The Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London & China
Ceylon Branch - 1864-1869 - Colombo

Currency Notes in Sterling issued from 1864 by The Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London & China, Ceylon Branch in Colombo, with an engraving of Royal Crest and printed by Perkin Bacon & Co, London. Note that the value in vernacular Sinhala and Thamil is also given Rupees, as the Indian Rupee was the familiar currency in circulation. One Pound Sterling equal to Ten Rupees.

Denomination: 10 Shillings
Note Color: Brown
HandStamp Color: Green
English : Ten
Sinhala : රුපියල් පහයි
: පවුඬ් බාගයයි
Thamil : ரூபாய் ஐந்து
: அரைப் பவுண்ட்
Size : 175 x 108 mm
Date : 1 Jan 1867
Status : Signed
Pick-lk S117
Denomination: 1 Pound
Note Color: Blue
HandStamp Color: Red
English : One
Sinhala : රුපියල් දහයයි
: පවඬ් එකයි
Thamil : ரூபாய் பத்து
: ஒரு பவுண்ட்
Size : 175 x 108 mm
Date : 18__ < 1870
Status : Specimen
Pick-lk S118
Denomination: 5 Pounds
Note Color: Green
HandStamp Color: Red
English : Five
Sinhala : රුපියල් පකහයි
: පවඬ් පහයි
Thamil : ரூபாய் ஐம்பது
: அஞ்த பவுண்ட்
Size : 175 x 108 mm
Date : 18__ < 1870
Status : Specimen
Pick-lk S119
Denomination: 10 Pounds
Note Color:
HandStamp Color
English : Ten
Sinhala : රුපියල් වකයිපයි
: පවඬ් දහයි
Thamil : ரூபாய் நூறு
: பத்து பவுண்ட்
Size : 175 x 108 mm
Date : 18__ < 1870
Status : Proof on Card
Pick-lk S120
Denomination: 50 Pounds
Note Color:
HandStamp Color:
English : Fifty
Sinhala : රුපියල් පන්සියයයි
: පවඬ් පනහයි
Thamil : ஐந்நூறு ரூபாய்
: ஐம்பது பவுண்ட்
Size : 175 x 108 mm
Date : 18__ < 1870
Status : Specimen
Pick-lk Unlisted

Front: On a decorated rectangular wide border centered on top CEYLON BRANCH. on bottom, පවඬ් Denomination in Sinhala on left and Denomination பவுண்ட் in Thamil on Right. Within border on top Center, below arced legend INCORPORATED BY ROYAL CHARTER crowned British Royal Coat of arms within belt with legend HONO SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE (French motto of the order of Garter translates to "Shame be to him who thinks evil of it") supported by lion on left and unicorn on right. Lion standing left on crown. Below in scroll DIEU ET MON DROIT (The French motto of the Monarch of the United Kingdom, translates to God and My Right.)
On either side numeric Denomination in decorate, with රුපියල් Denomination in Sinhala above on left and Denomination ரூபாய் in Thamil on right.
Below centered No ##### COLOMBO ____ 18__ No ##### .
Within shaded rectangle THE CHARTERED MERCANTILE BANK OF INDIA, LONDON & CHINA Promises to pay bearer on demand at its Branch in COLOMBO in the Currency of the Island DENOMINATION POUNDS value received
Below By Order of the Court of Directors above in one line Entd _____ ACCOUNTt ______ MANAGER
In small text within border in lower left corner PERKINS BACON & Co, LONDON
The value in words DENOMINATION on five interlocking circles Hand stamped in color.
Back: Ornate Spirographic designs with Numeric Value within on either side.
WaterMark: Need to Findout

The Sinhala script has been written obscenely for Rupees Fifty රුපියල් පනහයි (as sic පකහයි) and for Rupees One Hundred රුපියල් එකසියයි (as sic වකයිපයි) These Errors in Sinhala Text corrected when it commenced note issue in Rupees, after monetary reform in 1869. Note also however that The Asiatic Banking Corporation notes and The Oriental Bank Corporation notes of the 1860's had the Sinhala and Thamil Text written correctly.

Note also the Thamil  பவுண்ட் denomination in 5£ note அஞ்த(Añta) rather than ஐந்து (Aintu) Same in notes issued in Kandy. It has been underlined in this specimen, maybe for correction.
The Thamil is also reversed ஐந்நூறு ரூபாய் in highest 50£ note, as is the order used for all subsequent post decimal notes issued.

Text and Images from Auction listings mostly from the 2011 Spink Auction of 19th Century Ceylon Notes. It listed Uniface Specimen Proofs on card of Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London and China, Ceylon Branch, Colombo Shillings and Pounds. 10s, 1, 5 and 10. Auction Images at about 67 dpi

Images of back of note most often not printed in Auction listings are from book History of Coins and Currency in Sri Lanka G. P. S. H. de Silva 2001 Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The book references the set of copies displayed at CBSL Currency Museum which were probably obtained many years ago from HSBC Archive.
These Images printed reduced in size have about 24 dpi resolution
Reverse image was not found online. If available please contribute. Thanks.
Notes are displayed at 50 dpi.

Please contact kavan @ if I have made errors in encoding the Thamil in Unicode.