1841 - 1890 - Ceylon
Coffee Mills Tokens

The majority of the copper tokens were issued by Coffee Mills in Ceylon during the years when there was a dearth of small change prior to 1870. A minority were struck later until the early 1880's. When the decimal currency system was introduced in 1869 and coins expressed in cents or divisions came into circulation in 1872, the need for special tokens or tallies decreased and by the year 1890 the majority of the estates and firms were using the legal coin. No copper tokens were ever struck for the Government factories.

Coffee-Planting in Ceylon is described in article published in 1851 June by Harper's Magazine, New York.

In 1889, J. Atkins included 5 specimens in his list. In 1895, Lt. Col. B. Lowsley cataloged 43 in his monograph on the Coins and Tokens of Ceylon which appeared in the Numismatic Chronicle. In 1940 and 1945, Sidney K. Eastwood lists 47 in Numisma which was privately printed in Pittsburgh. In 1953 Scaife of Pittsburgh lists 65 in a series of articles in the ANA Numismatist. In 1961 Pridmore catalogs 120 of which the extra are mostly of local fabrication. Only about a dozen have mint dates. Mitchiner lists a subset of 15 pieces struck in well equipped mints in England or India. The other dates given below are from published records if available.

1843< George Steuart & Co., GS&Co counter-mark : 1 Stiver 1802 coin - 1815 coin; 1828 Half-Farthing coin

184? Gona Adika? - (incuse) G A token; G A - Small tokens

186? J.H&G.S - Gona Adika Estate : Full token; Half token

1853 Alistons, Scott, & Co. Columbo token

1856 James Swan & Co., Colombo, Ceylon - St. Sebastian Mills token - Marandhan Store token

1858 J P Green & Co. Colpetty Mills 4D½ token

1859 A & B Scott & Co. Colombo - Coffee Store, token

185? A. G. K. Borron Brass token, in Tin token and Borron token.

185? George Bird - Full token; Half token; Quarter token

185? Unidentified - M G : Full token; Half token

1860 Darley, Butler & Co., Colombo, Ceylon : Full token; Half token

1866 Ceylon Company Limited, ST Sebastian Mills : C token - patern; B token; A token;

1866 Keir, Dundas & Co. Kandy : tortoise tokens; Ship token; elephant token

1867 Lee Hedges & Co, Colpetty Mills token

1868 J. M. Robertson & Co. : Vauxhall Mills token; Oil Yard token

186? Tatham & Co, Colombo, Ceylon. Sudduwelle Mills token

186? Unidentified - 4D½ - M.D.D.&Co. token

186? Unidentified - 4D½ : G.R.P&Co. token

186? Pilo Fernando Mill Colombo - Coffee Picker's Chit : 4D½ token; 2D¼ token

186? Maclachlan Mackenzie & Co token

186? George Wall & Co : GWC token; Cotanchina Mills token; Mutwal Mills token; and half value tokens

18?? C. H. de Soysa token

187? Unidentified - AKBDA : 25 Cents token; 10 Cents token

1872 G & W Leechman, Hultsdorf Mills Colombo Ceylon Black token and Brown token Vulcanite

1873 Carey Strachan & Co., Union Mills token

1876 James Perera Jayatilleka, 19 Cents token

1876 Lee Hedges & Co, Demattagodde Mills token

1876 The Colombo Commercial Co. Limited., Slave Island Mills token

1877 Sabonadière & Co. : Ambewatte Mills token; Maddema_Mills token

187?J. Allemakkoon Colombo Ceylon - 18½ Cents token

187? Unidentified - J.A.R & Co. Colombo - 18 Cents token

187? Unidentified - TC Counter Marked tokens

18?? C. Shand & Co : Galle token; P.S token; S.S token

1881 George Steuart & Co., Ceylon - Wekanda Mills token

188? J. Walker & Co Kandy token

189? Wellawattha Spinning & Weaving Mills, Colombo token

19?? Panawatte Estate Shop 50c token


At the end of his list of 120 Ceylon Tokens Pridmore comments
A large number of other miscellaneous pieces have been traced which are claimed as Ceylon Tokens, but their fabric.style and inscriptions do not compare with the normal series. In the absence of definite information, these have been excluded.

1??? Uncataloged - Unidentified - Punched Duit coin

1??? Uncataloged - Unidentified - (incuse) UMS token


Listed above are Tokens in my personal Lakdiva coin collection, as well as any tokens linked with italics associated with the companies, of which I have obtained images from other collectors.

Linked below are index pages to more Estates and Companies of 19th Century Ceylon contributed from other collections and not linked above.

These tokens are difficult to find in nice condition useful for scans. In addition to being interested in purchasing tokens I don't have from anyone at an affordable price, I also welcome contributions from any collector of 600 dpi images of tokens not posted at this website.


See also
184? Anglo.American. 3-Anna token (Indian)


As Tea cultivation took over from coffee, the old mills were pulled down or converted to other purposes such as pressing cinchona and balking and packing tea and cocoa.

Scaife(1953) says he was fortunate to aquire many of his specimens from a comprehensive collection formed by Mr R. H. Bassett, of Kandy, and of the Ceylon Civil Service, where he was Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Mr Bassett stated that during 1932 he had agents combing all of the former coffee plantations and other areas in his behalf, so as to obtain as many specimens and varieties as possible.

Pridmore in the Ceylon section of his catalog Lists Lowsley(1895), Sidney Eastwood(1940) and Verner Scaife(1953) in bibliography while acknowledging William Woodside. I find it an interesting coincidence that the last three numismatists named are from Pittsburgh, USA where I resided for 8 years and purchased the first few Ceylon Coffee Tokens for this Collection in 1998. I have reason to believe that most of the Coffee Tokens I have purchased in Pittsburgh came from their collections.

Reference
* Coins and Tokens of Ceylon, Lieut. by Col B. Lowsley, 1895; Num. Chron. Sr III Vol. XV
* Coffee Tokens of Ceylon by Sidney K. Eastwood, 1940 and 1945; Numisma Vol 1 #3 and #5
* British Colonial Coins and Tokens J. Verner Scaife Jr. 1953, The Numismatist Vol 66 #8 814-822 ; #9 926-931
* The Coins of British Commonwealth of Nations to the end of the reign of George VI 1952
Part 2 - Asian Territories by F. Pridmore, 1965, Spink & Son Ltd., Tokens
* Oriental Coins AD 600 - 1979 by Michael Mitchiner 1979

Tokens put online at LakdivaCoins Collection website.