My ancient coin collection is like 50% European (80:20 Roman and Greek), and the other half Asian (mostly South Indian). So when I came to know the the ancient Tamil region and Sri lanka traded with the Romans, and that they even produced imitations of Roman coins, I knew I had to have one, as these coins will really bridge my East-West coinage!
Back in the days, merchant ships from Rome would sail using the monsoon winds to South India and stay in the local Tamil kingdoms of the Pandyas, Cheras, and Cholas for months do trade goods, Romans would bring glassware, wine, gold and silver, and buy pepper, pearls, ivory, and it's even possible that they got the tigers from the tropical forests to take back to Rome!There was even a Temple for Augustus built in the Chera port city of Muziris, as described on the 4th century map of Tabula Peutingeriana. So not only the Roman culture was familiar with the natives, but also their coinage, while there are extensive records of 1st century coinage, there isn't much of trade from the 2nd and 3rd century, but there is a resurgence from Constantine era, as even Julian the Apostate received ambassadors from the Pandya king around 361 AD.These particular coins came from an unnamed hoard from Sri Lanka, they are dated around 5th century AD when Sri Lanka was ruled by the Pandu kings of the Pandya lineage, and must have been in circulation until the 7th century. These are crude and weighs between 0.8-1.5 grams, while the official coins weigh between 2-3 grams.
Ex Alexander Fishman collection
First coin is based on the FEL TEMP REPARATIO aka fallen horseman type, weighing 0.89 grams, the reverse is mirrored, my guess is the engraver just copied the official coin in the die and when struck, the coin came out like this. I find the style on this coin simple yet elegant.
Second is a coin based on the Gloria Exercitus type, what I like about this coin is that the engraver's attempt to copy the Latin words! It weighs 1.55 g.
Third one is curious, the reverse was probably copied from a cross, however we see a Swastika, an auspicious symbol for the Hindu/Buddhist religions. Here we see the locals taking in the Roman culture, however they knew to separate the religion! It weighs 0.82 g.
I also got an official Roman coin from one of the hoards, looks like Constans from the Heraclea mint! this coin has traveled nearly 5000 miles from the place of its origin! 1.73 g. As well as an unknown coin smooth as a pebble that weighs 2.3 g!