Paper Money

Bank of Thailand to release new polymer 20-baht bank note

The Bank of Thailand unveiled on Jan. 20 a new polymer 20-baht bank note that is scheduled for release on March 24.

Images courtesy of the Bank of Thailand.

The Bank of Thailand unveiled on Jan. 20 a new polymer 20-baht bank note that is scheduled for release on March 24.

The bank explains its reason for changing from cotton paper to polymer is to make the notes cleaner and more durable. The 20-baht note, worth about 61 cents U.S., is the lowest value and most widely used denomination, so it is therefore the most prone to being worn out and soiled, compared to the 50-, 100-, 500- and 1,000-baht notes.

The new note is printed on De La Rue’s Safeguard polymer substrate and CCL’s Guardian substrate. It has the same design and features as the paper note, with a portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua in his Royal Thai Air Force uniform on the face, and portraits of King Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulalok (King Rama I) and King Phra Buddha Lertla Naphalai (King Rama II) on the back.

New security features are employed. Clear windows can be seen through from both sides. The lower one shifts colors from translucent yellow to red. For the visually impaired, the upper window has an easily touched and felt small numeric 20 in embossed numbers.

The bank touts the main advantage of the new note: non-porous polymer does not absorb moisture and dirt. Well-known dealer Jan Olav Aamlid, who has lived in Thailand for several decades, confirms that this has been a severe problem in the country’s hot and humid climate. He says he has loads of 20-baht notes in his wallet, that they show their wear easily, and that as the lowest value, people do not seem to take care of them, making matters worse. The 20-baht note is so dominant that he says. “I rarely see a 50 baht note.”

The switch is interesting to him since the other circulation polymer note Thailand has issued is a 50-baht issue. When the denomination was first issued in 1985 it was made of paper. In 1997, it was produced in polymer. The one issued in 2011 was again in paper, as continues today.

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