Sri Lanka launches coin series to commemorate Buddhist anniversary

May 11, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Thursday launched a series of commemorative coins to celebrate the 2550 anniversary of the Buddha, the Central Bank said. The coin series comprising 2,000 rupees, 1,500 rupees and 5-rupees, were issued at the request of the Religious Affairs ministry, the bank said.

The 2,000 rupee gold plated silver coin features the Bodhisathva Siddhartha and seven lotus blossoms. Round in shape, it has a 38.61 millimeter diameter and weighs 28.28 grams.

The coin will be issued in a presentation box and will be sold at 7000 rupees.

The 1,500 rupee silver coin, comes in a commemorative box priced at 5,000 rupees.

Minted in sterling silver, the coin has a 38.61 millimeter diameter and weighs 28.28 grams.

The design of the coin is similar to the 2,000 rupee issue.

Minted in brass depicting the Sri Pada Mountain, the 5-rupee coin will be put into circulation immediately, the bank said.

As with other 5-rupee coins in circulation, the commemorative issue will have the same shape, weight and colour.

Public can buy the commemorative coins from May 15 at the Central Bank Currency Museum, Rajagiriya, Religious Affairs Ministry and selected branches of the Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank.

In 1957, Sri Lanka issued a 5-rupee silver coin to commemorate 2500 Buddha Jayanthi, or the 2500 year in the Buddhist calendar.

Shortly after minting, most of the original coin batch was melted, but the coins are popular among numismatists.

The Buddhist calendar starts with the passing away of the Lord Buddha which is known as Parinirvana or the attainment of eternal bliss. Nearly 70 percent of the island’s 19.5 million people practice Buddhism.

– LBO Newsdesk