Thailand’s Department of the Treasury and the Royal Thai Mint have unveiled new commemorative coins featuring the Thai elephant, a proud national symbol of Thailand and a species indigenous to Southeast Asia.
The coin’s design was unveiled on February 5 during the opening day of the World Money Fair in Berlin. The actual plaster sculptures went on display at the Royal Thai Mint booth, along with the coins themselves, allowing interested collectors to inspect them up close. It was the first time that commemorative Thai coins were unveiled overseas.
The Treasury announced the issue of a three-coin series that will include two denominations produced in gold and one minted in silver. The Royal Thai Mint had intended for the coins to be made available for sale during the World Money Fair but this was not logistically possible.
The Thai white elephant was specifically chosen to feature on these new coins with the approval of the King of Thailand, who has taken a personal interest in the habitat of these creatures. Due to deforestation and a lack of watering holes for the elephants, the King ordered related organizations to introduce the nation’s Forest Conservation project, the primary function of which is to protect and increase the elephant’s habitat. The King, an avid conservationist and agriculturalist, offered advice to local farmers on which crops to plant to prevent the elephants from encroaching on them and destroying their fields.
In 1998, in honour of the King’s efforts to preserve the habitat of the White elephant, raise awareness of this species, and remember their contribution to the defense of the nation during earlier wars, the government declared March 13 to be National Thai Elephant Day. Additionally, in 2001, Thailand’s National identity committee named the White Elephant as one of the country’s official national symbols.
The Proof-quality coins, which were struck by the Royal Mint in the United Kingdom, share the same obverse and reverse designs. The obverse features a three-quarter frontal portrait of HM King Bhumibol, who is the world’s longest reigning Monarch, having succeeded to the Thai throne in 1947. Below the King’s portrait is an inscription in English script: “His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.”
The reverse design depicts a mother elephant and offspring with the inscription, “Thai Wildlife,” along with “Elephant,” “Thailand,” the denomination, and the year of issue. This is the first time that English has been the sole language used on Royal Thai coinage.
|200 Baht||.999 Silver||31.2 grams||38.6 mm.||Proof||5000 pieces|
|2000 Baht||.99 Gold||7.8 grams||22 mm.||Proof||2000 pieces|
|4000 Baht||.999 Gold||31.21 grams||32.69 mm.||Proof||1000 pieces|
According to the department of the Treasury, this is the first official Thai coin issued to celebrate and honor the King’s passion for the conservation and presentation of Thai elephants.
The Thai elephant, especially the white species, is considered to be a prestigious symbol of Thailand and of the Thai monarch, and is portrayed on the Thai flag. The Royal Thai Mint has appointed an external distributor to organize the international sales for these coins, but further information has yet to be released.