New book covers first series of Siam banknotes from 1902

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Although the first Thai banknotes were issued in 1851, it was not until 1902 that reforms based on European practices set new standards for the use of paper money in the country.

This first series of 5, 10, 20, 100, and 1,000 baht notes were announced on September 7, 1902, and the specimens used in their development are the subject of a major new book by veteran merchant Jan Olav Wilborn. Aamlid, a Norwegian who has made Thailand his home for several decades.

Siam Specimen Banknotes, first series, is a 246-page large-format color book based on the author’s personal collection, a collection he built up over the last 22 years of the 40 years he collected Thai paper money.

The collection began when, in June 2000, printer Thomas de la Rue began selling specimen Thai banknotes from his archives, first through Spink in Singapore and Hong Kong, then in London. Aamlid was not only a buyer at these sales, but he also acquired notes from other auction houses, private collectors, and De la Rue himself. Many notes presented in the book are very rare, others unique.

The book includes not only 80% life-size photos of both sides of the banknotes from the collection, but also original letters from the Rue archives and the Siamese Minister of Finance (as Thailand was then called ) in Bangkok. and embassy in London.

One of his many interesting revelations is why the word “baht” is used in Thai on notes but “tical” in English. These are two units of mass. But since the tical was better known to foreigners trading in the region, correspondence between De la Rue, the embassy, ​​and the royal ministries in Bangkok concluded that the tical should be used as the English designation of value.

For more information, contact the author, Jan Olav Aamlid at [email protected]

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