3rd century BCE - Lanka
Ruhuna - `Punch Mark' G&H#442 Silver

These earliest known coins were small pieces of metal, generally of silver, punched with Mint marks. The usage of coins in Lanka is found in the Buddhist Literature which mentions types of coins issued in the 3rd century BCE.

Height15.3 mm
Width15.4 mm
Thickness1.7 mm
Weight3.03 gms
OBRW_G71_pmc_gh442_obverse OBRW_G71_pmc_gh442_reverse
OBRW G.71; GH #442
Height17.6 mm
Width18.7 mm
Thickness0.8 mm
Weight1.62 gms
OBRW_G72_pmc_gh442_obverse OBRW_G72_pmc_gh442_reverse
OBRW G.72; GH #442

Obverse : Sun (Authority of Magadhan Empire) (GHS #468);
Six arm symbol on Wheel : 2X Arrow - Taurine - Beetle (GHS #446);
Five leaf branch on five arch hill (partly visible) (GHS #349);(series IVd)
Bull facing right (GHS #58);
Elephant facing right (GHS #1);
Reverse : Two wheel type symbols in a indistinguishable field.

The lower coin G.72 with just less than half the standard 3.4 gram weight, appears to be cast as apperant from the soft punches. It may have been cast in Lanka based on Struck PMC, like coin G.71 above which has same GH identity and came from same coin hoard.

The Punch-marked coins in a wide variety of shapes, sizes (11-23 mm), thickness (1-3 mm) and weights (1.6-3.4 grams) have been found in Lanka. The obverse is usually covered with Five or Six punch marks, often overlapping. The reverse his has usually fewer punches, frequently smaller and less distinct, often just one or even none.

The identifiable silver Punched-marked coins from Tissamaharama in Ruhuna belong to the Magadha-Myurya karshapana series.
The best known of the Magadha Empire (BCE 542-413) is King Bimbisara (BCE 542-493) the Royal patron of the Buddha Siddhartha Guatama (BCE 563-483) in Pataliputra (Patna).
The best known of the Mauryan Empire (BCE 322-185) is Emperor Ashoka (BCE 273-232) who sent his son Mahinda to Lanka with the Buddhist philosophy he conveyed to King Devampiya Tissa (BCE 247-207) in Mihintale in BCE 247.

This punched-marked coin are cataloged with classification proposed by P. L. Gupta and T. R. Hardaker (1985) in Indian Silver Punched-marked Coins: Magadha-marura Karshapara Series, Nasik, as G&H #442, which is listed as an extremely common type.

Punch-marked coins from a single hoard of 28 Imperial Punched-marked and 4 Lakshmi plaques found in a Terracotta money box (I.1) found in Akurugodella are illustrated in the 1999 catalog Ruhuna. An Ancient Civilization Re-visited by Bopearachchi and Wickramasinhe (OBRW), G.59-G.86 Plates 9-11. These two coin are Plate Specimens G.71 and G72 in this book. Click here for longer discussion and links to other Plate Specimens from this book in this collection.

Text from
* Ceylon Coins and Currency By H. W. Codrington. Colombo 1924
  Page 16 Chapter III Ancient Coins - Edlings - Plate 1

The coin was scanned at 600dpi and is displayed at 400dpi. This coin ex: Raja Wickramasinghe, is from part of Lalith Raddella's collection I purchased in 2016 December.