At the Eurseree auction #55 in June this year, a world record was set for a Thai banknote with a solid or lucky number. It was a 100 Baht Banknote Fifth Series with the serial number 88888. The bidding started at Baht 250,000 and the buyer ended up paying Baht 800,000. When records like this are set, collectors and others who are in possession of some banknotes often have a closer look at their banknotes hoping to find a treasure.
And many do find something that might be of interest to others. CEO of Eurseree Collecting Vitoon Eurtivong decided in Auction #56 to have a special section in the auction called “Solid Numbers and Lucky Numbers” which resulted in an impressive group of 143 lots in this category. These banknotes will be sold on Sunday, 30 August 2020, at the Narai Hotel in Bangkok.
From First Series, there is offered a 5 Baht Banknote dated 15 July 1919. It does have the prefix A/28 and the number 33333. The starting price is Baht 300,000. It is graded to be VF, Very Fine. In the same auction, there is offered a 5 Baht First Series dated 1 December 1913 in the same condition but no solid number. For this, the starting price is Baht 100,000. It will be interesting to see how much more a collector is willing to pay for a solid number compared with a regular number.
The highest starting price for a banknote with a solid number in the sale is Baht 380,000. It is for a 5 Baht banknote Third Series described having a super solid number, prefix K/7 and 77777. The banknote has the portrait of King Prajadhipok, Rama VII. The note is dated 1 July 1934 and graded by PCGS, Professional Coin Grading Services, to be 35, VF. 70 is considered to be the best grade. Rama VII was the first Siamese King to give his permission to have an image of his portrait on a banknote.
In the sale there is another 5 Baht Third Series with Rama VII portrait dated 18 February 1935 graded to be VF. With no solid number the starting price is Baht 25,000. Actually, this note is printed after 2 April 1935 when the printer Thomas de la Rue & Company Limited London was instructed by the Ministry of Finance in Bangkok to ante-date all banknotes of the Third Series to be printed prior to 2 March 1935 when Rama VII abdicated.
A 20 Baht Ninth Series, Type VI, also has a super solid number with prefix Y/333 and number 333333. The starting price is Baht 100,000 and it is graded by PCGS to be 64. If it is not too important to have a super solid number and can accept a banknote with a different number in the prefix, those banknotes have starting prices of around Baht 5,000 depending on the grade. But those looking for banknotes with the number 999999 and a different prefix number must expect to pay quite a lot more. A 20 Baht Ninth Series with prefix Y/45 and number 999999 has a starting price of Baht 50,000.
The banknote with the highest starting price is an 1874 Royal Siamese note, an emergency issue, One Att. It is graded by PCGS to be 30 Details VF. The starting price is set at Baht 500,000.
The first Thai Banknotes issued for Thailand were the First Series announced on 7 September 1902. The Minister of the Royal Treasury, H.R.H. Prince Kitiyakara Vorolaksana of Chanthaburi showed great interest in the production of banknotes. The Prince was regularly in contact with the producer, Thomas de la Rue & Company Limited London.
In the early years when a new series, banknote or a change was to take place of the artwork, banknotes and watermarked paper were sent to Bangkok for approval. This was very time consuming and not very practical. H.R.H. Prince Kitiyakara arranged so that this was the duty of the Siamese Ministers, Ambassadors to the United Kingdom, to approve banknotes and the watermarked paper as long as it was not a major change. For major changes the approval was to take place in Bangkok.
One important part of the security measures for banknotes at the time was the watermarked paper. This was also in most cases approved by the Siamese Ministers in London. H.E. Phya Sudham Maitri was the Siamese Minister to the United Kingdom for 8 years and approved many of the First Series artworks, watermarked papers and specimen notes. In the auction there are three watermarked papers, 5 Ticals, 10 Ticals and 20 Ticals. The 5-and 10 Ticals are the most interesting as both are originally signed as approved by H.E. Phya Sudham Maitri.
The producer Thomas de la Rue & Company Limited London would deliver three pieces of what was needed to be approved to the Siamese Legation in London. After they were signed and dated as approved, the Minister would return one example to Thomas de la Rue & Company Limited London, one would be sent to the Ministry of Royal Finance in Bangkok and one would be kept by the legation.
The three watermarked papers in the auction are in aging tone as they have been kept in Thailand, either the ones kept by the Siamese Legation in London and transferred to Thailand or the ones from the archives of the Ministry of Royal Finance. This is often the case for banknotes kept in a humid country.
Those kept in the archives of the producer Thomas de la Rue & Company Limited London are normally in a very nice original condition. The signed and dated 5 Ticals, July 18, 1914, have a starting price of Baht 120,000. The 10 Ticals, not signed or dated, starts at Baht 100,000 and the 20 Ticals, signed and dated 14 January 1913 starts at Baht 120,000.
Another section in the sale is called “Graded Thai Coins and Medals”. In this section there are 333 lots of high graded material. The 2019 “Coronation of Rama X” Platinum proof medal, weighing 240 grams, with the King’s portrait on the obverse and the Royal Seal on the reverse has a starting price of Baht 1,250,000. The mintage was announced to be not more than 1,000 pieces, but it is believed that just over 200 were struck. The medal is graded by NGC, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation to be in the highest grade 70.
A very popular coin is the 2 Baht ND (1863) struck during the reign of King Mongkut, Rama IV. It is graded by PCGS to be MS64 and is an excellent strike and tone on both sides. The starting price is Baht 150,000, but I assume the buyer will have to pay more because of the pleasing appearance of the coin.
For collectors of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, flat coin, there is on offer the one Baht ND (1900) with the “Short Tail”. This is missing in many collections and it is offered graded by PCGS to be MS65+. The starting price is Baht 40,000 but I assume the price will be much higher both because of rarity and the high grade. The one with “Long Tail” is also offered in the sale graded by PCGS to be MS64, starting price at Baht 15,000.
King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, visited Europe in 1907 during which time he spent quite some time in Norway. His Majesty went all the way up to North Cape where His Majesty engraved his initials on a stone. The stone is still exhibited at the “Sala Thai” at the North Cape plateau. In 1997 a medal was produced to commemorate 90th Anniversary of the visit. On the obverse are the portraits of H.M. King Chulalongkorn and H.M. King Haakon. The reverse shows the stone at North Cape where King Chulalongkorn, his entourage and the craftsmen who actually engraved the initials on the stone. A gold proof medal, 43mm, is offered with a starting price of Baht 140,000 graded by PCGS to be PR70DC, the highest grade. The mintage is only 20 and this is number 14.
There is a great interest for old Thai coins. Pod Duang, Bullet Coins are unique in their more than 600-year history. Several of these are offered in the sale. From 1200 A.D. to 1700 A.D. Northern ancient money Kakim (Jiang Money) was produced. They were produced in different towns and the one in the sale is from Rung in beautiful condition. Starting price is Baht 60,000.
Previous auctions conducted after the pandemic broke out, mostly behind closed doors, have resulted in record prices. It will be interesting to see the result of this auction and whether the economy will influence the result. The price of gold during the past year has gone up around 30%. Probably this will influence the interest in buying gold coins, even though in the sale there are mostly collector’s coins which are sold for quite a lot more than the gold price.
The catalogue for the auction can be found on www.eurseree.com. During the two-day Eurseree Collecting sale on 29 and 30 August 2020, there will also be a great variety of stamps, antiques, documents, books, coins, medals and banknotes on sale. The sale will be conducted by floor bidding, by absentee bids, postal, mail, fax and telephone.