Paper Money

Researcher releases next volume on Siam specimen notes

The second book in Jan Olav Aamlid’s projected five-part series on the specimen bank notes of Thailand was just published.

Image courtesy of Jan Olav Aamlid.

The second book in Jan Olav Aamlid’s projected five-part series on the specimen bank notes of Thailand was just published.

Siam Specimen Banknotes Second Series concentrates on notes produced for Thailand in England by Thomas De La Rue & Company Ltd.

Researching the book necessitated several visits to the note printer in Basingstoke, Hampshire, where the author discovered in the archives information never previously disclosed. He also met with retired De La Rue archivist Ray Marshall, who provided additional useful information.

For the first series of Thai bank notes, the Thai (then Siam) government contacted the Bank of England and asked them to print its bank notes. The bank declined but suggested De La Rue, who designed and printed them.

When the second series was to be introduced, several companies were invited to tender bids. The competition between them is one of the new book’s subjects, as are bank notes with secret marks, and the approval process for the Type I and Type II notes of the second series. Also included are images of letters from the Ministry of Finance in Bangkok, the Siamese Legation in London, and the De La Rue company.

Although he is Norwegian, Jan Aamlid has spent most of his time living in Thailand for several decades. He has been collecting Thai bank notes for 40 years and the specimen notes that form the basis of his book for 22. He started concentrating on them when De La Rue started selling from its archives. In addition to buying direct from De La Rue, he acquired some at the auctions of Spink and others, and from private collectors.

Eighty-four bank notes, most of them specimens, are described and illustrated. Aamlid explains that in contrast to his first volume, the photos for the new book were not taken using backlighting. This is because the second series was printed without watermarks. Other secret marks were the main devices used to detect forgeries.

The book is in A4 format (8.3 inches by 11.7 inches), in color, with a hard cover and 171 pages. In total 999 copies were printed, offered for $60.00 each. Contact the author and publisher at

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