3rd century BC - Lanka

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.

SPECIFICATIONS
AlloySilver
TypeStruck
Height19 mm
Width16 mm
Thickness1.4 mm
Weight3.0 gms
ShapeRectangle
RW_punch_02_obverse RW_punch_02_reverse
GH #442

Obverse : Sun (Authority of Magadhan Empire) - Six arrow heads on Wheel - Five leaf branch on five arch hill (partly visible) - Bull - Elephant
Reverse : Two wheel type symbols in a indistinguishable field.

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

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 punched-Mark coin which was found in Lanka were obtained in 2000 August from Rajah Wickremasinhe author and collector in Lanka