1951 Proof issue.

The mintage figures I give on the Lakdiva website are from information published in the Annual report of Royal Mint, with few details resolved by unpublished minutes of Central Bank of Ceylon Board Meetings. I was able to look at an incomplete set at the Numismatic Library of the American History Museum of the Smithsonian in Wahsington DC. I need to reference the rest at ANS in NY which has a complete set.

The issue of restrikes has also created a lot of confusion in the mintage figures. The Royal Mint report does identify the year on the coins minted on order in some year. Sallay's notes from the CBC Board Meeting which is available to indicate that the first order on 1951 October was executed using the Currency Board dies from 1943 and 1944 dies. In addition to this unavoidable error there are obvious omissions and more expected differences. In some cases it is an obvious typo. But in other cases it seems to be totally different. Krause adopts Pridmore and Remick for more recent years.

Sallay's notes are from the Board meeting records of the CBC some of which may unfortunately have been destroyed in the Terrorist Bombing of CBC-HQ in 1996. When I asked for Mint details from CBSL they got some of the information for me from the Royal Mint.

Some figures from Sallay are also different from those given in Pridmore, Remick and adopted by Krause. These notes need clarification by cross checking with the source entries in the Royal Mint Annual reports. However Royal Mint didn't publish mint figures after 1976. The Harris values claim to have come from the Royal Mint Annual Report with clarifications from Graham Dyer of Royal Mint. Dyer is the only possible source to confirm and add to Sallay's notes. Until such time as Sallay's figures can be independently confirmed I have included the differences in small print on the web pages.

Is there is a real reason for this frozen year issues. Royal Mint Report for 1959 states that new Master tools for coinages for Ceylon 50c 25c and 10c were made to accord with sample pieces supplied. For the obverse of all denominations reduction-punces of the effigy were prepared from an existing intermediate model and the inscriptions were engraved by hand on the succeeding matrices. For the Reverse matrix was engraved by hand. The is a known die variety for the 1951 10c, 25c, and 50c coins.

Queen Elizabeth II portrait appears on Currency issued from 1952 to 1954. For some reason there seems to have been a reluctance to issue a set of coins in Independent Ceylon with Queen Elizabeth II portrait, which was only used for 2-cent coins minted in 1955 and 1957.

It was probably politics rather than male chauvinism. Coins were ordered only as needed. The two 2-cents was probably more in demand since it was the standard amount given to pan-handlers during those days, as I remember from my childhood. After the 1956 change of government the name Sri Lanka was used in Sinhala for the first time on the 2500th Buddha Jayanthi Commemorative Coin. Sinhala switched with the English text on all currency in 1956 and the Armorial Emblem of Ceylon replaced the Queen's Portrait.

So maybe after 1951 there was poor projection of need to order new coins until there was a real shortage in 1959. It was then too late to design new coins. Probably as a temporary measure the Central Bank of Ceylon ordered new coins with old-dates. It was only in 1963 when a new set of coins were issued. Interestingly those coins listed the name of the country in Sinhala as Lanka as it appears om the Armorial Emblem of Ceylon, the usage of which is traced to the ancient Indian epic the Ramayana.

Frozen year 1971 issues were also minted in the next few years before a complete set of coins with new Armorial Emblem of Sri Lanka were minted in 1975.

Ceylon Copper coins issued between 1870 and 1904 were restruck in Gold and Silver for rich collectors, and were viewed no different to Bullion.

Similarly the one-rupee cupro-nickel presidential 1978 JR-coin and 1992 RP-coin were restruck in gold and Silver at the request of the President of Sri Lanka at the time. These are very limited Presentation Off-metal Strikes ( POMS ) are not NCLT (Non-Circulating Legal Tender), since they are not Legal Tender and have never been made available to collectors.