Paper Money

How long does it take to sell 20 million notes?

The Bank of Thailand announced on May 30 that it would issue 20 million 70-baht (the equivalent of about $2 in U.S. funds) commemorative bank notes celebrating the 70th anniversary of the reign of Thailand‘s much-revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is also known as Rama IX. 

The notes were sold to the public for 100 baht each with part of the additional proceeds from each sale designated for presentation to the king. When they went on sale June 9, people lined up at the offices of at least a half dozen banks. Buyers were limited to two notes each, yet despite the very high amount printed, the entire issue sold out within hours 

International dealer Jan Olav Aamlid, who lives and works in Thailand, says that despite the sales limitations, the new note “is sold in the secondary market for 120 to 130 Baht, and it looks like dealers and others bought large quantities of the notes hoping to make a quick profit.”

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The face of the note depicts the king in the uniform of the supreme commander of the Armed Forces wearing several decorations. The reverse shows a younger version of him in full regalia holding the Sword of Victory and standing in front of the throne.

The note measures 89 millimeters by 162 millimeters with at least five major security features publicized by the bank: (1) The portraits on both sides are done with intaglio printing that can easily be felt by touch. (2) The Thai denomination on each side is printed with glitter ink. (3) Color-shifting ink in the Arabic numeral “70” on the back changes from gold to green upon tilting. (4) A hidden numeral “70” inside the garuda bird on the face becomes visible when the note is viewed from a certain angle. (5) Finally, fluorescent ink causes the radial pattern behind the portrait on both sides to glow yellow under ultraviolet light.

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