Gampola larin hoard

Wood, Howland, 1877-1938
Numismatic Notes and Monographs
American Numismatic Society
New York




Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program.


Table of Contents




By Howland Wood


During the autumn of 1925, in the neighborhood of Gampola, a village in the central part of Ceylon an earthen pot (see frontispiece) containing a large number of coins was dug up in a garden. The bulk of the find consisted of bent pieces of silver wire known as larins. The exact number of pieces in the find is not known, but the greater part was purchased from four intermediaries by Dr. Casey A. Wood of Pasadena, California, who was visiting the island at the time. It is known that a few pieces with the same characteristic patination were being hawked about the bazaars of Kandy at about the same time; a number of these were obtained by Dr. Wood both then and subsequently. The presumption is that the find as now brought together (819 larins and 114 coins) forms a very considerable part of the whole. The find contained probably the largest number of larins ever found at one time, certainly the largest number ever found in Ceylon.

In this assemblage are about as many larins as had heretofore been known. No large numbers are in any one collection; probably many museums have from ten to fifty specimens of all kinds gathered from various localities in Arabia, Persia, India and Ceylon, but the provenence for the most part is un- certain. This find offers the first opportunity for studying a large number. Little has been published on larins as a whole, and because of lack of comparative study, few if any worthwhile conclusions have consequently been made. Probably one of the reasons for this neglect is the fragmentary nature of the inscription found on any one specimen. The width of the larin is about one-eighth of an inch; it very rarely exceeds a quarter of an inch, and the dies used in stamping were for the most part circular coin dies varying from five-eighths to over an inch in diameter. Heretofore most of the inscribed pieces have shown parts of Arabic or Persian words, or religious formulas common to Mohammedan coins, or have been fragments of designs without any special meaning or purpose.

Shortly after Dr. Wood acquired the find, it was submitted to John Still, Esq. formerly Assistant to the Archaeological Commissioner of the Government of Ceylon who not only was instrumental in assembling the hoard but who also made a preliminary report (unpublished) to Dr. Wood. To Mr. Still belongs the credit of having discovered certain of the pieces to have inscriptions sunk, rather than in relief, and reversed. He also discovered that these pieces were impressed from coins acting as dies, chiefly from coins of mediaeval Sinhalese rulers, but also from Dutch coins.

Years ago W. B. Dickinson advanced the idea that certain larins had on them letters resembling Devanagari and suggested that they might have been struck by some Kandyan king. Also in an early journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, the assignment of larins to Prakrama Bahu, 1153–1186, was made. 1 I find no further mention of such larins after this date, in fact most pieces chronicled since have partial Persian inscriptions.

The town of Gampola where the find was made is a small place about twelve miles south-southwest from Kandy on the banks of the Mahaweliganga about fifteen hundred feet above sea level in the central highlands of Ceylon. Under the name of Ganga-siripura, the Royal City of the River, it was the capital for a brief period beginning 1344 A. D.

The find as assembled by Dr. Wood numbered 933 pieces, 819 of which were silver larins; these were for the most part of a dull dirty greyish color, some, however, had their natural silver brightness. Many had spots of hard green corrosion and at least fifty appeared to be copper, but this was a superficial coating and on applying dilute acid the pieces turned out to be of as good consistency as the rest. Three (all detected up to date) were contemporary forgeries, made of copper wire silvered. These were easily detected as the corrosion had eaten through the silver covering exposing the copper core.

Number 121 in the catalogue is shown on the next page. The others are Nos. 2 and 154. An analysis of one of the pieces was made and the conclusions reached were that the original small ingot of copper for drawing the wire was dipped in a molten bath of pure silver solder or else a coating of silver solder was applied in the cold and then melted on. The composite ingot was then drawn down to requisite size. 2

All of the larins appear to be of good silver, with the exception of four, Nos. 85, 86 and 155. An analysis of the latter piece showed about 46% copper.


Four specimens from the find were analyzed, three of Sinhalese or Kandyan origin and one of Persian mintage. The numbers refer to the catalogue.

No. Silver Copper Gold Lead
8 94.90% 4.85 Present Negligible
43 90.60% 7.70 Present Present
54 94.25% 4.50 Present Present
304 96.70% 3.20 Present Negligible

From the above we see that the three Kandyan larins although of good silver content from a coinage standpoint are not of quite as good silver as the one made in Persia, No. 304. Several of the early travellers state that the best silver is in the Persian and Hormuz larins. To quote one writer, Pyrard, 3 “The best silver in the Indies is that which comes from Persia by way of Ormus in (the form of) a long coin, called larins, which the smiths of India prize highly, and use to their great advantage, being a very pure, clean, soft and ductile silver, and good for working.”

Both Mr. W. H. Biddell of Kandy, Ceylon and myself have found that in opening up larins in order to examine the inscription those of Sinhalese manufacture sometimes break while the Persian ones bend easily. As the variation of the silver content of those examined would not make this difference the cause is probably due to the lack of annealing of the wire.

The coins other than larins found in the hoard fall into two divisions—copper coins 4 of the Sinhalese rulers of the XIII century, 43 in number and representing six rulers, and Portuguese silver coins of the XVII century.

These copper coins are very common and are found in large quantities in Ceylon for most of the rulers. They have a standing figure on one side and a seated figure and inscription on the other. See Plate II. The coins themselves were heavily encrusted with a bright green patination.

As noted elsewhere, many of the larins in the find were stamped with coins of this class used as dies. As a rule it would seem unusual for coins made at one time to be mixed with coins made four centuries later, especially as the earlier coins appear to be unworn. These copper pieces, however, have been dug up for centuries in great numbers and today are constantly being unearthed, often by the potful, even in the remote villages in the jungle. Codrington mentions that they were current in the early seventeenth century. 5 Therefore a representation of these in the Gampola find would not be unusual, and the presence of these has shown that the burier was in all probability a larin maker, silversmith and small banker and these coins were a part of his stock of dies. It is also possible that he was the manufacturer of other pieces but struck from dies made for the purpose, such as Nos. 43 and 45, as numbers of these were present and none showed signs of wear.

The Portuguese colonial coins in the find numbering 70 pieces are most important. Some had a glossy black oxidization and some showed patches of a red rusty corosion, and like the larins nearly all were flecked with green patination. These coins are all scarce and many are rare. All of the coins are listed at the end of the catalogue. Several of the coins were cast counterfeits of the time, not quickly detected as the dies of the struck pieces were for the most part rough and crude and consequently gave to the coins themselves somewhat the appearance of being cast. The weights, however, quickly indicated their spuriousness.

The composition of this hoard is interesting because the larins and Indo-Portuguese pieces are found together. This confirms the remarks of two Europeans who were in the interior at approximately the time of its burial. Codrington 6 says that at the time of Sebald de Wirt’s expedition (circa 1602), larins and fanams of gold and silver were current and that these coins remained in circulation in the Kandyan Kingdom side by side with Portuguese money for very many years after the Dutch occupation of the coast. He quotes Knox, who was a prisoner there from 1659–1679: “Portuguese double and single tangas of the Saint type, the tangam massa and the podi (little) tangama, larins made by private parties, five of which went to the piece of eight; and silver fanams, struck by the king, of which seventy five made a piece of Eight, or a Spanish dollar.” No fanams appear to have been in the find.

Mr. Biddell has informed me that several other finds of Indo-Portuguese coins in conjunction with larins have occurred in recent years, though none approximated this hoard in size.

Little can be gleaned from the larins themselves as to the date of the burial of the hoard, but we get clues from the Portuguese coins, especially from the two Dutch counterstamps found on a number of them. The earliest dated coin is 1631 and the last dated piece is 1655.

Although the Dutch appeared off the coast of Ceylon in 1602, they did not obtain a hold there until they became a strong sea power towards the close of their wars with Spain. They secured Galle in the southern part in 1640, Colombo in 1656 and in 1658 when Jaffna was occupied, the last Portuguese stronghold on the Island fell. The first countermark used by the Dutch was at Galle in 1655, 7 and bears the letters GAL in monogram. The V. O. C. in monogram, either plain or surmounted by a C (Colombo) or an I (Jaffna) was used after July 1661 when an order was given that no Portuguese coins, such as peruse, reals, etc. are to be accepted without having been stamped with the Company’s mark. 8 Both of these stamps appear on coins in the hoard. As 20 of the 70 coins bear the mark of 1655, and but 8 of the coins bear the 1661 mark which is supposed to be the commoner stamp, this pot of coins was probably buried within a few years after this latter date, or about 1665; in other words before many of the coins bearing the V. O. C. stamp had reached the interior.

The absence of Dutch coins in the find is easily accounted for as the Dutch had hardly penetrated into the Kandyan country at the time these pieces were buried. In fact they did not obtain actual possession of this region until the eighteenth century. The few larins in the find impressed with the devices of the Dutch coins must have been made in the earlier days of their occupancy and could easily have come up from the coast in the course of trade, as the silver larin about 1661–2, according to Wouter Schouten, was the principal coin and was worth 10 stuivers. 9 This is confirmed by the preponderance of larins in the hoard.

The name Larin or Lari, said to have been derived from Lar in Persia where they were first struck, is the general appellation given to these pieces. Gasparo Balbi, 10 about 1583, was probably the first to mention the origin of the larin in the following statement.

“The first who began to strike them was the King of Lar, who formerly was a powerful king in Persia, but is now a small one.”

Pietro della Valle (1614–1626), Sir John Chardin (1664–1674), and other writers mention that larins were made there. 11 Chardin visited Persia three times between 1664 and 1674. The Portuguese referred to them as tanga larins or tanga de prato 12 and oftentimes simply as tanga. The round coins known as tangas they generally termed tanga redonda.

Hook money or fish-hook money is the common English name given on account of the shape especially to the form used in Ceylon. Koku Ridi 13 (sometimes Cocu Reedi 14 ) meaning hook silver, was the native name in Ceylon. Dudu Massa was another name as was Mahu anguta, or horned massa.

The beginning of the larin, like so many other beginnings is obscure. The Portuguese on arriving at ports in the Persian Gulf found them a full-fledged trading coin used extensively at ports there, and either found them already introduced by Mohammedan traders along the Persian littoral, down the west coast of India, in the Maldive Islands and Ceylon, or introduced them in these islands. At any rate they much extended their use. The traffic in these did not seem to be west of the Persian Gulf and their extensive use stopped at Ceylon. I have been unable to find references of their being current on the east coast of India or in the countries beyond, although Gabriel Ferrand 15 quoting the Livros dos Pesos of Antonio Nunes (1554) states that at Satgaon in Bengal the larin equalled 48 pone.

The English merchant William Barret in 1584 in his table of moneys, weights and measures, 16 under the head of Malacca mentions Balsara (el Basra) or Ormuz larins as being worth nine to two crusados.

The earliest account that may refer to larins is by Gaspar Correia in Lendas da India under date of 1507 who refers to “Xerafins e tangas de pratas 17 at Hormuz. Another early reference 18 is in the Book of Duarte Barbosa, c. 1518, which says, “In silver there is (in Ormuz) a long coin like a bean, also with Moorish letters on both sides, which is worth three vintems, more or less, which they call tangas, and this silver is very fine.

Da Cunha 19 gives a long account of the larin and quotes Feiner in a document dated 1525, as follows:— “Larym, palavra que, só de per si, significa a tanga larym ou de Larah,” also he divides the coin into two kinds, old and new.

Barret 20 (1584), in his account of money and measures says:

“The sayd larine is a strange piece of money, not being round as all other current money in Christianitie, but is a small rod of silver of the greatnesse of the pen of a goose feather, wherewith we use to write, and in length about one eighth part thereof, which is wrested so that the two ends meet at the just halfe part and in the head thereof is a stamp Turkesco and these be the best current money in all the Indias, and 6 of these larines make a duckat, which is 40 medines or eight saies of Aleppo.”

Another early account of the larin is given by Pietro della Valle (1614–1626) 21 as follows. “The lari is a silver coin that I will exhibit in Italy, most eccentric in form for it is nothing but a little rod of silver of a fixed weight and bent double unequally. On the bend it is marked with some small stamp or other. It is called Lari because it is the peculiar money of the Princes of Lar invented by them when they were separated from the Kingdom of Persia.”

Tavernier, who made several trips to Persia between 1638 and 1663, in his Six Voyages Pt. II, under “Moneys of Arabia,” has this to say:

“This Money (referring to his illustration) is called Larin and signifies the same with our Crowns. The five pieces are as much in value as one of our Crowns and the Ten-Half-Larins as much. Only the Five Larins want in weight Eight Sous of our Crown. This is that which the Emirs or Princes of Arabia take for the coining of their Money; and the profit which they make by the Merchants that travel through the Desert either into Persia or the Indies. For them the Emirs come to the caravans to take their Tolls and to change their Crowns, Reals or Ducats, of Gold for these Larins. . . . If these five Larins did but weigh as much as the Crown or Real of Spain, the Merchants would never be much troubled. But when they come to Persia or the Indies, they must carry their Money to the Mint, as I have said in another place, and lose about eight Sous in a Crown which amounts to 14 per cent. As for what remains the Larins are one of the ancient Coins of Asia and though at this day they are only current in Arabia and at Balsara (el Basra), nevertheless from Bragdatt (Baghdad) to the island of Ceylon, they traffick altogether with the Larin and all along the Persian Gulf, where they take 80 larins for one Toman which is fifty Abassi’s.” 22

From the above it would seem that at one time Larins were extensively used in the overland routes and this would explain why some of the Persian larins were stamped at interior mints, such as Tabriz, Sheeraz, Kazvin, Kashan, Ganja, etc. He also mentions a half-larin which no one else mentions, nor have I ever seen one. His illustration shows only a larin of one prong, which is probably a regular larin divided.

This loss in exchange seems to have disturbed the French travellers as de Bazinghen in his Dictionary 23 quoting from an earlier source, Jacques Savary’s Dictionary of Commerce, says it is worth 12 French sols, though worth intrinsically 11 sols 3 deniers. This difference is because the Arab princes by whom the new larins were made hold back 9 deniers per larin for seigniorage, also the old larins are more esteemed than the new.

Under the heading of “Shroffage” Codrington 24 quotes as follows:

“Linschoten who was in Goa between 1583 and 1588 says ‘They buy the reals of eight when the ships come from Portugal and get these at 12 per cent; these they keep till the month of April which is the time the ships sail for China, when the reals of eight are sought after to send thither, and are worth commonly 25 and 30 per cent; and they take in their place a money which is at this time brought from Ormus, named Larijns, which come out of Persia, and which they get at said 10 per cent, and keep again till the ships come from Portugal in September; these they pay out at 25 and 30 per cent, in exchange for reals of eight, as has been said. One must have these Larijns to buy pepper and other wares at Cochim since it is there the best and most profitable money; . . . .”

Sir John Chardin, who as already stated thrice visited Persia between 1664–74, has this to say. 25

“There is a Coin all along the Persian Gulf, called Larins, which is the most common in Trade. Larins, signifies Coin of Lar , which is the Capital of Caramania Deserta; which was a distinct Kingdom before Abas the Great, King of Persia , who Conquer’d it, join’d it to his Kingdom about sixscore Years ago. That piece of Money is of good Silver, and is worth two Chayez and half, which comes to eleven Pence and three Deniers of French Money: The mark of it is very extraordinary, being a round wire of the bigness of a Quill folded in two, and a inch long, with a small Mark on it, which is the Prince’s Stamp. None having been Coined since the Conquest, is the reson they are now very scarce. They do nevertheless reckon by that Coin in all that Country, and in the Indies, along the Gulf of Gambay, and in the Neighbouring Parts. They say, that formerly it was current throughout all the East.”

Chardin does not seem to be as accurate as most of the other early writers. If Abbas I conquered Lar it must have been a reconquest. Zambaur 26 states that Ibrahim the last King of Lar was deposed by Tahmasp I the Safavid in 973 A. H. (1565 A. D.). Chardin also says that this money has been no longer struck since the conquest of the Kingdom. This statement is at variance with that of Sir Thomas Herbert 27 who was at Lar in 1627 and one would judge from his account that he actually saw larins made. He says:

“Near this Buzzer the Laryees are coyned; a famous sort of money being pure silver but shaped like a date stone, the King’s name or some sentence out of the Alcoran being stamp’d upon it; in our Money it values ten pence.”

Pedro Teixeira has this to say: 28

“There is also the City of Lar or Lara as we Portuguese pronounce it, whence are called the laris, a money of the finest silver, very well-known and current throughout the East.”

No specimens of the early larins of Lar bearing a sufficiently decisive legend have as yet been found. Codrington 29 tentatively assigns some of the date-stone shaped ones, which he has found in Ceylon to Lar. See plate IX, a–e under Indian larins.

Another mint was at El Basra where the Turkish sultans evidently made larins for the trade. They show fragmentary inscriptions from coin dies. They are extremely scarce. Two are listed in the Colombo Museum, 30 and several have been found in Ceylon bearing the names Sultans Ahmad I, Ibrahim and Suleyman, all of the seventeenth century. Pedro Teixeira 31 says the chief silver coins of El Basra (1604) were larins.

The production of larins at Hormuz must have been very extensive. It was subjected by Albuquerque in 1507 and was a most important half-way and transfer station under the Portuguese. It was taken by an allied English and Persian force in 1622. The making and exportation of larins probably stopped after this capture. They are today rare, and there was but one in the find. H. W. Codrington 32 describes a number struck during the Portu- guese period bearing the names of Turan Shah (1543-c.1563) and Farrukh Shah (1564.-c.1601). The Hormuz larins were held in high esteem. Pyrard 33 in the early seventeenth century writes, “It is a kind of money that was current throughout the Indies, and it was made in many places, but the best was forged at Ormaz.”

Another larin of a slightly different type bearing a strong resemblance to a cotterpin (Plate IX q and r) was made in El Hasa in Arabia on the western side of the Persian gulf. These are often called Nedj larins and if not in use today have circulated up to recent times. They have been made for several centuries and are rather common, but probably have not been made in recent years as most specimens observed are very much worn. They are of extremely base metal, and are a trifle smaller than other larins, and were apparently stamped with coin dies. The inscription, so far as I know, has not been read, nor have I ever seen a coin struck from these dies. The best account is by W. G. Palgrave 34 who says:

“But in Hasa we find an entirely original and a perfectly local coinage, namely, the ‘Toweelah’ or ‘long bit,’ as it is very suitably called, from its form. It consists of a small copper bar, much like a stout tack, about an inch in length, and split at one end, with the fissure slightly opened; so that it looks altogether like a compressed Y. Along one of its flattened sides run a few Cufic characters, indicating the name of the Carmathian prince under whose auspices this choice production of Arab numismatics was achieved; nothing else is to be read on the Toweelah, neither date nor motto. Three of these are worth a ‘gorsh’ and accordingly every copper nail separately may equal about three farthings. This currency is available in Hasa its native place, alone, and hence the proverb, ‘Zey’ Toweelat-il-Hasa,’ ‘like a Hasa long bit,’ is often applied to a person who can make himself valuable at home. Silver and gold Toweelahs were issued in the days of Carmathian glory; but they have been long since melted down.”

The Persian larins, or rather those struck by or in the names of the Safavid Shahs, are not rare. Few details have come down to us about these. They appear to have been struck at several of the regular mints stamped by regular coin dies and as stated above were probably for the overland trade, for otherwise why should we get such a far northern mint as Ganja (see No. 301). Olearius 35 states that Ismael I (1502–24) the first Safavid Shah had coined larins. They were probably made until the end of the seventeenth century. Another class of larins, of undoubtedly Persian make were struck from long narrow dies made for the purpose (see 306–308). These may or may not have been made in regular mints.

Larins were in extensive use along the coast of Western India and were probably made at several places. A number of finds have been reported, several around Goa, and in 1846 a hoard of 397 was dug up at Sangameswara on the coast of Canara, fifty of which went to London and were in the East India Company’s collection. 36

I can find no direct evidence that they were made at Goa or Diu, though they were extensively used there, as we find frequent references of their ratings and exchange values. For many years they were current up and down the west coast at 60 reis.

Master Caesar Frederike, 37 who was in the East from 1563–81, in his description of Cambay in Gujerat gives the following interesting account:—

“The time that I was there, the city was in great calamity and scarsenesse, so that I have seen the men of the Country that were Gentiles take their children, their sonnes and their daughters, and have desired the Portugalls to buy them, and I have seene them sold for eight or ten larines a piece, which may be of our money X S, or xiii s. iiii d.”

Pyrard, 38 in speaking about the money of Goa says that the larins come from Persia and Ormuz, and elsewhere says that much of the silver money that is called larins comes from Ormuz and is the finest silver in the world.

In the Kingdom of Bijapur, which extended around Goa larins were extensively made, and many have come down to us. (See plate IX, f, g, h.) They have the inscription in Arabic Ali Adil Shah and sometimes the date showing they were made about the middle of the seventeenth century during the rule of Ali II. Some were undoubtedly much earlier. For a fuller account of these consult G. P. Taylor 39 and H. Cousens. 40

An interesting note concerning the Bijapur larins is given by Allan as follows: 41

“Captain Jourdain in his Journal (c. 1610–1619) tells us in his account of Dabul in Bijapur that ‘the factour of the Portugualls there pays the Governor of Dabul two thousand larins per year for the monopoly of selling wine.’ ”

Larins must have been made at Dabul, for Prof. Wilson 42 states that “in 1711 the Government of Satara gave notice to the authorities of Kharaputtan of a grant of land valued at 200 Dabal larins.”

To quote another instance of the use of larins along the west coast, Major R. P. Jackson 43 says:

“Larins were brought to the coast of Kerala i. e. West coast of South India from Cape Comorin to Goa, in the course of trade.”

Southwest of India and about 400 miles west of Ceylon lie the Maldive Islands. Numismatically these islands are known as the chief source of supply of the cowrie, the lowest valued currency in early times of China, India and Africa. Together with the cowrie the larin was at one time the currency of the Maldives.

The larin has now nearly disappeared, and until recently no specimen had been actually identified. 44 Mr. Bell lately brought back several from the Maldives. These have been read by Mr. Bell and Mr. Codrington and bore the names of two of the seventeenth century Sultans:—Mohammad Imaduddin I (1620–48), and Iskandar Ibrahim I (1648–87). One of Iskandar’s larins belonging to the American Numismatic Society is shown on Plate IX, k, under Persian larins. Iskandar is credited with having struck the first round coin, which is also called a lari. Today the word lari remains included in the full names of all the denominations. The native name for the larin is digu rihi lari (long silver lari).

The best and earliest account of the Maldive larins is given by Pyrard de Laval, 45 a Frenchman who was a captive there for five years between 1602 and 1607. It is as follows:

“The coin of the realm is silver only and of one sort. These are pieces of silver of about eight sous of our money as long as the finger and doubled down. The King has them struck in the island and stamped with his name in Arabic characters. Though foreign coins are current, they are only taken at their just weight and value, and must be in silver or gold; all others are rejected. The King coins larins only and no pieces of less value; for the use of trade they cut the silver and pay by weight for the value of the goods bought. They take no silver without weighing and proving it, and every one has weights for this purpose. Then in place of copper and small change they use the shells of which I shall presently speak. 12,000 are worth a larin . .”

We have shown the course of the larin from the region of the Persian Gulf and now come to its terminus the Island of Ceylon. It apparently went no further eastward, and judging from the number of bent ones versus straight ones seen today, they remained current in Ceylon later than elsewhere, barring the base toweelahs of El Hasa. Many of those from the continent found their last resting place there. According to Dr. John Davy 46 the larin continued in circulation in the Kandyan provinces for some years after the British accession in 1815.

Codrington 47 states that “The first record of the use of larins in Ceylon was in 1517 when the then King of Kotte is credited with the story of a homicide which occurred in his youth at Sitawaka, and in which the blood fine was 60 larins.” As the Portuguese first landed in Ceylon in 1506, or about ten years before this account but after the event mentioned, this would tend to show that larins were in use there before the advent of the Portuguese. Dickinson 48 quoting Ribeyro’s History of Ceylon says that the Portuguese introduced the use of pagodas, pardáos, and larins. There is no doubt that they vastly extended their use.

In the inventory of the treasure of the King of Kotte plundered by the Portuguese in 1551 larins are mentioned. 49 Sometime before 1585 the Portuguese Captain of Colombo struck larins, again referring to Codrington 50 who quotes from a letter to the Viceroy as follows: “and because there was no money in the fortress (sc. Kotte), he called the Captain of the inhames, who was a friend of all the soldiers, and gave him a silver sword of his, and a dagger, and sword hilts, that he might melt it into larins, there being there craftsmen of that calling.”

Vast quantities must have been in use as the Portuguese about 1596 captured five elephants laden with larins and two with Venetian sequins said to have numbered 100,000. 51 In 1621 a most interesting larin was struck by a Dane, Erich Grubbe in the east of Ceylon. Again quoting from Codrington 52 who says “Ove Giedde, the commander of the ill-fated Danish Expedition to Ceylon, thus refers to the coin in his journal: ‘On the 19th April Heinrich Häsz .... presented me with one of the larins, which Erich Grubbe had coined in Ceilon. Upon it was in bold letters Don Erich Grubbe .’” Unfortunately no piece bearing this inscription was in the hoard. This is not strange as this larin was struck about forty years before on the east coast and probably in a limited quantity. The piece described under No. 41 bearing crude Roman letters is possibly a Kandyan copy of one of these pieces as we find in the jumble of letters EGBV.

Capt. Robert Knox who was a captive in the Kandyan Kingdom between 1659 and 1679 and who was allowed much liberty in wandering about, has left us a most interesting account of the coins in use in the region. He says: 53

“Of Money they have but three sorts that passeth for Coin in the King’s Dominions. The one was Coined by the Portugals, the King’s Arms on one side, and the Image of a Frier on the other, and by the Chingulayes called Tangom massa. The value of one is nine pence English, Poddi Tangom, or the small Tangom is half as much. There is another sort which all People by the King’s Permission may and do make. The shape is like a fish-hook, they stamp what mark or impression on it they please. The Silver is purely fine beyond pieces of Eight. For if they suspect the goodness of the Plate it is the Custom to burn the Money in the fire red hot, and so put it in water; and if it be not then purely white, it is not Currant Money. The third sort of Money is the King’s proper Coin, for none upon pain of Death may coin it. It is called a Ponnam, (probably the fanam). It is as small as a Spangle; Seventy five make a piece of Eight, or Spanish Dollar. But all sorts of Money is here very scarce; And they frequently buy and sell by exchanging Commodities.”

We have already mentioned that this hoard contained the Portuguese coins and the larins, and that it was found in the region in which Knox was held captive. For us, the important part (of the testimony of Knox) is the statement regarding the private manufacture of the larins and the placing of arbitrary marks on them. This accounts for the several hundred different devices found, few of which have any indications whatever of governmental stamps. In fact no mention is made anywhere that the Sinhalese kings ever issued these coins, and outside of those struck by the Captain of Colombo, who found competent men to make them, the Portuguese and the Dutch did not make any officially. In other words those in use on the island were either brought over in the course of trade, or were made by local private artisans.

One hundred years later Fra Paolino da S. Bartolomeo (1776–1789) says: 54

“The King of Candy has introduced in the island of Ceylon a kind of money, which consists of a piece of silver wire rolled up like a wax taper. When a person wishes to make a purchase he cuts off as much of this silver as is equal to the price of the article.”

From the above, one might draw the conclusion that the King authorized the making of them, but he in all probability introduced their use only.

Thunberg, 55 who was in Ceylon about the same time gives a detailed account of the coins in use there, and states he was informed that the “Emperor of Candi” struck larins of various sizes and values, and that he bought one for twelve Dutch stuivers and another of a smaller size for nine, both of fine silver. He probably was in error about the royal striking of larins. It is interesting to note, however, what he says about their being made in various sizes and values. None in the find appear to be other than whole larins, unless Nos. 85, 86 and 155 might be three-quarters larins. I personally have never seen or heard of any fractions, except for one in the American Numismatic Society’s cabinet, which is without stamps and of small gauge wire and weighs 56½ grains. A half-larin should weigh 36 to 37 grains; and a three-quarter one 54–55½ grains. It is very doubtful if any such divisions were deliberately made. Mr. Biddell doubts it as well. He also informs me that he saw a small hoard of larins all apparently of light weight (those he weighed ran 54, 58, 60¼, 67¼ grains), which were found in a remote jungle village in Nuwarakalāwiya. He considered them either as a local effort, or as having been taken there by traders from more civilized regions where they had been rejected. In general appearance any of these could be taken for full larins. One would also conclude from Thunberg who seemed to have visited only the coast cities that they had ceased to circulate along the coast in the seventeen seventies.

The Dutch found the larin much in evidence when they occupied the country but it gradually disappeared as a circulating medium and became a money of account in the territories they occupied. Their rating was one-fifth of a rix-dollar of 48 heavy stuivers. 56

In 1785 it was resolved to strike half-larins in the shape of small copper bars to be rated at 4¾ Indian stuivers. 57

They, however, were still current in the Kandyan country in the early part of the nineteenth century. Dr. John Davy 58 writes “the silver coin in circulation called a riddy or rheedy is worth about seven-pence English, and is equivalent to sixty-four Kandyan challies. Its form is singular; it resembles a fish hook, and is merely a piece of thick silver wire bent.”

Today they are scarce throughout all of those regions where once they were so plentiful. Occasionally a small find comes to light and now and then a few drift into the bazaars. Where have the caravan-loads of them gone? Where have the chestfuls taken by the Mohammedan and European traders gone? What has become of the countless numbers once in Ceylon where elephants loaded down with them were captured? Gradually as they ceased to be current or in demand for purposes of trade, they were melted down on account of their fine grade of silver, 59 and the wire coin went into the round coin or into other wire, into jewelry and silver ornaments. Also in later days when they came into the hands of silversmiths and money changers they were not recognized as coins sought after and went their way into the crucible.

The dies used for striking larins varied. Probably on the earlier larins, which were struck by the royal authority, dies for coins were employed. This was certainly the case in Hormuz, El Hasa and Persia. Some of the later Persian ones, as has been stated, were stamped with long narrow dies made for the purpose (see 306–308) as were the Maldive larins (see plate IX-k, wrongly placed here under Persian). The Bijapur larins were made with the same kind of dies; others of Indian provenance likewise, but the dies not as narrow.

In Ceylon, since the larins were of private manufacture, every conceivable device for stamping was employed except dies for striking coins. Many were made from coins themselves acting as dies, as will be noticed on most of the first thirty-nine numbers and No. 309 in the catalogue. In most instances the dies were dies made for the purpose of striking larins, generally the size of the piece, sometimes a little larger. Occasionally the dies were considerably larger, such as shown in Nos. 46, 81, 117, 203, 217, 249 and 250, and were probably made for other purposes. In a few cases such as Nos. 59, 142, 148 and 149, small punches were used. In a very few instances such as Nos. 241 and 242 dies resembling coin dies were made. Naturally some of the dies were cut carefully and delicately, others roughly and crudely; some are in low and some in high relief. Certain pieces with crude shallow markings give every appearance that the dies were made by etching with acid, especially in the look of the background, and the peculiar appearance of the edges of the raised parts. Nos. 144, 214, 230 and 288 to 291 are examples. I have studied them very carefully and feel convinced that they were made this way.

With such a large number of larins before one it has been possible to study how they were manufactured. Being made in large quantities for a great number of years by men familiar with metal working they would naturally be fabricated in the easiest and simplest manner possible. In fact it is surprising, considering that so many different people must have made them in so many different places, that more variations of manufacture do not appear.

Why should a long piece of wire doubled over at the middle be used so extensively as a piece of money? This question can be best answered if we consider a way of fashioning metal to produce easily pieces of a fairly uniform weight. All that the maker of a larin had to do was to determine what length of drawn wire of a given thickness would yield a certain weight, and consequently to cut the wire that length. According to the exactitude of the cutting would the weight be uniform.

The planchets for small silver coins, such as the early Russian silver kopecks, and Persian and Bokharan silver pieces, have at times been made in this manner. It is said that in fairly recent years the Russian government asked the Bokhara mint to produce a large quantity of small silver coins and that with their meagre facilities the mint officials balked at the order unless they could first make wire and then pound out the short sections.

Various gauges of wire were used in the making of larins, each maker presumably having his own draw plates. The thickest piece in the hoard was about .125 inches (Plate I, 45) and the finest used was .085 inches (Plate I, 308). Consequently the pieces vary considerably in length, from two and one-half inches to five and three-sixteenth inches. The weights of these two pieces are 67 and 73½ grains respectively. It is also noticed that the same maker did not always use the same gauge wire, as pieces of the same die oftentimes vary in thickness. The majority of the pieces range between three and one-eighth and three and three-quarters inches in length before being doubled and bent.

The wire was cut with a chisel and not in as exact lengths as might be as the weight of the larins, as has been noted, varies several grains. The piece of wire was then doubled over at the middle, and while held firmly by tongs so that the two portions lay one on top of the other, the piece was more or less flattened on both sides by hammer blows from the fold or very near the fold to from a quarter to three-quarters of an inch from the cut ends. The blows were so moderated that the flattening gradually diminished leaving the ends the original diameter of the wire. This was done to present a larger surface for impressing the design. Only two or three specimens show flattening for the entire length. See Nos. 247 and 209, the latter shown also on Plate I.

With the wire thus prepared the piece was ready for stamping. As the flattening process tended to harden the silver the pieces may or may not have been again softened by heating. When two dies were used the larins were probably struck as any coin is struck. When a single die was used for striking, the wire was apparently laid on a smooth surface and the die was held on top of the wire. When the same die was used to strike both sides two methods were employed. If the piece was doubled over before striking care was taken that the second impression did not obliterate the first impression on the other side. The majority of the pieces, where a single die did double duty, were made in another manner. The wire before being folded was partially flattened, pains being taken not to touch the two ends and the middle part of the wire, because it would otherwise be more difficult to double the flattened wire which is harder. Also, it would have a tendency to spring apart and not lie together as closely. Of the total number of larins in the find, 819 pieces, only 21, about 2½%, showed the wire flattened at the middle before folding. I have dwelt on this fact especially as the only modern counterfeit larins have this part flat. 60 An examination of the illustrations will at once show the difference. To return; the die is then stamped on the two flattened surfaces, the wire doubled over in the middle, and either with a hammer or with the same die used again, the piece is flattened down at the fold. Some of the larins with two different dies were probably made this way as well.


In regard to the pieces where coins were used as dies it would seem rather destructive to the coin, on account of the comparative softness of the metal, if the impression was made by a hammer blow. In all probability these were stamped by pressure under a lever. In fact many of the other pieces could have been thus made. With these and, in fact, any stamped from dies much larger than the larin, several could have been made at one time as we find many of the larins with impressions from various parts of the die.

The final stage is the curving or bending of the larins. Only those used in Ceylon are thus curved, those pieces made on the mainland and which did not reach Ceylon are straight (See Plate IX). All made in Ceylon, or coming to the Island were at once or soon curved. 61 This curve took various forms as shown on Plate I. With the majority, curving was carefully done as if the larins were bent over a form. Many of those not made on the island or those apparently of older make, if one can judge by the wear, were simply twisted by hand into various shapes. Mr. Biddell informs me of a village tradition related to him that the larin was curved thus for secure concealment in the hair knot.

The bending naturally obscured one face of the larin so that stamping both sides was not as necessary as with the flat pieces from the mainland. Consequently we find roughly two-thirds of the strictly Sinhalese larins were struck on one side only, and with many of those struck on both sides the same die was used. Those made in imitation of Persian larins were more apt to be struck on both sides.

For the most part the sides are untouched and show the natural roundness of the wire. Occasionally one finds a piece with flattened sides (see Plate I, No. 62).

As will be noticed on Plate I, most pieces show one or more gashes on the side. These test cuts, for want of a better name, are apparently made by a sharp-edged chisel and sometimes cut into the wire over half its thickness. All but 73 in the hoard had these cuts, over 91%. These marks are peculiar to the Sinhalese pieces as I have never seen one of these test cuts on a straight larin. These cuts number from one to seven as a rule and are mostly on one side, about equally distributed at the fold or the ends and generally at both places. I am at a loss as to their purpose. If they were made to determine the fineness of the silver, as is the general opinion, they failed on the three plated larins in the find, or else, in this case, they were put on at the time to add to the deception, as in China false chop marks were put on Spanish and Mexican dollars that had been filled with base metal.

On a large per cent of the pieces where several cuts are on the same piece, they appear to have been made at the same time. Also, with hardly an exception they are made on certain parts of the piece only, either near the fold or at the ends. The cuts apparently had no relation to the weights. Underweight pieces had a varying number of cuts, as did also overweight pieces. Pieces from the same die do not show the same number of test cuts and occasionally show none at all. Both unworn and worn pieces showed varying numbers of chisel marks as did those made on the Island and those brought from the mainland. They apparently were not made to facilitate breaking into sections as the cuts very rarely were deep enough and also the cut or cuts near the fold would not divide the piece into equal halves. No larin in the find seemed to have been broken off at any of the end cuts, although two had been broken at one of the cuts near the fold by twisting. One might make the conclusion that in early days the cuts were made to test the silver; later on especially with the Kandyan larins they were deliberately done as a finishing off process, or as a fictitious ‘hall-mark.’

Sixteen pieces have counterstamps on them (see Plate IX), all at the end of one or both prongs. They fall into two classes: those countermarked with the same die that stamped the larin itself, and probably done at the time the larin was made; and those stamped with a special mark punched in at a later time by someone else, possibly as an endorsement. No group with the same stamp had more than one piece counterstamped and the greatest number of specimens showing the same mark is three. They do not appear to be official stamps and are probably, especially those of the second group, private schroff marks. One, No. 242, is stamped on the truncation with a very minute punch.

Studying the weights of these larins, the conclusion is reached, independent of other evidence, that they were a trade coin and probably in large transactions went by weight. The average of those in the hoard is 71.368 gr. (4,625 grms.). This or the truer weight of 73.7 gr. conforms to no silver coin at the time and in fact to hardly any silver coin issued in the Mohammedan world, but it does conform to one of their chief units for weighing precious metals and other small articles. This was the miskal (spelled methkal, metqal, etc.), the weight of which, especially in Persia, was between 71 and 74 grains according to locality. Poole in the British Museum Catalogue, Coins of the Shahs of Persia, gives the weight as 71.18 gr. using Hanway’s tables. The weight at Teheran was 74.1 gr., at Basra 72 gr. and at Mocha 71.7 gr. 62 Individual pieces in the find differed considerably in weight, even pieces struck from the same die showed a variation of several grains. The lighter pieces show no apparent signs of being clipped. The lightest larin weighed but 50½ gr. but an analysis showed it was composed of half silver and half copper (see No. 155). Another weighed about 51 grains but its appearance was entirely different from the other larins (see No. 86). Very few weighed less than 60 grains. The majority of the pieces weighed from 64 to 76 grains, the heaviest weighing 80½ grains.

Codrington, 63 quoting Lembranças, Nunes and Aragão, says, “Its weight was at one time 45 to the Portuguese mark or 78.7 grains Troy; by 1607, however, it is given as 6 to the ounce, i. e., 48 to the mark or 73.7 grains, and this is the usual weight.”

The following frequency table summarizes the weights of 550 unworn pieces and shows that the intention was to make the larin from 73 to 74 grains.

Under 60 grains 6 specimens
From 60–64 grains 13 specimens
From 64–66 grains 27 specimens
From 66–67 grains 17 specimens
From 67–68 grains 19 specimens
From 68–69 grains 24 specimens
From 69–70 grains 35 specimens
From 70–71 grains 37 specimens
From 71–72 grains 56 specimens
From 72–73 grains 68 specimens
From 73–74 grains 131 specimens
From 74–75 grains 72 specimens
From 75–76 grains 32 specimens
76 and over 13 specimens

Checking up on these weights we find as follows: Against the earlier weight of 78.7, eight Persian larins in the Society’s cabinet, which might fall into the class of the earlier larins show an average weight of 75.375 grains. This is a little light, but the Portuguese may have rated the larin too high. As for the other weight of 73.7 grains, the weights as deduced from the hoard tally very closely. Although the average weight of all whole specimens, good, bad and indifferent averaged only 71.368 grains, the figures arrived at from our table of 550 of the better specimens show that the private makers (for in Ceylon they were not made by the native authorities, and undoubtedly were not supervised by governmental inspection) tried to maintain a certain fixed weight standard. This makes a good showing for the integrity of the larin makers.

While on the subject of weights it may be of inter- est to note the weight of some of the other larins in the American Numismatic Society’s collection:

Av. wt.
5 Bijapur larins with “Ali Adel” 73.5 gr.
6 Indian larins, other types 68.5 gr.
8 Persian larins 75.375 gr.
13 base Nejd larins 50. gr.

In the cataloguing of the pieces I have endeavored to arrange them in groups. Those bearing Devanagari or Hindi letters struck from Sinhalese coins comprise the first group (Nos. 1–19) and number about one-seventh of the whole. These pieces were not unknown but simply had not been recognized and deciphered. These have been or will be taken up more thoroughly in detail in other portions of this article. The “setu” piece (Nos. 20 and 21), with the Tamil legend stamped from a coin, was probably made by the same person that made the other larins. Twelve pieces occur, some incuse some in relief (Nos. 22–26), with some mediaeval writing I have been unable to decipher, nor have I up to date been successful in finding any one able to interpret these. Some letters resemble Nagari, two or three might be Tamil and one or two cursive contemporary Sinhalese. These inscriptions are in all probability “imitative” and the product of Kandyan workmen.

The five pieces bearing types of Portuguese coins (Nos. 27–31) and the fifteen of Dutch influence (Nos. 32–39) were undoubtedly struck by native makers simply making use of whatever material was at hand. None of these as far as I can glean have been published. A piece with the word FRISIAE (Nos. 32–33) was sold to a Russian collector some years ago.

A large proportion, nearly one third of the hoard (Nos. 43–162), have what appear to be designs of sorts, sometimes apparently meaningless, especially if only a small part shows. Some are, doubtless, simply crude markings without reason, sufficient to differentiate one maker’s larins from another’s. Many of the designs are undoubtedly crude attempts at letters or inscriptions. I have tried to distinguish those that appear to be ignorant copies of Persian larins, of which undoubtedly there were many examples on the Island to work from. These imitations (Nos. 163–294) amounting to about one-quarter of the find present more varieties than the previous group but for the most part are not as interesting. Many that have been given separate numbers are undoubtedly from different parts of the same die but have not sufficient markings in common to tie together. The same can be said about those bearing designs; many throughout the groups were so poorly struck, were so worn or obliterated that matching together these designs was oftentimes a most difficult task. Six pieces only bore no marks whatsoever on them, which considering their private manufacture is most unusual. They were probably accidentally unstamped as they looked as if they were made by different parties.

The second section of larins (Nos. 296–319) were picked out as being of continental manufacture; nearly all were of Persian origin, making a total of about 160. These showed clearly that they were stamped from dies used to strike Persian coins. Unfortunately only eleven showed enough of the significant part of the inscription to warrant identification, while 128 had to be lumped together as having insufficient identifying inscription. The wear on these showed clearly that they were older larins that had done service for many years. A noticeable fact is that none showed the mill-sail pattern of some of the early Persian coins, which have been found on larins not from this find. A small sub-class in this group were of undoubted Persian manufacture but stamped from dies made to strike larins (Nos. 306–308). Although the last group (Nos. 309–319) may or may not have been made on the Island, the first five probably were. Numbers 314–317 are most interesting and have inscriptions in part similar to the Indian larins. In the entire find only 23 were too poor to classify.

In going through this large assemblage of larins I was not only much impressed by the great variety of types but that nearly every piece in the hoard was different from any that I had seen before (probably about one hundred fifty). Approximately two hundred and eighty different designs, not counting the incuse and Persian pieces, are represented in this hoard, and from the still different designs of the possibly fifty Sinhalese pieces seen elsewhere, I am firmly convinced that if specimens of all of the different varieties ever made in Ceylon could be again assembled the markings and designs on these pieces found at Gampola would be but a small fraction of the various devices used by the makers of larins.

I wish to acknowledge both my own and the Society’s indebtedness to Dr. Casey A. Wood, the former owner of the find, through whose good counsel and encouragement the present article was consummated, and through whose generosity the largest part and the first selection of the Gampola hoard is now in the cabinet of The American Numismatic Society. I wish also to recognize the services rendered by Mr. John Still who was the first to envisage the importance of the hoard and who was largely instrumental in gathering it together. I also wish to acknowledge the use of many of his notes in his brief report made to Dr. Wood. To Prof. William Campbell I am indebted for the analysis of several of the pieces, and I wish also to compliment Mr. Alfred L. Howes for his careful drawings of many of the larins. I wish to express my appreciation to Mr. W. H. Biddell for much valuable help and kindly comments, as well as for the careful reading of the manuscript, and to Mr. H. W. Codrington I desire to express my gratitude for the valuable assistance given through his monumental work, Ceylon Coins and Currency.

End Notes

Vide articles by Dickinson and Vaux in Num. Chron. Vol. XI, 1849; XII, 1850, and XVI, 1854.
Col. B. Lowsley (Coins and Tokens of Ceylon, Num. Chron. III series, Vol. XV, 1895), in his search in Ceylon for coins found few larins and said he came across a number of forgeries of clumsy workmanship. Probably most of these were genuine enough, as larins of all sorts of workmanship were in the find.
Voyage of Francois Pyrard of Laval (Hakluyt Soc. 1887, Vol. II, p. 174.
See page 78.
H. W. Codrington, Ceylon Coins and Currency, Colombo, 1924, p. 175.
Op. Cit. p. 174.
Codrington Op. Cit. pp. 102 and 110.
Codrington Op. Cit. p. no, sec. 9.
Codrington Op. Cit. p. no, sec. 9.
From Hobson-Jobson, quoting from Viaggo dell’ Indie Orientale, Venice, 1590.
Sir Thomas Herbert in 1627 and Pietro Teixeira, end of seventeenth century.
Codrington Op. Cit. p. 92.
Cod. Op. Cit. pp. 162, 175.
W. B. Dickinson, Num. Chron. XVI, 1854. p. 169.
Les poids, mesures et monnaies des mers du sud aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles, Paris 1921, p. 84.
Hakluyt Principal Navigations. (Hakl. Soc., Extra Ser., 1904, Vol. VI, p. 22.
H. W. Codrington. Coins of the Kings of Hormuz, Num. Chron. 4th Ser. XIV, 1914. p. 160.
Hakluyt Soc. 1918, Vol. I, p. 100.
J. Gerson da Cunha, Contributions to the Study of Indo-Portuguese Numismatics. Reprinted in 1883 from Bombay Br. R. A. S. Jour.
Op. Cit. p. Vol. VI, p. 12.
Quoted in part by G. P. Taylor, Journ. As. Soc. Bengal, Vol. VI, N. S. 1910, p. 687. For a fuller account see Viaggi di Pietro della Valle. Brighton 1843, V. II, p. 434.
London Edition 1678, Part II, p. 1, also Num. Chron. 4th Ser. Vol. XII, 1912.
M. Abot de Bazinghen, Traité des Monnaies etc. Paris, 1764, Vol. I, p. 616.
Ceylon Coins, p. 95, quoting from Itinerarium of H. van Linschoten, Chap. 42, Amsterdam 1644.
Travels in Persia. Argonaut Press, London, 1927, p. 287, also from the Amsterdam edition of 1711, Vol. IV, p. 279.
Manuel de Généalogie et de Chronologie pour l’histoire de l’Islam p. 260.
Some Yeares Travels into Divers Parts of Asia and Afrique, London 1665.
The Travels of Pedro Teixeira etc. Hakluyt Soc., 1902 p. 241.
Ceylon Coins, p. 163.
Catalogue of Coins in the Colombo Museum, p. 58.
Op. Cit. p. 30.
Coins of the Kings of Hormuz, Num. Chron. 4th Ser. Vol. XIV, 1914, p. 156.
Voyage de François Pyrard de Laval. Paris 1679. Vol. I, chap. 27, also Hakluyt Soc. 1887, Vol. I, p. 232, and Codrington, Ceylon Coins, p. 63.
Journey Through Central and Eastern Arabia, London, 1865, Vol. II, 179.
Voyages and Travels of the Ambassadors etc. English trans. by John Davies, London 1669.
Prof. H. H. Wilson, Num. Chron. XVI, 1854, p. 179.
Hakluyt Principal Navigations, Vol. V, p. 374 (Halk. Soc. Ex. Ser. 1904).
The Voyage of Francois Pyrard, Vol. II, pp. 68 and 239, Hak. Soc. 1888.
J. A. S. B. Vol. VI, N. S. 1914, p. 687.
Bijapur and Its Architectural Remains, p. 129 and pl. CXV. in Vol. XXXVII for 1916 of the Archeological Survey of India Imp. Series.
The Coinage of the Maldive Islands.
Num. Chron. XVI, p. 179.
The Dominions, Emblems, and Coins of the South Indian Dynasties, Br. Num. Jour., Vol. IX, 1913, pp. 318–319.
The one illustrated in the Hakluyt edition of Pyrard de Laval and which was obtained by Mr. H. C. P. Bell in the Maldives was certainly not made there.
Voyage de François Pyrard de Laval. Paris 1679, also in Hakluyt Society’s publications which is quoted by Allan.
Account of the Interior or Ceylon, 1821, p. 245.
Ceylon Coins, p. 95.
Num. Chron, Vol. XIII, 1851, p. 63 footnote.
Codrington, Op. Cit. pp. 96 and 161.
Op. Cit. p. 95, footnote 2.
Codrington, Op. Cit. p. 96.
op. Cit. p. 164 who quotes from Ceylon Literary Register, 1893, P. 109.
Historical Relations of Ceylon, Glasgow, 1911, p. 156; see also Dickinson, Num. Chron. 1849, p. 86; Codrington p. 164.
Voyages to the East Indies, English Trans., 1800, p. 86 quoted from Codrington p. 164.
Travels in Europe, Africa, and Asia. London 1795, Vol. IV, p. 210.
Codrington Op. Cit. p. 162.
Codrington Op. Cit. p. 125 and plate V, 129.
Account of the Interior of Ceylon, 1821, p. 24s.
Pyrard, Vide p. 5, infra.
Lowsley, Op. Cit., mentions a modern counterfeit. The only gold larins I have seen have been made from the modern die illustrated above.
All of those in the find were curved, though certain Indian larins of the datestone type (see plate IX a to e) were not curved on account of the difficulty involved. It is also a fact that some straight larins have been bent purposely as they sell better when called “fish-hook money.”
The miskal varied in different ages and localities from about 67.5 gr. to 90.7 gr. According to Arabic writers the earliest miskal of the Mohammedans was 64.8 gr., one called the legal miskal was 67.5 gr., while others varied in weight from 68.1 to 74.9 gr. These figures have been taken from “Materiaux pour servir à l’histoire de la numismatique et de la métrologie musulmanes,” by M. H. Sauvaire, pt. I, pp. 35 ff., pt. II, pp. 275 ff., 296 ff. A summary of the first part was given by Stanley Lane-Poole in Arab Historians on Mohammadan Numismatics. Other references are Loi de la numismatique musulmane, by C. Mauss, p. 5 : Essai sur les systèmes métriques et monétaires des anciens peuples, by V. V. Queipo, Vol. II, pp. 231 and 446; Monnaies, poids, mesures et usages commerciaux de tous les états du monde, Lemale, editeur, Havre 1875; British Museum Catalogue, Coins of the Shahs of Persia, by R. S. Poole, Introd. p. lxi.
Op. Cit. p. 162.


Plate I shows examples of the larins viewed from the side. These were especially picked out to show the various ways they had been bent and curved. The varying thicknesses of wire can be easily seen, also the test cuts.

Plates II to IX (first half) show all the different types catalogued, concluding with drawings of the counterstamps.

As each variety is illustrated and shown in numerical order the plate number is not given in the text. If for any reason a piece is illustrated more than once, the additional plate number is given. When both obverse and reverse are shown, the second illustration over the number is the reverse. When the larins are struck from coins used as dies the type coins are shown. In the case of the Sinhalese coins, the intaglio or reversed impression from the whole coin which was used for the die of the larin is illustrated, as the larin may have been struck from any part of the piece. Direct photographs have been used when practicable, but when the design is on the curve, or only a part of the design shows on any one piece, drawings have been made. As the illustrations are primarily to show the evidence on each larin, the entire larin is not always shown, especially in the drawings.

None of the larins on the second half of Plate IX were in the find, but are from specimens in The American Numismatic Society’s cabinet. These are shown solely to illustrate other forms used elsewhere. All have been folded over once and have not been curved. The Indian forms (a–h) are short and thick and made of heavy wire. They were made and used along the west coast of India, especially around Goa and by the Adil Shahi kings of Bijapur in the seventeenth century. The Bijapur larins (f, g, h) have been described by Wilson 63 and Taylor. 64

The Persian forms (i, j, l, m, n, o) are much longer and made of thinner wire. A most unusual piece (j) is made of very thick wire, (o) is a curiously bent piece. The Maldive larin (k) is of slightly different form. Through error it was placed under the Persian larins. The Arabian larins (q–r) were made at El-Hasa and are of very base metal, in fact, nearly wholly copper. They are called Toweeleh (long) and were current up to recent times. The Javanese larin (p) is found in copper and pewter and is very rare. It was made at Batavia in 1658 or 1660. 65

Plate X illustrates the Portuguese coins in the hoard.

The outside of the larin will be called the obverse, and the inside the reverse. The end doubled over will be termed the fold, and the other two ends the prongs.

Following the description of the piece the number given in parentheses, thus (2), indicates the number of pieces of that type in the find. The weight of the piece follows and is given in grains.

End Notes

Prof. H. H. Wilson, Num. Chron., Vol. XVI, 1854, p. 179.
George P. Taylor. J. A. S. B., Vol. VI, N. S. p. 687.
Sir John Bucknill in The Coins of the Dutch East Indies, p. 55, says 1660; Codrington, Op. Cit. p. no, says 1658.



types derived from coins of the sinhalese sovereigns of the thirteenth century

Sáhasa Malla (1200–1202)

In Relief

1. A vertical section showing arm of figure, and ma ha ma of the Devanagari inscription Srí mat Sá hasa Malla.

Rev. Same as obverse. (3) 72.5, 73.5, 74.5 gr.

Two different dies used and both illustrated. The third specimen lightly and double struck.

This type with impression in relief was noted by Mr. John Still in his preliminary report on the find as possibly being of the utmost importance. It apparently was struck from dies used in making the coins of Sahasa Malla in 1200–1202 and if this were so, would antedate by about three hundred years the approximate date for the making of the first larins. Knowing that it is most unusual to find coins struck four and a half centuries earlier than the majority of the pieces in a hoard, I have given these most careful study under a powerful glass. I have come to the conclusion that they were made at about the same time as the other pieces in the find. They also look no different than the general run of the hoard and they show no great signs of wear. Although the two best pieces show they were struck from different dies I am convinced that these dies were made for the purpose of striking larins and were not the dies for the coins of Sahasa Malla. The cutting of the characters is indecisive and has not the same style as the lettering on the earlier copper coins. The large border pellets on the coins are not pellets at all on the larins but irregular indefinite objects. Also on one of the dies the last character ma is incorrectly made (see 1 a) and has a curved terminal sweep enclosing the char- acter where the border pellets should be. Again on the other die (1 b) at the top there shows on each side the raised confining border of the die. I also think that if the larin were struck at the time of Sahasa Malla both obverse and reverse dies would have been used and not one die used twice.

Intaglio impressions made from bronze coins used as dies

2. Parts of the inscription Srí mat Sá hasa Malla and parts of the figure in intaglio and consequently reversed.

Rev. Blank. (49) 64–76 gr. average 71 gr.

One specimen was bent so the outside was blank and the inside inscribed and four show the impression repeated. Four pieces are counterstamped at one of the ends by simply using the same coin as a die, and one specimen is a forgery made of drawn copper wire silver-plated, and weighs 61½ gr.

3. Inscribed as No. 2.

Rev. Same as on obverse. (10) Av. wt. 71 gr.

4. Inscribed as No. 2.

Rev. Design in relief. (1) 72 gr.

This piece is interesting as it shows that the person using the copper massas as dies had other dies that he used for stamping larins. Other reverse dies are known.

Dharmasoka (1208–1209)

Intaglio impressions made from bronze coins

5. Parts of the inscription Srí Dha rmmá soka Deva intaglio and reversed.

Rev. Blank. (6) 65½ (2), 76, 71½, 74½ gr.

Four of the pieces show the inscription horizontal and one vertical; one is broken.

Lílávatí (1197–1200, 1209–1210, 1211–1212 A. D.)

Intaglio impressions made from bronze coins

6. Parts of the inscription Srí Rája Lílá vati intaglio and reversed.

Rev. Blank. (7) 65–73½ gr. Av. wt. 71 gr.

One specimen was doubled over after being flattened; see introduction page

7. Inscribed as No. 6.

Rev. Design in relief similar to No. 90.

(2) 70, 74 gr.

Parákrama Báhu II (1236–1271 A. D.)

Intaglio impressions made from bronze coins

8. Parts of the inscription Srí Pará krama Báhu in intaglio and reversed.

Rev. Blank. (10) 60–74 gr. Av. wt. 70½ gr.

9. Inscribed as No. 8.

Rev. Same as obverse. (5) Av. wt. 73 gr.

One specimen is counterstamped on both prongs (see Pl. IX).

10. Inscribed as No. 8.

Rev. Inscribed as No. 2. (The Sahasa Malla imprint.) (1) 71½ gr.

This piece, with the names of Parakrama and Sahasa Malla is good evidence that the same person made these larins with the intaglio impressions. It also furnished evidence that these pieces were not made in the thirteenth century.

11. Inscribed as No. 8.

Rev. Design in relief. (1) 72 gr.

12. Inscribed as No. 8.

Rev. Design in relief. See No. 258. (1) 68½ gr.

Vijaya Báhu IV (1271–1273 A. D.)

Intaglio impressions made from bronze coins

13. Parts of the inscription Srí Vijaya Báhu in intaglio and reversed.

Rev. Blank. (3) Av. wt. 71½ gr.

14. Inscribed as No. 13.

Rev. Same as obverse. (2) 73½ gr.

Bhuvaneka Báhu I (1273–1284 A. D.)

Intaglio impressions made from bronze coins

15. Parts of the inscription, Srí Bhuva naika Báhu , in intaglio and reversed.

Rev. Blank. (2) 72½, 74 gr.

16. Inscribed as No. 15.

Rev. Same as obverse. (5) 63, 73½ (4) gr.

17. Larins struck from the standing-figure side of the coin.

Rev. Blank. (2) 73, 75 gr. Pl. II.

These two pieces are the only ones of the whole series showing the uninscribed side of the coin used as a die. It seems to have been the intention to have some part of an inscription show on the larins.

18. Balance of larins struck from copper massas showing chiefly the head and figure of the king or not enough of the inscription to determine the ruler’s name.

(35) Av. wt. 73 gr.

Twenty-three pieces were struck on one side only and ten on both sides, three of which were doubled over after being flattened.

Larins struck from Coin of Undetermined King

19. Second column of a two line vertical inscription repeated several times. The two characters showing, apparently read ja and ya (or possibly ta).

Rev. Blank. (2) 72 gr.

These pieces apparently were struck from coins as the border dots show on one. No coins are known to match these characters and no ruler in the published lists of kings seems to fit. One piece is counterstamped probably by a coin.

Árya Cakravartis of Jaffna (c. Thirteenth Century)

Impressed from bronze “Setu” coins 66

20. The Tamil word Setu in intaglio and consequently reversed.

Rev. Same as on obverse but twice stamped.

(1) 69 gr.

Codrington Pl. IV, 91. This larin was flattened before being doubled.

21. Design in relief.

Rev. In intaglio, the upper part of the obverse of the above coin showing head and ornament in front.

(1) 74½ gr.


22. Peculiar intaglio mark that may be a repeated letter.

Rev. On one larin same as obverse, on the other larin blank. (2) 62, 68 gr.

Both of the pieces were folded over after being flattened.

23. Lettering not deciphered; in fine intaglio lines covering most of the larin. This is repeated several times and overlaps in places.

Rev. Same (1) 73 gr.

24. In relief, undeciphered inscription.

Rev. Blank (1) 74½ gr.

25. Very similar inscription but more crudely done.

Rev. Blank. (7) Av. wt. 73 gr.

All of these are bent as shown on Pl. I, 25.

26. Similar inscription in relief, cut in about the same style as No. 24.

Rev. Blank. (1) 66 gr.

End Notes
For further information about these coins see Ceylon Coins and Currency by H. W. Codrington. Colombo, 1924. pp. 74 ff. and Pl. IV, No. 91.
Types Derived from Portuguese Coins

27. In intaglio; portion of the obverse of a silver tanga of the Malacca type showing cross section of arms and the letter M.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73 gr. For coin see Pl. X, 336.

Codrington p. 103, Grogan Sale 1313–1314, Aragāo Pl. II, 8.

28. In intaglio five parallel lines being a cross section of the gridiron on the reverse of the silver “Gridiron” type tanga, showing at each side parts of the letters S L and a linear circle enclosed by two beaded circles.

Rev. Same. (1) 71 gr. For coin, see Pl. X, 334.

Codrington p. 100, No. 114.

29. Intaglio impression of part of an armillary sphere, struck three times from a coin, as the linear and dotted border shows.

Rev. Same as obverse, struck three times.

(1) 69 gr.

This piece was doubled over after being struck. I have been unable to identify the coin used, it may possibly be a coin similar to Codrington’s Plate V, 116.

30. In relief, design in thin even lines, resembling somewhat the reverse of No. 91.

Rev. Intaglio impression of part of an armillary sphere with dot line and dot border, double-struck similar to No. 29. (1)71 gr.

31. Intaglio impressions of what appear to be armillary spheres struck several times.

Rev. Intaglio A with part of another letter, above a line, the whole stamped twice. (1) 73 gr.

I have been unable to identify the source from which this was made.

Types Derived from Dutch Coins

32. Intaglio impression reading ∞ FRISIÆ ∞ backwards.

Rev. Same as obverse. (1) 76 gr.

33. Same as 32.

Rev. Blank (3) 68, 69, 73 gr.

These larins were struck from seventeenth century copper duits of West Frisia (Verkade Pl. 75, 6), and the maker very carefully impressed only the words of the place name; two have the word FRISIÆ and one the word WEST.

34. Intaglio date backwards 1645.

Rev. Blank. (2) 71½, 73 gr.

The last figure of the date is somewhat indistinct on both pieces but it is undoubtedly a 5. The coin used was a duit of the wreath type, the same as above but not necessarily of West Frisia.

35. Part of a curved border; legend in intaglio badly jumbled, but an N can be distinguished.

Rev. In intaglio the right side of a shield, showing eagle’s wings and outside ornaments, which was stamped from a schilling or 4 escalin silver coin of Nimeguen of the 1601–4 issue.

(Verkade Pl. 23.2). (1) 64½ gr.

36. In intaglio part of the word ANNO as on the obverse of the ½ stuiver of 1644 of Batavia 67 (Verkade Pl. 200, 5, Netscher and Van der Chijs 27), or possibly the rare large silver 48 stuivers of 1645 (Verkade Pl. 200, 2, Netscher and Van der Chijs 17).

Rev. Same. (2) 71½, 74½ gr.

37. Same as No. 36.

Rev. Blank. (2) 67, 70½ gr.

The striker of these pieces was careful to use that part of the coin that had the word ANNO. He must have been a native unacquainted with the language or he would have picked out the more significant word BATAVIA.

38. In intaglio, part of the middle line inscription (Sultan?) as on the reverse of the copper 1 or 2 Kashas piece of Paliakate (Neumann 20384–6, Fonrobert 2799–2801, Grogan 522–526).

Rev. Blank. (1) 67 gr.

Paliakate or Pulicat was the first Dutch possession on the Coromandel Coast and their first mint was estab- lished at that place. According to Codrington copper coins of Paliakate have been found in Ceylon.

39. Intaglio impression of part of the VOC monogram on the obverse of probably the Paliakate coin described above. This has been stamped twice and is not very clear.

Rev. Traces of the VOC mark stamped over what was probably a Persian inscription. (1) 73 gr.

The fact that this stamp is struck over what was probably a Persian larin might lead one to the conclusion that this was officially done at Paliakate to legitimatize the foreign larins brought in there. However, it would seem reasonable that if this was done officially the piece would be stamped from dies and not from a coin.

40. In raised letters image: above the V what may be a 6; below, two lines and some indefinite marks. To the right of the V is what may be an I, and to the right of the S, a small t, thus making image 68

Rev. Same as obverse. (2) 70, 71 gr.

The inscription on this larin would seem to indicate its value at 5 or 6 stuivers. This is impossible as nowhere in Ceylon was the larin rated at these figures. In 1640 the Dutch rated the larin at 10 stuivers and in 1655, 1661 and 1662 it was rated at the same. Later on the ratings were at 12 stuivers and the same ratio seems to hold good in the Kandyan country where the pieces were buried. 69 I am unable to hazard any guess as to the meaning of these letters.

41. Sequence of crude Roman (?) letters in relief, apparently repeated.

Rev. Same as obverse. (1) 67½ gr.

See introduction p. 23.

42. Sequence of crude marks resembling letters.

Rev. Same. (1) 69 gr.

End Notes
These coins were for use in Banda, Malacca and Ceylon. Codrington, Ceylon Coins and Currency, p. 109.
Many of the drawings (especially Nos. 46, 81 etc.) are much wider than the actual larin as the design is taken from several specimens.
Codrington, pp. 98, 110, 175.

All in Relief Unless Otherwise Stated

43. In bold relief, a design which may possibly be a word of three characters. The die was evidently made for the purpose of stamping larins.

Rev. Blank. (30) 66–76 gr. Av. wt. 73.2 gr.

These pieces were all carefully struck at the fold with the same part of the die. The other end of the die is seldom struck up. One die only was used and all the larins are made from heavy wire. None show signs of wear and on account of the large number of them it would seem as if these were made at about the time of the burial of the hoard, and probably the owner and striker of these were the same.

44. Very similar in die-cutting and workmanship to No. 43.

Rev. Blank. (2) 73, 75½ gr.

45. Design boldly but not so well cut.

Rev. Blank. (21) 72–74½ gr. Av. wt. 73.3 gr.

These pieces present the same general appearance as Nos. 43 and 44, but were not so carefully struck. The imprint on twelve pieces runs one way, and on nine the other way. None show signs of wear. These, as well as those under 43 and 44, are of a very whitish color, as if the pieces had been pickled after striking.

46. Crudely-cut, bold design, apparently on a large round die of which very little shows on any one larin.

Rev. Blank. (4) 70, 72, 74, 75 gr.

This drawing was made from several specimens.

47. Design in flat low relief.

Rev. Blank. (4) 71½, 72, 73 (2).

48. Very similar in style and die-cutting.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71½ gr.

49. Crudely cut design, the die evidently made to stamp larins.

Rev. Blank. (7) Av. wt. 72½ gr.

50. Similar to No. 49, the dies more crudely made.

Rev. Blank. (4) Av. wt. 69½ gr.

51. Crude shallow markings nearly obliterated.

Rev. Similar to No. 50. (1) 67 gr.

Counterstamped. Pl. IX.

52. Design similar, dies cut much sharper.

Rev. Blank. (3) 71½, 73½, 75 gr.

53. Similar to No. 52 but dies less sharply cut.

Rev. Blank. (7) Av. wt. 73 gr.

54. Similar but the figures in the pattern are smaller.

Rev. Blank. (11) 65–77 gr. Av. wt. 70 gr.

Many of these are very poorly and lightly struck and show signs of wear; a few pieces seem to show that the same design was repeated on the reverse.

55. Design of fine indefinite lines.

Rev. Same, some specimens show hardly any of the design. (7) Av. wt. 71 gr.

One counterstamped on end of each prong. Pl. IX.

56. Character struck three times.

Rev. Same, stamped twice. (1) 75 gr.

57. Similar character stamped twice.

Rev. Same, stamped twice. (1) 69 gr.

The wire used on this larin is of much thinner gauge than usual. See Pl. I.

58. Similar, stamped once.

Rev. Blank. (1) 74½ gr.

The designs on the above larins Nos. 49–58 present a Chinese appearance, and one can easily see a resemblance to certain Chinese characters such as ta, fu and yuan. As Chinese cash were not uncommon at that time these probably furnished an inspiration to the Kandyan die cutters for new designs.

59. Relief design in rectangular incuse, stamped twice.

Rev. Blank. (1) 75 gr.

60. Well cut design, probably part of a much wider die.

Rev. Blank. (2) 65½, 76 gr.

61. Similar design, in low flat relief.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71 ½ gr.

62. Roughly cut linear design.

Rev. Same. (1) 62½ gr.

This piece was stamped and flattened before folding. The sides also have been flattened. See Pl. I.

63. Similar design.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73 ½ gr.

64. Similar design.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73 gr.

Counterstamped. Pl. IX.

65. Similar design, boldly cut.

Rev. Blank. (2) 73, 74 gr.

66. Very similar to No. 65 but poorly cut.

Rev. Blank. (2) 67½, 75½ gr.

67. Design resembling somewhat No. 43 but die poorly cut.

Rev. Blank. (3) 73 (2), 74 gr.

68. Indefinite pattern in faint shallow lines.

Rev. Blank. (1) 69½ gr.

69. Intricate, fine-line pattern.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71½ gr.

Both prongs counterstamped. Pl. IX.

70. Confused design from possibly a circular die.

Rev. Blank. (2) 70, 72½ gr.

71. Whorl pattern, poor workmanship.

Rev. Blank. (1) 68 gr.

72. Fine-line intricate design.

Rev. Blank. (1) 74 gr.

73. Very similar to No. 72.

Rev. Similar. (1) 73½ gr.

74. Similar but the design is not as long and the relief is lower. Stamped three times.

Rev. Same as obverse. (1) 77½ gr.

75. Similar in design and cutting, stamped several times.

Rev. Same. (2) 66½, 68½ gr.

The sides on both of these larins have been flattened.

76. Fragmentary design in bold relief.

Rev. Blank. (1) 69 gr.

77. Design of curved lines and dots.

Rev. Blank. (1) 72 gr.

78. Similar design without dots.

Rev. Blank. (1) 65 gr.

79. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (3) 61½, 64½, 71 gr.

All of these pieces were folded after being flattened.

80. Fine-line design struck from much larger die.

Rev. Blank. (2) 70½, 72½ gr.

81. Similar but coarser design struck from much larger die.

Rev. Similar but not from same die.

(9) Av. wt. 72.8 gr.

The resemblance of this design to the “Bull and Horseman” common throughout northwestern India and Afghanistan is marked. Coins of this type were issued by several dynasties from the ninth to the seventeenth centuries. The specimen shown is typical of the type and was issued by Chahada Deva of Narwar in the thirteenth century.

82. Same as No. 81.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73½ gr.

83. Same as reverse of No. 81.

Rev. Blank. (3) 72½, 73½ (2) gr.

Only a small part of the design appears on any one larin of Nos. 81, 82, 83.

84. Similar.

Rev. Similar but more angular lines. (1) 74 gr.

85. Small portion of a design stamped close to the fold.

Rev. Same. (2) 53½ (and 1. broken).

86. Same as No. 85.

Rev. Blank. (1) 51 gr.

The above three larins are next to the lightest ones in the find, about twenty grains below normal, and present an entirely different appearance. The wire is apparently not drawn but hammered out; except at the two ends the metal has been pounded very thin and the sides have been flattened. See No. 155. See Pl. I.

87. Design of perpendicular and horizontal lines.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73 gr.

88. Design that may have been suggested from an Arabic inscription.

Rev. Same. (1) 73½ gr.

Thin gauge wire used.

89. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73½ gr.

90. Similar but coarser and from a larger die.

Rev. Same. (1) 70½ gr.

91. Similar, showing only the fragment of the die.

Rev. Similar to obverse but probably from another die. (1) 66 gr.

92. Very similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 74 gr.

93. Very similar.

Rev. Crude indefinite markings. (1) 74½ gr.

94. Same as reverse above.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73½ gr.

95. Similar.

Rev. Same. (4) 68 (2), 71½, 74½ gr.

These pieces are all poorly struck and one is counter-stamped on one prong on one side and on the other side by apparently the die used to strike the larin itself.

96. Design not unlike No. 77, but finer.

Rev. Same. (1) 72 gr.

97. Similar design.

Rev. Similar. (1) 71 gr.

98. Small part of larger design.

Rev. Similar. (1) 68 gr.

99. Crude markings, part of larger design.

Rev. Blank. (1) 76 gr.

100. Angular markings, part of larger design.

Rev. Blank. (1) 67½ gr.

101. Design in rectangular frame.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71½ gr.

102. Similar but coarser.

Rev. Blank. (1)66½ gr.

103. Similar but from a much larger die.

Rev. Blank. (2) 66, 76½ gr.

104. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1)69½ gr.

This piece was flattened before being doubled.

105. Similar.

Rev. Same. (1) 60 gr.

106. Design of crudely cut curves and dots.

Rev. Same. (1) 66 gr.

107. Design of faint angular lines.

Rev. Similar but resembling in workmanship No. 88. (5) 64½, 66½, 69½, 72½, 73 gr.

108. Same as No. 107.

Rev. Coarse angular design. (3) 73 (2), 73½ gr.

109. Same as No. 107.

Rev. Similar to obverse but a little bolder in execution. (4) 70½, 71½, 72½, 74 gr.

110. Similar to No. 107 but die boldly cut.

Rev. Blank. (2) 68½, 69 gr.

111. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73½ gr.

112. Conventional, running design, broadly cut.

Rev. Blank. (2) 69½, 70½ gr.

113. Similar.

Rev. Same as obverse. (1) 78 gr.

114. Similar but finer.

Rev. Blank. (1) 72 gr.

115. Clear-cut design, only a small part showing.

Rev. Same. (2) 68, 72 gr.

116. Similar.

Rev. Possibly another part of the same design.

(1) 73½ gr.

117. Running design on each side of a straight line; struck from a much larger die.

Rev. Blank. (2) 70, 73 gr.

118. Similar but more elaborate.

Rev. Blank. (4) 68, 73 (3) gr.

One of the heavier pieces counterstamped. Pl. IX.

119. Repeated pattern, from a much larger die.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71 gr.

120. Interlaced pattern.

Rev. Same (1) 74 gr.

121. Running vine-like design, the die evidently made for stamping larins.

Rev. Blank. (5) 64½, 65, 66½, 69 gr.

One specimen is of copper silver-plated and apparently from the same die, its weight including a heavy coating of corrosion is 61 gr. All the pieces are of light weight, one is counterstamped on one of the prongs showing part of the same die.

122. Less elaborate curved-line pattern.

Rev. Faint traces of the same. (1) 62½ gr.

123. Similar but the die composed of but one unit which is repeated several times.

Rev. Same. (2) 72½, 73½ gr.

124. Similar, coarser design. Die of one unit.

Rev. Blank. (1) 67 gr.

125. Similar, die of one unit.

Rev. Same. (1) 72 gr.

126. Similar, stamped twice.

Rev. Same, stamped at fold. (2) 71, 71½ gr.

These were stamped after folding as the obverse and reverse imprint are not opposite.

127. Similar.

Rev. Same. (1) 68½ gr.

128. Similar but coarser design, stamped thrice.

Rev. Same. (1) 73½ gr.

129. Similar, stamped only twice.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73½ gr.

130. Conventional border pattern.

Rev. Blank (1) 74½ gr.

131. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 70 gr.

132. Design of curves and dots, shallow die.

Rev. Same but struck near the prongs.

(2) 69, 73½ gr.

133. Similar.

Rev. Similar rough indistinct die. (2) 73, 73 gr.

134. Similar, sharply cut shallow die, repeated.

Rev. Blank. (2) 64, 74 gr.

The lighter specimen is made from a much shorter piece of wire and has a square fold showing it was flattened before being doubled.

135. Similar, stamped twice.

Rev. Same, stamped twice. (1) 74 gr.

136. Angular pattern.

Rev. Same. (1) 73½ gr.

137. Intaglio wave pattern.

Rev. Blank. (2) 64, 64½ gr.

138. Intaglio wave pattern.

Rev. Same. (1) 74 gr.

139. Same.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73 gr.

140. Pattern of thin curved lines.

Rev. Blank. (3) 70, 71½, 73 gr.

141. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73½ gr.

142. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 59 gr.

This piece was flattened before doubling.

143. Pattern resembling the head and arms on the massas, as used on the first 18 numbers.

Rev. Same. (1) 69½ gr.

144. Similar, from very shallow die.

Rev. Blank. (1) 70 gr.

The die used to stamp this larin appears to have been made by etching rather than by cutting.

145. Small indefinite design stamped three times.

Rev. Same stamped three times. (1) 65½ gr.

This was slightly flattened before folding.

146. Indefinite character repeated.

Rev. Blank. (1) 70½ gr.

147. Indefinite character stamped twice.

Rev. Blank. (1) 65½ gr.

148. Indefinite character stamped once.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71 gr.

149. Indefinite punch mark.

Rev. Blank. (1) 72½ gr.

150. Diagonal criss-cross lines, at end three parallel lines.

Rev. Blank. (1) 75 gr.

Counterstamped on both prongs. Pl. IX.

151. Similar, but four parallel lines at end.

Rev. Blank. (3) 69, 70, 71.

152. Similar, but lattice design at end.

(1) 76½ gr.

153. Similar, but not as well done.

Rev. Blank (1) 73½ gr.

A piece with criss-cross lines (150–153) was illustrated in 1849 by W. B. Dickinson in the Numismatic Chronicle Vol. IX, p. 161, No. 6.

154. Criss-cross lines more like a lattice.

Rev. Blank. (1) Badly disintegrated.

This piece was plated over a copper core and was very badly corroded. For an analysis of this piece see introduction, p. 3.

155. Indefinite spider-web-like pattern.

Rev. Same. (1) 50½ gr.

This piece, although presenting the same general appearance as the other larins and looking no different in size or thickness than many other heavier specimens, is the lightest one of the find. An analysis shows it is about half silver and half copper.

156. Similar but involved in the criss-cross lines is the same mark as in No. 145.

Rev. Blank. (1) 78½ gr.

This piece was flattened before folding and is one of the heaviest larins in the hoard.

157. Irregular lines.

Rev. Similar but giving a little of the appearance of an armillary globe. See Nos. 29 and 30.

(1) 70½ gr.

158. Fish-scale design.

Rev. Same. (1) 74 gr.

159. Similar.

Rev. Same. (1) 69 gr.

160. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 67½ gr.

161. Striated surface.

Rev. Indefinite design. (1) 66 gr.

162. Striated surface.

Rev. Blank. (1)64 gr.

Imitation of Arabic Inscriptions

All probably made in Ceylon

163. Crude attempt at Es-Sultan El Adii.

Rev. Same. (1) 74 gr.

164. Similar but cruder.

Rev. Similar but still cruder and coarser.

(5) 71½, 72 (2), 73, 74 gr.

165. Same as reverse of No. 164.

Rev. Same as obverse of No. 164.

(5) 72½, 73, 73½ (2), 74, gr.

166. Boldly cut inscription of five characters.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73½ gr.

167. Pattern of straight and curved lines possibly in imitation of the Arabic Es-Sultan.

Rev. Blank. (8) Av. wt. 71.7 gr.

168. Almost identical but from another die.

Rev. Blank. (3) 62½, 71, 74½ gr.

169. Same but from a third die.

Rev. Blank. (7) Av. wt. 73 gr.

170. Very similar but alternating three and two straight lines.

Rev. Blank. (1) 70½ gr.

171. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (2) 69, 73½ gr.

172. Similar but a little more elaborate.

Rev. Blank. (1) 67 gr.

All of the above, 167–172, have a general similarity and look as if the dies were cut by the same person.

173. Similar but coarser lines.

Rev. Blank. (2) 68; 76 gr.

174. Larger design, very shallow dies.

Rev. Same. (1) 80½ gr.

This piece was flattened before folding and is the heaviest piece in the find.

175. Crude attempt at the Arabic Es-Sultan stamped three times.

Rev. Same. (1) 75 gr.

176. Indefinite design and ten parallel lines stamped twice.

Rev. Crude Es-Sultan stamped twice. (1) 71 gr.

177. Crude straight lines at various angles.

Rev. Blank. (1) 75 gr.

178. Crude diagonal lines.

Rev. Same (2) 71, 73 gr.

179. Crude upright parallel lines.

Rev. Same. (2) 72½, 74½ gr.

180. Similar but cruder and more irregular, imprint repeated.

Rev. Same. (1) 69 gr.

181. Crude markings.

Rev. Indefinite markings, possibly the same.

(1) 70½ gr.

182. Very similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71½ gr.

183. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71½ gr.

184. Crude, shallow markings.

Rev. Blank. (1) Broken.

185. Indistinct, shallow marks.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73 gr.

186. Crude straight and curved line markings.

Rev. Blank. (2) 73½, 74.

187. More complicated markings.

Rev. Blank. (6) 67, 68, 70½, 72½, 73 (2) gr.

188. Similar lines less curved.

Rev. Blank. (1) 70½ gr.

189. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 75 gr.

190. Similar.

Rev. ? (1) Broken in half.

191. Similar but bolder cut.

Rev. Blank. (2) 73, 74½ gr.

192. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 74 gr.

193. Similar but very shallow dies.

Rev. Same. (1) 73 gr.

194. Similar bolder markings.

Rev. Same. (1) 72 gr.

195. Similar.

Rev. Same. (1) 73 gr.

196. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 74 gr.

197. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73½ gr.

On the above pieces 187–197 it looks as if the die cutter attempted to copy the Arabic word Sultan.

198. Imitation of an elaborate inscription resembling somewhat the Persian larins of Tahmasp I.

Rev. Similar. (1) 66 gr.

199. Similar.

Rev. Same. (1) 72 gr.

200. Similar, a good imitation of a Persian larin.

Rev. Similar. (1) 68½ gr.

201. Almost identical.

Rev. Same. (1) 69½ gr.

202. Similar.

Rev. Same. (1) 73 gr.

203. Similar.

Rev. Same. (1) 71½ gr.

204. Similar, badly worn.

Rev. Similar. (1) 67½ gr.

205. Similar.

Rev. Possibly from the same die. (1) 73 gr.

206. Similar.

Rev. Similar, possibly from another part of the same die. (1) 74½ gr.

207. Crosswise section from a similar die.

Rev. Crosswise section of die. (1) 73½ gr.

208. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 70½ gr.

This is an extremely narrow larin.

209. Similar.

Rev. Similar. (1) 73 gr.

This piece is unusual as it has been flattened out its whole length.

210. Similar.

Rev. Same. (1) 73 gr.

211. Similar but with diagonal lines going through the design.

Rev. Same. (1) 65 gr.

212. Similar but cruder and coarser work, double struck.

Rev. Same, double struck. (1) 61½ gr.

The fifteen larins Nos. 198–212 are probably earlier larins and are all somewhat worn. They all look as if they had been copies from larins of Tahmasp I and Mohammed Khudabanda of Persia. All have been bent in an irregular manner. See also Pl. I.

213. Die crudely cut, part only showing. The inscription is at the prong end, not the fold.

Rev. Similar. (1) 73½ gr.

214. Irregular scratchy lines.

Rev. Blank. (1) 72½ gr.

The die for this piece looks as if it had been etched rather than cut.

215. Part of scraggy design.

Rev. Similar. (1) 71 gr.

216. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (2) 73, 74 gr.

217. Same.

Rev. Crude markings divided by a straight line.

(1) 73½ gr.

218. Same as reverse of No. 217.

Rev. Blank. (3) 69, 71½, 73.

219. Similar.

Rev. Similar but coarser work. (1) 62 gr.

220. Similar to reverse of No. 217.

Rev. Small fragment of design. (1) 74½ gr.

221. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (3) 64, 73½(2).

222. Similar.

Rev. Probably the same. (1) 73 gr.

223. Similar but looking more like Arabic.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73 gr.

224. Similar but from a short die and struck in a continuous line four times. The design is partly off the flan.

Rev. Blank. (1) 75 gr.

225. Indefinite design repeated.

Rev. Same. (1) 54 gr.

226. Indefinite pattern.

Rev. Probably another part of the same die.

(1) 75 gr.

227. Similar but die more sharply cut.

Rev. Blank. (1) 60½ gr.

228. Similar very shallow die nearly obliterated.

Rev. Blank. (1) 64 gr.

229. Similar sharply cut die.

Rev. Faint, indefinite markings. (1) 74 gr.

230. Shallow markings probably from etched dies.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71 gr.

231. Similar to Nos. 49–54 but resembling an Arabic inscription.

Rev. Blank. (2) 67½, 71 gr.

Both of these pieces are counterstamped, probably by the die used to stamp the larin itself.

232. Similar.

Rev. Same. (1) 73 gr.

233. Design probably imitating a Persian coin of the period of Tahmasp.

Rev. Similar but lightly struck. (1) 70 gr.

234. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (2) 72 (2) gr.

235. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71½ gr.

236. Almost identical.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73½ gr.

237. Similar.

Rev. Same. (1) 72½ gr.

238. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73 gr.

The above six larins bear a great similarity to one another both in die work and striking and some of the pieces may show different parts of the same die.

239. Similar but a little coarser.

Rev. Same. (1) 72½ gr.

240. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 72½ gr.

241. Probably struck from a large round die imitating a Persian coin of the later 16th or early 17th centuries. That part of the inscription showing clearly indicates it was not struck from governmental coin dies.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73 gr.

242. Similar, the Arabic word for “struck” is probably intended.

Rev. Similar, the word Mohammed possibly intended. (1) 73½ gr.

The cut truncation of one of the prongs is counter-stamped, the only instance noted. Pl. IX.

243. Apparently a part of the Kalimah or Muslim creed.

Rev. Same. (1) 71½ gr.

244. Similar but more conventionally done. Stamped from a small die.

Rev. Same. (2) 71½, 74 gr.

245. Design, part of which resembles an S.

Rev. Blank. (3) 73, 73½, 74 gr.

246. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (3) 71, 73½, 74 gr.

247. Similar, design repeated.

Rev. Fair imitation of Arabic, repeated.

(1) 71½ gr.

This piece was flattened out the entire length.

248. Same.

Rev. Same as obverse. (3) 69½ (2), 72 gr.

249. Similar but from shallow dies.

Rev. Blank. (1) 73 gr.

250. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71½ gr.

The above two pieces are almost identical; the die-work is the same and they were undoubtedly struck from different parts of the same die.

251. Crude markings from very shallow die.

Rev. Probably from another part of the same die.

(1) 69½ gr.

252. Crude markings, possibly characters, one of which looks like the Devanagari M.

Rev. Similar. (2) 70, 73 gr.

253. Same.

Rev. Blank. (1) 74 gr.

254. Similar.

Rev. Similar but design more angular.

(4) 72½, 73, 73½ (2) gr.

255. Same as reverse of No. 254.

Rev. Blank. (1) 69 gr.

256. Similar.

Rev. Same. (1) 75 gr.

257. Similar but cruder.

Rev. Same. (1) 72 gr.

258. Same reverse as No. 12 (Parakrama Bahu).

Rev. Same. (2) 58½, 70 gr.

259. Similar but poorly cut.

Rev. Similar. (1) 74 gr.

260. Similar only small part of design showing.

Rev. Same. (1) 69 gr.

261. Similar (the design is badly battered).

Rev. Blank. (1) 65 gr.

262. Similar.

Rev. Possibly from same die. (1) 72 gr.

263. Similar.

Rev. Similar. (1)70½ gr.

264. Design in rough bold relief closely imitating Arabic.

Rev. Blank. (1) 75½ gr.

265. Very similar but in incuse rectangle.

Rev. Similar but not in rectangle. (1) 71 gr.

266. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (4) 64, 66½, 68½, 70 gr.

267. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 70 gr.

The sides of this piece have been carefully flattened and the piece was flattened before folding.

268. Similar but more or less indefinite.

Rev. Similar. (2) 66½, 68½ gr.

269. Similar but very roughly and crudely cut in high relief.

Rev. Blank. (1) 75 gr.

270. Similar, crude work.

Rev. Blank. (1) 70½ gr.

271. Similar crude sketchy work.

Rev. Blank. (1) 65½ gr.

272. Similar, partly obliterated.

Rev. Design in finer lines. (1) 66 gr.

273. Crude scratchy lines.

Rev. Same. (1) 65½ gr.

274. Similar but fine indefinite lines.

Rev. Same. (1) 66½ gr.

275. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (2) 54, 72½ gr.

The light specimen is of much finer gauge wire and of no greater length.

276. Thin scratchy lines.

Rev. Apparently the same, lightly struck.

(1) 73 gr.

277. Extended indistinct design.

Rev. Same. (1) 67½ gr.

278. Short design repeated.

Rev. Repeated curved lines resembling the Arabic la la la. (1) 75 gr.

279. Similar, shallow dies repeated.

Rev. Similar. (1) 71 gr.

280. Similar, twice repeated.

Rev. Same. (1) 71½ gr.

281. Similar, long design.

Rev. Same. (1) 72 gr.

282. Similar markings closer together.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71 gr.

283. Similar markings somewhat indefinite.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71 gr.

284. Similar, fine line clear markings.

Rev. Blank. (1) 71 gr.

285. Similar, fine indefinite lines.

Rev. Blank. (1)67 gr.

286. Crude markings resembling Arabic.

Rev. Same. (1) 71 gr.

287. Similar, but coarser work.

Rev. Blank. (1) 70 gr.

288. Crude markings.

Rev. Similar. (1) 70½ gr.

This piece was flattened before folding and looks as if the die had been made by etching.

289. Crude markings.

Rev. Blank. (1) 72½ gr.

Made from etched dies.

290. Similar longer inscription (?).

Rev. Blank. (1) 63½ gr.

Made from etched dies.

291. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (1) 70 gr.

Made from etched dies.

292. Design of skeleton-like lines.

Rev. Blank. (1) 72½ gr.

293. Indefinite crude markings.

Rev. Similar. (1) 72 gr.

294. Similar.

Rev. Same. (1) 68½ gr.

295. Unstamped.

Rev. Same.

(6) 64½, 66½, 68½, 72, 72½, 75½ gr.

All of the pieces have been flattened after folding, two very much so, and one has been flattened on the sides as well. All have test cuts, and have been made from varying gauges of wire. By their general appearance, at least four different people made them.


(a) Struck from Persian Coin Dies

296. Struck from coin dies of about the period of Ismail I or Tahmasp I of PERSIA (1502–1576) showing a small section of center and marginal inscription on each side.

For general type of coin see British Museum Catalogue, The Coins of the Shahs of Persia, Plate I, 18. (1) 72 gr.

297. Struck from coin dies of the period of Mohammed Khudabanda of PERSIA (1578–1587) showing small area on each side. (1) 72 gr.

Compare B. M. Cat. Shahs of PERSIA Pl. I, 27a.

298. Struck from dies of silver coin of Abbas I (1587–1629) minted at Tabriz in 1026 A. H. (1617 A. D.) (2) 74, 75½ gr.

299. Struck from dies of silver coin of Abbas I of a coarser type. (1) 67 gr.

300. Struck from early dies from the Kashan mint. The mint name Kashan within square shows clearly. (2) 62½, 74 gr.

301. Struck from early seventeenth century coin-dies from the Ganja mint. (1) 74 gr.

302. Struck from early seventeenth century coindies from the Kazvin mint. (1) 67 gr.

303. Struck from dies of coin of Abbas II (1642–1666). (2) each 74½ gr.

304. Struck from various coin-dies of seventeenth century Persian rulers, the mint, date or name of ruler not legible, as the pieces were either worn or poorly struck. In all cases only a small part is distinguishable, and in most cases the side that shows best is the one with the religious formula which gives no clue. (128) Av. wt. 71.27 gr.

One piece has been counterstamped and one piece has had the sides flattened. Nearly all of the pieces (Nos. 296–304) are made of heavy wire and have been neatly curved as shown by the first two larins on Plate I.

305. Struck on the two curved, rounded edges of the larin, leaving the obverse and reverse blank but flattened. (4) 69½, 71, 72½, 73 gr.

These pieces are an enigma. It was at first thought that they were struck by Persian coin dies accidently on the rounded sides, as the top and bottom had been purposely flattened to receive an impression. A further examination revealed the fact that they were struck after the pieces had been curved and therefore were struck in Ceylon. The reason, undoubtedly, was that they escaped detection until the last moment and were then struck on the only place they could then be stamped.

(b) Persian Inscriptions from Dies Made to Strike Larins

306. A long, well-written Persian inscription in which only the words Shah Tahmasp and possibly the words Kalad Allah (may God perpetuate) and the date 966 (1558 A. D.) can be made out.

Rev. In Persian characters consisting chiefly of upright lines the first part of the Kalimah (There is no God but God). (1) 73 gr.

The inscription on this piece does not conform with that generally given for larins bearing the name of Tahmasp I, which, for the most part, read Abu’l-muzaffar Tahmasp Shah Al-Husaini etc. See Catalogue of coins in the Colombo Museum, Pt. 1 by H. W. Codrington, 1914, pp. 55–58. The reverse may correspond with 47D.

307. Similar, the words Tahmasp and Kalad Allah Malika can be made out.

Rev. The more complete Kalimah can be seen showing the words “Mohammed is the Apostle of God.” (3) 64½, 67½, 75 gr.

Heavy one counterstamped, Pl. IX.

308. Similar.

Rev. Similar. (1) 73½ gr.

This piece is made of thin-gauge wire .085 inches and the wire used is 5 3/16 inches long. See Plate I and introduction, page 29.

Miscellaneous Arabic Inscriptions

(a) Intaglio Inscriptions

309. Incuse impression twice stamped from a coin of Abbas II of PERSIA showing part of the word Abbas and the date 1056 A. H. (1646 A. D.)

Rev. Blank (1) 68 gr.

310. Incuse impression stamped from coin.

Rev. Similar. (1) 70½ gr.

One prong counterstamped by a coin.

311. Similar.

Rev. Similar. (1) 71½ gr.

312. Similar.

Rev. Similar. (2) 73 gr.

313. Similar.

Rev. Blank. (5) 69½, 70, 70½, 75 (2) gr.

Too poorly struck or too worn to classify separately.

(b) Inscription in relief

314. In Persian dharb lari (struck the lari).

Rev. Dharb lari followed by a word I have not been able to read. (3) 68½, 70½, 74 gr.

315. Confused Persian inscription probably meant for dharb lari and the letters nun waw.

Rev. Same as reverse of No. 314.

(2) 72 (2), 74 gr.

316. Same as obverse of No. 315.

Rev. Same, but the continuation of the inscription shown, waw nun dal , senet (year) and the date 1029 (1619 A. D.) (1) 71½ gr.

317. Same as reverse of No. 316.

Rev. Same as reverse of No. 314. (2) 74, 74 gr.

The above pieces (Nos. 314–317) with respect to the words Dharb lari are similar to the larins which are known as the datestone type. 70 The style of writing and the general fabric are not at all alike however. (See Plate X, a-c).

318. Inscription on both sides struck from coindies, the word Sultan only can be clearly made out.

(3) 72½, 75, 75½ gr.

These possibly are Turkish larins struck at Basra; such have been found in Ceylon. 71

319. Inscription on both sides struck from coindies bearing a strong resemblance to the larins struck by the Kings of Hormuz. 72 (1) 74 gr.

320. Larins too worn or too poorly struck to decipher. (26) Av. wt. 70 gr.

End Notes
See Numismatic Chronicle Vol. XI (1849) p. 161, Vol. XIV (1853) P. 179, and J. A. S. B. New Series, Vol. VI, No. 11 (1910) p. 687 for accounts of these larins.


The following coins were found in the hoard.

Coins of Sinhalese Sovereigns of the Thirteenth Century 73

321. Copper coin of Sáhasa Malla (1200–1202 A. D.). Codrington, Ceylon Coins and Currency, Pl. IV, 81. (7) Pl. II, 1.

322. Copper coin of Dharmosoka (1208–1209 A.D.). Codrington Pl. IV, 82. (1) Pl. II, 5.

323. Copper coins of Lílávatí (1197–1200–1209–1210–1211–1212, A. D.). Codrington Pl. IV, 80. (2) Pl. II, 6.

324. Copper coins of Parákrama Báhu II (1236–1271 A. D.). Codrington Pl. IV, 84. (19) Pl. II, 8.

325. Copper coins of Vijaya Báhu IV (1271–1273 A. D.). Codrington Pl. IV, 85. (6) Pl. II, 13.

326. Copper coins of Bhuvaneka Báhu I (1273–1284 A. D.). Codrington Pl. IV, 86. (8) Pl. II, 15.

These 43 coins were heavily encrusted with a hard green patination. For further remarks concerning these, see introduction p. 5.

End Notes
Cat. of Coins in the Colombo Museum, Pt. I, by H. W. Codrington, p. 58.
See article by H. W. Codrington, Coins of Some Kings of Hormuz. Numismatic Chronicle, 4th Series, Vol. XIV (1914) p. 56.
These coins have been generally called massas, but this designation is incorrect as the massa is the one-twentieth of the kahavanuva, though later used as a general term for coin. One of the native names of the time, and the one considered the best by students today is Dambadeni kasi or salli.
Portuguese Silver Coins

Gridiron Type

327. Tanga. Crowned Portuguese arms between C–L° (Ceilão or Colombo) enclosed in a bead and two line circles.

Rev. The Gridiron of St. Lawrence between 16–40. Codrington, Pl. IV, 106. (2) 36½, 37 gr.

328. Tanga. Same but counterstamped with the VOC, with C(olombo) above monogram. This monogram of the Dutch East India Company was stamped on various foreign and earlier coins probably after 1661. (1) 35½ gr.

329. Tanga. Same but counterstamped with monogram of Galle (GAL) of 1655. (1) 35½ gr.

Codrington, Ceylon Coins p. 110.

330. Tanga. Similar but in lower relief and dated 1644. (1) 33½ gr.

This date very rare.

331. Tanga. Same but date partly obliterated. (1) 26 gr.

332. Tanga. Similar but G–A (Goa) in place of C–L°.

Rev. Similar but date 1645. (1) 34 gr.

Codrington Pl. IV, 107.

333. Tanga. Same but with the VOC counterstamp. (1) 34 gr.

334. Tanga. Similar but in higher relief and with 3İ (?(16)31) on each side of shield, bead and outer line circles.

Rev. Gridiron between S L (São Lourenço) within a bead, line and bead circle. (1) 38½ gr.

Codrington Pl. V, 114.

Malacca Type

335. Counterfeit Xerafim. Crowned Portuguese arms between A–M (Asia Malacca) within a bead circle.

Rev. Monogram TA(nga) between D–M (De Malacca); below, 1636. (1) 155½ gr.

Compare Grogan Sale 1315 and Colombo Mus. Cat. No. 78.

This piece and No. 347 are contemporary cast counterfeits, discernible under a strong glass. They were in the find as they had the same corrosion as had the other coins. The specimen in the Grogan Coll. (1315) and those in the Colombo Museum (77–78–79) weighed from 184.9 to 191.4 grains.

336. Tanga. Similar to above.

Rev. Similar but no date beneath monogram. Grogan Cat. 1313. (9) Av. wt. 47 gr.

337. Tanga. Same but counterstamped with GAL in monogram. (6) Av. wt. 47½gr.

Apparently none of the six countermarks are from the same punch.

338. Tanga. Same but counterstamped with the VOC monogram. (1) 46½ gr.

339. Tanga. Same.

Rev. Same but with date 1631 beneath monogram. (5) Av. wt. 47 gr.

340. Tanga. Same and dated 1631, but counterstamped with the GAL monogram. (3) Av. wt. 47 gr.

341. Tanga. Same but with the VOC monogram. (1) 47½ gr.

342. Tanga. Same.

Rev. Same, with date 1632. (4) Av. wt. 46½ gr.

343. Tanga. Same but counterstamped with the GAL monogram. (6) Av. wt. 47 gr.

344. Tanga. Similar but with date below shield 1633.

Rev. Same, but as the lower part was hot struck up it is impossible to tell if this side bore a date or not. (1) 47½ gr.

345. Tanga. Similar to No. 342.

Rev. Similar to No. 342 but date 1634. (3) 47, 48 gr.

The third specimen appears to be a contemporary cast counterfeit and weighs only 37 gr. Extremely rare.

346. Tanga. Same as above but dates obliterated, one has the Galle counterstamp. (3) 46, 47½ 47½ (cst) gr.

347. Counterfeit Xerafim. Similar but with M–A (Malacca) instead of A–M at sides of shield.

Rev. Similar but date 1635. (1) 162 gr. See note to No. 335.

348. Tanga. Similar (M–A).

Rev. Similar (1635). (3) 30, 45, 47 gr.

Very rare. The light specimen is a cast counterfeit.

349. Double Tanga. Crowned arms between G–A within a line, bead and line circle.

Rev. TA monogram between D–S (DeSeylão); below, 1644. (1) 69 gr.

360. Tanga. Similar.

Rev. Similar but date 1642. Grogan Cat. 1321. (1) 34 gr.

351. Tanga. Similar.

Rev. Similar but date 1643.

Grogan Cat. 1322. (1) 34½ gr.

352. Tanga. Similar but A–D (G reversed).

Rev. TA monogram between D–S (the S on an angle). Between D–S, first part of the date, 16. (1) 27 gr.

This piece is a contemporary forgery of the G–A: D–S tanga type, not only is the weight light but the metal is base.

Saint Type

353. Double Tanga. Crowned arms of Portugal between C–B (Chaul-Bassein) within line, bead and line circle.

Rev. St. John the Baptist standing, facing left, holding behind head cross and pennon. At sides image–(I); below, date 16–[?]6, are within line, bead and line circle. Counterstamped with VOC monogram. Unpublished. (1) 63 gr.

354. Double Tanga. Similar.

Rev. St. John standing, facing right, holding before him cross and pennon. At sides S—I; below 1643. All within line, bead and line circle. Grogan Cat. 1534. (1) 68 gr.

355. Double Tanga. Similar.

Rev. Similar but date 16–50. Grogan Cat. 1326. (1) 64½ gr.

The obverse die is badly broken.

356. Double Tanga. Similar.

Rev. Similar but date 16–52. Grogan Cat. 1329. (1) 64½ gr.

357. Double Tanga. Similar but image–D (Tanga de Diu) instead of G–A.

Rev. Similar but date 16–55. (2) 63½, 64 gr.

Both pieces are counterstamped with the VOC monogram and both coins are struck from the same pair of dies.


358. Tanga. Crowned arms of Portugal within a bead and line border.

Rev. Monogram TA within a bead and line border.

Codrington Pl. V, 111. Grogan Sale 1316. (1) 46 gr.

359. Tanga. Similar but counterstamped with the Galle monogram. Codrington 112. (1) 35 gr.

360. Tanga. Crowned arms between [D]–T, bead border.

Rev. Monogram TA within bead border. Unpublished. (1) 43½gr.

A second specimen of this coin from the Gampola find but countermarked the Colombo V.O.C. monogram is in Mr. Biddell’s collection. This piece was probably struck in the latter part of the fifteenth century as the crown strongly resembles that on the gold S. Thomé of 1595, compare Aragão Pl. I, No. 1 of D. Filippe I, and Grogan in Spink’s circular, 1914 Col. 91. This crown is unlike any of the later crowns. The form of the TA monogram is unlike any on the other issues and may be the earliest type. Mr. H. W. Codrington suggests the D. T. may stand for De Tuticorin. It certainly is a piece of local manufacture.

361. Tanga. Crowned arms between A–M, a dot above and beneath each letter, enclosed within line, bead and line circle.

Rev. TA monogram between RF, a dot before and after R and F, and four dots around the monogram. All within line, bead and line circle.

Codrington p. 103. Compare Aragão Pl. I, 7. (1) 45½ gr.

Counterstamped with the VOC monogram.


362. Two reals. Crowned arms of Spain; at left, image.

Rev. Cross, castles and lions in the four cantons. (1) 101 gr.

This piece on irregular flan was probably struck at Seville during the reign of Philip II in the latter part of the sixteenth century. Spanish coins were in circulation in Ceylon.






















Numismatic Notes and Monographs

  • David Eugene Smith, LL.D. Computing Jetons. 1921. 70 pp. 25 pls. $1.50.
  • Edward T. Newell. The First Seleucid Coinage of Tyre. 1921. 40 pp. 8 pls. $1.00.
  • Howland Wood. Gold Dollars of 1858. 1922. 7 pp. 2 pls. 50c.
  • R. B. Whitehead. Pre-Mohammedan Coinage of N. W. India. 1922. 56 pp. 15 pls. $2.00.
  • George F. Hill. Attambelos I of Characene. 1922. 12 pp. 3 pls. $1.00.
  • M. P. Vlasto. Taras Oikistes (A Contribution to Tarentine Numismatics). 234 pp. 13 pls. $3.50.
  • Agnes Baldwin. Six Roman Bronze Medallions. 1923. 39 pp. 6 pls. $1.50.
  • Howland Wood. Tegucigalpa Coinage of 1823. 1923. 16 pp. 2 pls. 50c.
  • Edward T. Newell. Alexander Hoards—II. Demanhur Hoard. 1923. 162 pp. 8 pls. $2.50.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. Italian Orders of Chivalry and Medals of Honour. 146 pp. 34 pls. $2.00.
  • Edward T. Newell. Alexander Hoards—III. Andritsaena. 1924. 39 pp. 6 pls. $1.00.
  • C. T. Seltman. A Hoard from Side. 1924. 20 pp. 3 pls. $1.00.
  • R. B. Seager. A Cretan Coin Hoard. 1924. 55 pp. 12 pls. $2.00.
  • Samuel R. Milbank. The Coinage of Aegina. 1925. 66 pp. 5 pls. $2.00.
  • Sydney P. Noe. A. Bibliography of Greek Coin Hoards. 1925. 275 pp. $2.50.
  • Edward T. Newell. Mithradates of Parthia and Hyspaosines of Characene. 18 pp. 2 pls. 50c.
  • Sydney P. Noe. The Mende (Kaliandra) Hoard. 1926. 73 pp. 10 pls. $2.00.
  • Agnes Baldwin. Four Medallions from the Arras Hoard. 1926. 36 pp. 4 pls. $1.50.
  • Edward T. Newell. Some Unpublished Coins of Eastern Dynasts. 1926. 21 pp. 2 pls. 50c.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. Spanish Orders of Chivalry and Decorations of Honour. 1926. 165 pp. 40 pls. $3.00.
  • Sydney P. Noe. The Coinage of Metapontum. 1927 (Part I). 134 pp. 23 pls. $3.00.
  • Edward T. Newell. Two Recent Egyptian Hoards—Delta and Keneh. 34 pp. 3 pls. $1.00.
  • Edward Rogers. The Second and Third Seleucid Coinage of Tyre. 1927. 33 pp. 4 pls. $1.50.
  • Alfred R. Bellinger. The Anonymous Byzantine Bronze Coinage. 1928. 27 pp. 4 pls. $1.50.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. Notes on the Decorations and Medals of the French Colonies and Protectorates. 1928. 62 pp. 31 pls. $2.00.
  • Oscar Ravel. The “Colts” of Ambracia. 1928. 180 pp. 19 pls. $3.00.
  • Howland Wood. The Coinage of the Mexican Revolutionists. 1928. 53 pp. 15 pls. $2.50.
  • Edward T. Newell. Alexander Hoards. IV. Olympia. 1929. 31 pp. 9 pls. $1.50.
  • Allen B. West. Fifth-Fourth Century Gold Coins from Thracian Coast. 1929. 183 pp. 16 pls. $3.00.
  • Gilbert S. Perez. The Leper Colony Currency of Culion. 1929. 10 pp. 3 pls. 50c.
  • Alfred R. Bellinger. Two Hoards of Attic Bronze Coins. 1930. 14 pp. 4 pls. 50c.
  • D. H. Cox. The Caparelli Hoard. 1930. 14 pp. 2 pls. 50c.
  • George F. Hill. On the Coins of Narbonensis with Iberian Inscriptions. 39 pp. 6 pls. $1.00.
  • Bauman L. Belden. A Mint in New York. 1930. 40 pp. 4 pls. 50c.
  • Edward T. Newell. The Küchük Köhne Hoard. 1931. 33 pp. 4 pls. $1.00.
  • Sydney P. Noe. The Coinage of Metapontum. Part II. 1931. 134 pp. 43 pls. $3.00.
  • D. W. Valentine. The United States Half Dimes. 1931. 79 pp. 47 pls. $5.00.
  • Alfred R. Bellinger. Two Roman Hoards from Dura Europos. 1931. 66 pp. 17 pls. $1.50.
  • Geo. F. Hill. Notes on the Ancient Coinage of Hispania Citerior. 196 pp. 36 dble. pls. $4.00.
  • Alan W. Hazelton. The Russian Imperial Orders. 1932. 102 pp. 20 pls. $3.00
  • O. Ravel. Corinthian Hoards (Corinth & Arta). 1932. 27 pp. 4 pls. $1.00.
  • Jean B. Cammann. The Symbols on Staters of Corinthian Type. (A catalogue.) 1932. 130 pp. 14 dble. pls. $3.00.
  • Shirley H. Weber. An Egyptian Hoard of the 2nd Century A. D. 41 pp. 5 pls. 1932. $1.50.
  • Alfred R. Bellinger. The Third and Fourth Dura Hoards. 1932. 85 pp. 20 pls. $1.50.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. South American Decorations and War Medals. 1932. 178 pp. 35 pls. $3.00.
  • Wm. Campbell. Greek & Roman Plated Coins. 1933. 226 pp. 190 + pls. $3.50
  • Edward T. Newell. The Fifth Dura Hoard 1933. 14 pp. 2 pls. $1.00.
  • Dorothy H. Cox. The Tripolis Hoard. 1933. 61 pp. 8 pls. 2 maps $1.50.
  • Edward T. Newell. Two Hoards from Minturno. 1933. 38 pp. 5 pls. $1.00.