Coin and Paper Money Collecting/Expert Profile

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Dr Kavan Ratnatunga

Sri Lanka

I can only answer any question regarding Paper Money, coins and Tokens that circulated in Ceylon/Sri Lanka of any era which extends back to 300 BCE. I maintain website and which may help you identify your banknote or coin. If Country is any other or unknown, coin should have been found in Sri Lanka. Please Do not ask questions about any coins or currency of other countries including USA. Thank You.

Experience in the area

I maintain since 1998 the largest website on Ceylon/Sri Lankan coins and Tokens with over 900 pages.


Former President Sri Lanka Numismatic Society founded in 1976


Sunday Times NewsPaper of Sri Lanka. See


BSc MS PhD in Physics/Astronomy Diploma in Museology

Awards and Honors

Contributor on Ceylon/Sri Lanka for Krause Standard Catalogs of World Coins and Paper Money.

What do you like about this subject?

Lanka has a written history of over 2500 years and coins have been used over nearly the full period. However being a small nation the total number of coins issued is small enough to study all of them, and create a significant collection. There is also a lot of diversity in the types of Lankan coins.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

I started my website in 1998 to display the ancient history of Lanka on the Internet through Numismatics. I hope to expand my website to show as far as possible a complete collection of Coins, Tokens and Paper Money of Ceylon/Sri Lanka,

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

Lanka had a set indigenous coins which are dated back to the 2nd Century BC that all have the "Railed Svastika" on the obverse, as the Royal Insignia for the nation. These coins are not found in India, and the same insignia is seen at the end of ancient Lankan stone inscriptions to represent Royal Authority.

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

I have found in some ancient hoards of both silver and copper, coins which don't have even a trace of punch marks or design on them. These coins appear to be older than the Punch Mark coins which were used in the 3rd century BCE, and may represent the oldest form of coinage in South Asia, and as old as the most ancient Chinese, Greek and Roman coins.

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hemanth kumar03/19/17101010Thanks very much
Ilya12/06/16101010Swift, clear, useful!
Ruwantha11/24/16101010Thank you, this is very helpful..
Sampath10/29/16101010Very helpful
Sampath10/28/16101010Superb advice

Recent Answers from Dr Kavan Ratnatunga

2017-02-10 Sri Lanka Commemorative coins definitive list:

The primary coin page is at  from which there are links which link to definitive issues.  There is also  which links

2016-12-06 2 Rupees coin:

There was only a commemorative issue of the Rs 2 in 2012  and in 2013 coin was minted in Stainless Steel, not nickel plated like from 2005

2016-11-24 Coins & notes:

I agree that Irfan down chatham Street has crazy prices. That is well known.  He seems to find ignorant Foreigners with limited time to sell to.  The others are OK but they are not cheap since supply is

2016-10-28 1945 50 rupees:

From an image on the web one can never be sure a currency not is genuine  since you can't see security feature like watermarks etc.   You need to trust in the Guarantees the eBay gives you on purchases

2016-10-28 1945 50 rupees:

As with all notes value Depends on the condition of the Note.  SCWPM says  US$175 VG and US$700 for VF and does not list price for Unc.   Maybe higher in Sri Lanka, but 1945 is the more common date.  


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