Paper Money

Who does Thailand's newest special note honor?

The Bank of Thailand announced on Aug. 2 the nation’s second commemorative bank note for its royal family in a matter of months. It issued 20 million 500-baht notes Aug. 11 in honor of Queen Sirikit’s seventh cycle or 84th birthday celebration. 

In June, Thailand introduced a 70-baht note to commemorate the 70th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the throne. 

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The face of the new note is similar in all respects to the current 500-baht note, equivalent to $14, with its portrait of the king. The difference is on the back, which is dedicated to the queen. At the center is a portrait of her in a Thai Boromphiman costume. Other design elements include an image of the royal family, the queen inspecting products manufactured in royally sponsored projects, and the flowers named after her, which are a Queen Sirikit Cattleya and Queen Sirikit Rose.

The notes are distributed through at all commercial and state-owned banks and also through 10,000 ATMs that have been affixed with a sticker saying the machine has the commemorative bank notes.

Guides to Thailand explain that in Thai culture, special occasions such as birthdays are celebrated in 12-year cycles linked to the animals of the zodiac, where each year is symbolized by a different animal. The end of one 12-year cycle and the start of another one is celebrated because it brings one back to their birth-year animal.

About the earlier note

The Bank of Thailand on June 9 issued 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, 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.

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.

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