Ruhuna - `Punch Mark' silver
These earliest known coins were small pieces of metal, generally of silver, punched with a common Royal mark. The usage of coins in Lanka is found in the Buddhist Literature which mentions types of coins issued in the 3rd century BC.
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 (B.C. 542-413) is King Bimbisara (B.C. 542-493) the Royal patron of the Buddha Siddhartha Guatama (B.C. 563-483) in Pataliputra (Patna).
The best known of the Mauryan Empire (B.C. 322-185) is Emperor Ashoka (B.C. 273-232) who sent his son Mahinda to Lanka with the Buddhist philosophy he conveyed to King Devampiya Tissa (B.C. 247-207) in Mihintale in B.C. 247.
This punched-marked coin was Identified by Anne van't Haaff according to the classification proposed by P. L. Gupta and T. R. Hardaker (1985) in Indian Silver Punched-marked Coins: Magadha-marura Karshapara Series, Nasik, as GH # 442, which is listed as an extremely common type.
Punch-marked coins from the 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.
A Punch-Mark coin of this type illustrated as G.71 in OBRW
* 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
punched-Mark coin which was found in Lanka were obtained in 2000
August from Rajah Wickremasinhe author and collector in Lanka