On Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st March, the Thailand International Numismatic Fair took place at the Ambassador Hotel in Bangkok. Unfortunately, not many of the International Dealers who normally participate attended because of the pandemic and travel restrictions. Some 20 dealers set up their tables and the two leading grading companies Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Society (PCGS) also participated.
The Thai Treasure Department setup a large booth selling coins, medals and books. Very popular were set of 10 pieces of 20 Baht coins, which were sold at their face value of Baht 200.
The collection comprised of the following coins.
After the description of each coin is the estimated value for each coin according to the “Standard Thai Coins Catalogue 2019”. The total value of the 10 coins is estimated in the catalogue to be Baht 890.
Each person was allowed to buy up to 5 sets for the face value of Baht 1,000. The catalogue value was Baht 4,450. A Thai national had to present their ID card to be able to register and a foreigner had to present his or her passport. Hundreds of people lined up wanting to buy the coins. Word spread that collectors were willing to pay 200 baht premium for the set of coins, so a large number of motorbike taxis lined up to buy the coins, so they could resell them for a handsome profit to supplement their income during these hard economic times.
For beginners, collecting the historically interesting 20 Baht coins is a good start into their new-found interest in numismatics. Plus buying 5 sets for Baht 1,000 is a good deal especially because the buyer has duplicates for selling or trading.
But still, the exhibition lacked the excitement and pleasure of meeting foreign participants. We hope that things will return to normal at the Thailand International Numismatic Fair 2022 when we will see international dealers attending the fair and the Treasury Department will be offering more interesting coins for sale at face value.
Mr. Yuttana Yimgarund, Director General of the Treasure Department presided over the opening of the Thailand International Numismatic Fair 2021. In his speech the Director General congratulated the Numismatic Association of Thailand for arranging the Third International Numismatic Fair and said that he was looking forward to continuing the cooperation with the association in the coming years.
The Director General also emphasized on the importance of fairs like these were everyone could come and ask for information and advice about coins, medals and banknotes, especially the younger and not so experienced collectors. The Director General spent quite some time at the fair looking at exhibits, dealer’s tables and talking with collectors. The Director General is on the advisory board of the Numismatic Association of Thailand.
The Director General was presented with copies of several articles which were written by Jan Olav Aamlid and published in the “Coins of the Realm” pages of the Pattaya Mail The Director General showed a keen interest in the articles and displayed them to the press from many television stations and newspapers.
Several interesting informative talks and presentations were given. Mr. Booyarit Srivises, (centre) whose nickname is ‘Bank’ not surprisingly spoke about Banknotes. He systematically informed the audience about Thai banknotes issued during WWII which were printed in Thailand and Japan. From time to time there was a quiz and winners were presented with a banknote issued during WWII. Mr. Bank is the operator of the Khempetch Antique.
During the exhibition, Mio Thana and Jan Olav Aamlid from the House of Coins were interviewed by reporters from national TV channels. They were curious as to why so many foreigners were collecting Thai Coins, Banknotes and Medals. We told them that the history of Thai coins and banknotes is a very interesting one. Thai coins have been produced in many sizes and shapes until 1857 when the first flat coin for circulation was produced.
Thailand has many nice and interesting medals that have been and are being issued. They include banknotes which were first produced by Thomas de la Rue & Company Limited London in 1902, until the ones produced in Thailand and Japan during WWII and to the inauguration of the Note Printing Works of the Bank of Thailand in 1969.
For the third time Coca Cola was one of the major sponsors of Thailand International Numismatic Fair. As has been done before the company produced a uniquely designed Coke bottle for the event. They have become a valuable collector’s souvenir item. I too am among the many collectors who have all three of the commemorative Coke bottles produced specially for the Thailand International Numismatic Fair.
The following weekend, on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 April the Eur-Seree Collecting 58th Sale took place at Narai Hotel in Bangkok. 310 persons registered for the sale where Thai Philately, Buddha-Casting Alloys, Bullet Coins, Banknotes, Medals and Coins were sold. Out of the 310 persons who registered, 248 of them spent 56,419,804 Baht. The combined starting price was around 35,000,000 Baht. This means that the final selling price was more the 50% higher than the starting prices.
Proof 1/8-, ¼-and 1 Baht silver coins ND (1900), issued during the reign of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V. The coins were graded by NGC to be PF66, PF67 and PF65. The set had a starting price of 600,000 Baht and sold for 740,000 Baht, a record-breaking price. In auction #57 another set, which was not quite as nice, was sold for 450,000 Baht.
Coins from King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, with portrait and Coat of Arms in good quality graded by PCGS and NGC sold for record-breaking prices. A 1-Baht RS124 (1905) graded by PCGS to be MS64 sold for 98,000 Baht. The starting price was 45,000 Baht. Some years ago the catalogue price in UNC (Uncirculated) was 10,000 Baht.
MS70 is the best grade, but coins from this period are rarely seen graded better MS64-MS66. A ¼ Baht (Salueng) RS126 (1907) graded by PCGS to be MS65 sold for Baht 105,000. The starting price was Baht 25,000.
The same coin in MS61, four grades lower, and quite beautiful was sold for 8,400 Baht with a starting price of 6,000 Baht. Some years ago the catalogue price in UNC was 12,000 Baht.
The obverse of the very first modern Thai non-monetary medal has the Cornet on a golden tray flanked by Royal umbrellas with the date CS1232 (1870) on a ribbon below. The reverse bore the image of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, the monogram which stands for “Somdej Phra Paramindra Maha Chulalongkorn” over the numeral 5 representing the 5th reign. The medal was issued to commemorate King Chulalongkorn’s 17th Birthday.
It was also the price medal for making illuminations for the Grand Palace and other Royal residences. One medal is known in gold, it is known in gold-plated silver, silver, white metal and copper. The copper medal turns up from time to time but the medals in the other metals are rarely sold. In the Eur-Seree last auction one copper medal in nice condition, graded by PCGS to be MS64. The starting price was 120,000 Baht and it sold for 130,000 Baht.
The most expensive medal in the sale was the 240 grams, 60 mm proof medal from 2554 (2011). The medal commemorates the 7th Cycle Birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX. Only 748 pieces were issued at a price of 550,000 Baht. The starting price in the auction was 700,000 Baht and it was sold for 800,000 Baht.
Many were surprised when the 20 Baht, Ninth Series, Type I with the prefix F12 went under the hammer. This rare note was produced by Thomas de La Rue & Company Limited London. The note is not really a beauty, it was described by the auctioneer to be F (Fine), split at folding, hole and light stains. The starting price was 30,000 Baht with several bidders competing for the item. The winning bidder had to pay 200,000 Baht. The catalogue price in F is Baht 120,000 so probably the starting price was on the low side.
The market for solid numbers is very good. A 500 Baht, Thirteenth Series, with the super solid prefix and number 9E9999999 graded by PCGS to be 66 Gem Unc had a starting price of 100,000 Baht but many bidders wanted this fascinating banknote with the popular number in their collection, so the bidding ended at 440,000 Baht.
Stacks & Bowers conducted an auction in Hong Kong on the 6th to the 8th of April. Two 4-Baht (Tamlung) ND 1864 were in the sale. One was graded by NGC to be MS61+ which, according to the catalogue is the finest graded by NGC, with a deep grey cabinet tone and charming eye appeal. It was estimated to be worth US$ 40,000 -50,000. The coin was not sold, as it did not reach the reserve price, which was US$ 40,000.
It is speculated that the reason that there was no buyer for this coin is because of the damaged rim on the obverse at about the 11.30 o’clock position. It is difficult to determine whether the coin was damaged after striking or that the planchet was flawed.
The second 4-Baht (Tamlung) ND (1864) in the sale was graded by NGC to have UNC details but had been cleaned. I have not seen the coin, but it looked very nice in the photograph. This was estimated to be worth US$15,000 to 20,000. It sold for US$26,000 plus the buyer’s fee of 20%, so the buyer ended paying a total of US$ 31,200, about 983,000 Baht.
In Eur-Seree auction #57 in December last year two of these interesting coins were sold. The one graded by PCGS to be AU58 sold for 800,000 Baht and the other PCGS graded to have AU details but had been cleaned sold for 400,000 Baht. In addition the buyers at the Eur-Seree auction had to pay a buyer’s fee of 10.7%.
This beautiful and interesting 4-Baht Tamlung ND struck in 1864 during the reign of King Mongkut, Rama IV. It was struck to commemorate Rama IV’s 60th Birthday. On the obverse is the Crown with rays flanked by umbrellas, with three branches in the background and bordered by 32 stars, each star represent one Fuang, 1/8 Baht.
The reverse displays the central inscription “Kingdom of Siam” within a cubed star frame with the Chinese inscription around “Cheng Ming Tung Pao”. “Cheng Ming” is the name of Rama IV in Chinese and “Tung Pao” means “lawful money”. This coin is also struck in gold and the King permitted these coins to be used as decorations. It is not likely that these coins, even if they were “lawful money” were actually circulated.
Many believed that the coin, medal and banknote market would be quiet during this difficult time were auctions take place behind closed doors and coin shows are cancelled. Heritage Auctions did on 27th March this year sell a fabulous coin, the Great Britain Edward VII gold Pattern 5 Pounds 1937 graded by NGC to be PR67 Ultra Cameo for US$ 2,280,000, about 72 million Baht. The coin was part of the Paramount collection and is according the Heritage not come to auction in the last 20 years. King Edward VII, the uncle of Queen Elizabeth II, abdicated after only 10 1/2 months to marry a commoner Wallis Simpson, the woman he loved. All coins issued for King Edward VII are extremely rare.