BankNotes from Ceylon (Sri Lanka)

19th Century British Colonial : 1800 to 1884

Under British colonial rule the early 19th century saw Banknotes of varied currencies, denominations and formats issued in Ceylon by the General Treasurry and many Private Banks, untill the task was taken over by the Commisionors of Currency, for the Government of Ceylon.

Government of Ceylon, General Treasury
Value was stated in English, Sinhala & Tamil - No Interest

Rix Dollar Notes 1800-1824
1800          : RD 25, 50, 100
1814          : Colombo ; RD 1 note, 2, 5 ලන්කවේ(sic)
1820          : Colombo ; RD 2, 5 notes ලංකවේ
1820-1830 : Colombo ; RD 1, 2 note, 5 ; With Dry Stamp

British Sterling Notes 1825-1856
1827-1850 : Colombo : Silvester & Co £1, £2 proofs, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 (in English Only)
1850-1855 : Colombo : Perkins Bacon & Petch £1, £2, £5 notes

Private Banks : 1844 to 1884
Value was stated in English, Sinhala & Tamil

Bank of Ceylon : 1844-1849
1844 :         Colombo : £1, £2, £5, £10, £20, £50 notes

The Mercantile Bank of India, London & China - Ceylon Branch Notes
Printed at Batho & Co with Britannia Design
1857 :         Colombo 5s note
The Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London & China - Ceylon Branch
Sterling Era : Pounds
1858-1863 Colombo - 10s, £1, £5, £10
1858 :         Kandy - 5s, 10s specimens (in English Only)
Printed by Perkins Bacon & Co London, with Royal Crest Design
1864-1869 Colombo - 10s, £1, £5, £10, £50 notes
1864-1869 Kandy - 10s, £1, £5 notes
Decimal Era : Rupees
1870-1884 Colombo - Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes
1870-1884 Kandy - Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 50 notes
1880-1884 Galle - Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 100 notes

The Asiatic Banking Corporation Notes
Large Uniface
1864-1866 Colombo 10s, £1, 5, £10 notes;
                  Kandy 10s, £1, £5, £10 notes
Smaller printed on Both faces
1864-1866 Colombo 10s note
                  Kandy 10s note

The Oriental Bank - Ceylon Branch Notes
Uniface Printed by Batho & Bingley, London.
1846-1850 Colombo - 10s, £1, £5, £10 notes
The Oriental Bank Corporation
Uniface undated Printed by Perkins Bacon & Co London.
1851-1859 Colombo - Rs 5 proof - Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 1000 notes
Biface dated before adoption Decimal
or the equivalent in the Currency of the Island
1860-1869 Colombo - Rs 5, Rs 10 notes - Rs 50 note
1860-1869 Kandy - Rs 5, Rs 10 notes
1864-1869 Jaffna - Rs 5, Rs 10 notes
1864-1869 Badulla - Rs 5, Rs 10 notes
1866-1869 Galle - Rs 5, Rs 10 notes - Rs 50, Rs 100 notes
1860-1869 Ceylon - Rs 5 proof
Biface dated after Decimal Rupee Currency
1870-1880 Colombo - Rs 5, Rs 10 notes - Rs 100 note
1870-1880 Kandy - Rs 5, Rs 10 notes
1870-1880 Badulla - Rs 10 note
1870-1880 Galle - Rs 5, Rs 10 notes
1870-1880 Haldamulla - Rs 5, Rs 10 notes
1876-1880 Ceylon - Rs 5, Rs 10 proofs (for Newera Ellia)
Biface dated Printed by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co Engravers &c. London.
1881-1884 Colombo - Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 50, Rs 100 notes
1881-1884 Kandy - Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 100 notes
1881-1884 Jaffna - Rs 5, Rs 10 notes
1881-1884 Badulla - Rs 5, Rs 10 notes
1881-1884 Galle - Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 50 notes
1881-1884 Newera Ellia - Rs 5, Rs 10 notes

Images mostly from Spink Auctions, particularly the Banknotes of Ceylon Auction in London on 2011 April 14th. This Auction listed Signed, Remainders, Specimens and Proofs of the full range of 19th century Banknotes of Ceylon issued from Banks in Colombo and all of their other branches in Ceylon. It was reported in the local media. With prices of each note exceeding £2,000 and beyond the reach of most Local collectors I had arranged with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, to bid and try bring this collection back to Ceylon. However on the day of this Auction, the anonymous owner of collection cancelled the Auction. The first time in Spink History. Who owns this invaluable collection of Ceylon Banknotes is sadly Unknown.

I thank Thomas Hockenhull of British Museum for having the Bank of Ceylon 2 Pound note imaged and confirming it's size, WaterMark and text below resolution of image posted.

I thank Claire Twinn, Global Functions Archives Manager, HSBC Holdings PLC, London for sending me the 200 dpi scan of two notes from the HSBC Collection. Reproduced with the permission of HSBC Holdings plc (HSBC Archives).

More images are found in book History of Coins and Currency in Sri Lanka by G. P. S. H. de Silva published in 2001 Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The book references the set of copies displayed at CBSL Currency Museum which being colorless are probably photocopies before the digital era obtained many years ago from HSBC Archive. These Images printed reduced in size have about 24 dpi resolution
Image of these notes were not found online. If available please contribute. Thanks.

Text from Auction catalog and my own observations. It is clear after making this linked webpage that the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (SCWPM) Specialised Issues needs a major update.
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