Baht banknotes and coins
|ISO 4217 code||THB|
|Central bank||Bank of Thailand|
|Unofficial user(s)|| Laos
|Source||The World Factbook, 2011 est.|
|Freq. used||25, 50 satang, ฿1, ฿2, ฿5, ฿10|
|Rarely used||1, 5, 10 satang|
|Freq. used||฿20, ฿50, ฿100, ฿500, ฿1000|
|Mint||Royal Thai Mint|
The thai baht, like the pound, originated from a traditional unit of mass. Its currency value was originally expressed as that of silver of corresponding weight (now defined as fifteen grams), and was in use probably as early as the Sukhothai period in the form of bullet coins known in Thai as phot duang (Thai: พดด้วง). These were pieces of solid silver cast to various weights corresponding to a traditional system of units related by simple fractions and multiples, one of which is the baht. These are listed in the following table:12
|Unit (RTGS)||Thai spelling||Relative value||Value relative to baht||Notes|
|Bia||เบี้ย||1/100 at||1/6400||Bia is Thai for cowry, the shell of which was used as a trade medium of the same value.|
|Solot||โสฬส||1/16 fueang||1/128||Solot here literally means "sixteen" or sixteenth, referring to the fractional amount relative to a fueang|
|At||อัฐ||⅛ fueang||1/64||Likewise, at literally means eight.|
|Sio/pai||เสี้ยว/ไพ||¼ fueang||1/32||Sio means quarter.|
|Sik||ซีก||½ fueang||1/16||Sik means half.|
|Tamlueng||ตำลึง||4 baht||4||Thai version of the tael|
|Chang||ชั่ง||20 tamleung||80||Thai version of the catty|
The above system was in use up until 1897, when the decimal system devised by Prince Mahisorn, in which one baht = 100 satang, was introduced by king Chulalongkorn. However, coins denominated in the old units were issued until 1910, and the amount of twenty-five satang is still commonly referred to as a salueng, as is the twenty-five satang coin.
Until November 27, 1902, the baht was fixed on a purely silver basis, with 15 grams of silver to the baht. This caused the value of the currency to vary relative to currencies on a gold standard. In 1857, the values of certain foreign silver coins were fixed in law, with the one baht = 0.6 Straits dollar and five baht = seven Indian rupees. Before 1880 the exchange rate was fixed at eight baht per pound sterling, falling to 10 to the pound during the 1880s.
In 1902, the government began to increase the value of the baht by following all increases in the value of silver against gold but not reducing it when the silver price fell. Beginning at 21.75 baht = one British pound, the currency rose in value until, in 1908, a fixed peg to the British pound was established of 13 baht = one pound. This was revised to 12 baht in 1919 and then, after a period of instability, to 11 baht in 1923. During World War II, the baht was fixed at a value of one Japanese yen.
From 1956 until 1973, the baht was pegged to the U.S. dollar at an exchange rate of 20.8 baht = one dollar and at 20 baht = 1 dollar until 1978. A strengthening US economy caused Thailand to re-peg its currency at 25 to the dollar from 1984 until July 2, 1997, when the country was stung by the Asian financial crisis. The baht was floated and halved in value, reaching its lowest rate of 56 to the dollar in January 1998. It has since risen to about 30 per dollar.
Rama III (1824-1851) was the first king to consider the use of a flat coin. He did so not for the convenience of traders, but because he was disturbed that the creatures living in the cowry shells were killed. When he learned of the use of flat copper coins in Singapore in 1835, he contacted a Scottish trader, who had two types of experimental coins struck in England. However, the king rejected both designs. The name of the country put on these first coins was Muang Thai, not Siam5 Before 1860, Thailand did not produce coins using modern methods. Instead, a so-called "bullet" coinage was used, consisting of bars of metal, thicker in the middle, bent round to form a complete circle on which identifying marks were stamped. Denominations issued included 1⁄128, 1⁄64, 1⁄32, 1⁄16, 1⁄8, ½, 1, 1½, 2, 2½, 4, 4½, 8, 10, 20, 40, and 80 baht in silver and 1⁄32, 1⁄16, 1⁄8, ½, 1, 1½, 2, and 4 baht in gold. 1 gold baht was generally worth 16 silver baht. Between 1858 and 1860, foreign trade coins were also stamped by the government for use in Thailand.
In 1860, modern style coins were introduced. These were silver 1 sik, 1 fuang, 1 and 2 salung, 1, 2 and 4 baht, with the baht weighing 15.244 grams and the others weight related. Tin 1 solot and 1 att followed in 1862, with gold 2½, 4 and 8 baht introduced in 1863 and copper 2 and 4 att in 1865. Copper replaced tin in the 1 solot and 1 att in 1874, with copper 4 att introduced in 1876. The last gold coins were struck in 1895.
In 1897, the first coins denominated in satang were introduced, cupronickel 2½, 5, 10 and 20 satang. However, 1 solot, 1 and 2 att coins were struck until 1905 and 1 fuang coins were struck until 1910. In 1908, holed 1, 5 and 10 satang coins were introduced, with the 1 satang in bronze and the 5 and 10 satang in nickel. The 1 and 2 salung were replaced by 25 and 50 satang coins in 1915. In 1937, holed, bronze ½ satang were issued.
In 1941, a series of silver coins was introduced in denominations of 5, 10 and 20 satang, due to a shortage of nickel caused by WWII. The next year, tin coins were introduced for 1, 5 and 10 satang, followed by 20 satang in 1945 and 25 and 50 satang in 1946. In 1950, aluminium-bronze 5, 10, 25 and 50 satang were introduced whilst, in 1957, bronze 5 and 10 satang were issued, along with 1 baht coins struck in an unusual alloy of copper, nickel, silver and zinc. Several Thai coins were issued for many years without changing the date. These include the tin 1942 1 satang and the 1950 5 and 10 satang, struck until 1973, the tin 1946 25 satang struck until 1964, the tin 50 satang struck until 1957, and the aluminium bronze 1957 5, 10, 25 and 50 satang struck until the 1970s. Cupronickel 1 baht coins were introduced in 1962 and struck without date change until 1982.
In 1972, cupronickel 5 baht coins were introduced, switching to cupronickel-clad copper in 1977. Between 1986 and 1988, a new coinage was introduced, consisting of aluminium 1, 5 and 10 satang, aluminium-bronze 25 and 50 satang, cupronickel 1 baht, cupronickel-clad-copper 5 baht and bimetallic 10 baht. Cupronickel-clad-steel 2 baht were introduced in 2005.
In 2008, the Ministry of Finance and the Royal Thai Mint announced the 2009 coin series, which included changes in materials to reduce production costs as well as an update of the image on the obverse to a more recent portrait of the King. The two-baht coin, confusingly similar in color and size to the one-baht coin, was changed from nickel-clad low-carbon steel to aluminium bronze. New two-baht coin was the first of the new series released on February 3, 2009. Followed by satang coin in April, five-baht coin in May, ten-baht coin in June and one-baht coin in July 2009.
|Circulating Coins   (Thai)|
|Value||Technical parameters||Description||Date of first minting|
|1 satang 1||15 mm||0.5 g||97.5% Al, 2.5% Mg||King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Wat Phrathat Haripunchai, Lamphun||1987|
|5 satang 1||16 mm||0.6 g||97.5% Al, 2.5% Mg||Phra Pathom Chedi, Nakhon Pathom||1987|
|16.5 mm||99% Aluminium||2008|
|10 satang 1||17.5 mm||0.8 g||97.5% Al, 2.5% Mg||Phra That Choeng Chum, Sakon Nakhon||1987|
|25 satang||16 mm||1.9 g||Aluminium bronze||King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Wat Phra Mahathat, Nakhon Si Thammarat||1987|
|16 mm||1.9 g||Copper-plated steel||King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Wat Phra Mahathat, Nakhon Si Thammarat||2008|
|50 satang||18 mm||2.4 g||Aluminium bronze||King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai||1987|
|18 mm||2.4 g||Copper-plated steel||King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai||2008|
|1 baht||20 mm||3.4 g||Cupronickel||King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok||1986|
|3 g||Nickel-plated steel||2008|
|2 baht||21.75 mm||4.4 g||Nickel-plated low-carbon steel||King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Wat Saket, Bangkok||2005|
|21.75 mm||4 g||Aluminium bronze||King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Wat Saket, Bangkok||2008|
|5 baht||24 mm||7.5 g||Cupronickel clad copper||King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Wat Benchamabophit, Bangkok||1988|
|10 baht||26 mm||8.5 g||Ring: Cupronickel
Center: Aluminium bronze
|King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Wat Arun, Bangkok||1988|
|These images are to scale at 2.5 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the coin specification table.|
- The 1, 5 and 10 satang are very rarely seen in circulation.6 Even though the satang-denominated coins are legal tender, small shops usually don't accept them anymore.
- Older coins, some of which are still in circulation, only had Thai numerals, but newer designs also have Arabic numerals.
- The standard-issue 10-baht coin has, at the 12 o'clock position on the reverse, raised dots corresponding to Braille cell dot 1 and dots 2-4-5, which correspond to the number 10.
- 10-baht coins are very similar to 2–euro coins in size, shape and weight, and are likewise bi-metallic, although they are worth only 25 eurocents. Vending machines not equipped with up-to-date coin detectors might therefore accept them as €2 coins.7
- Many commemorative 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht coins have been made for special events. There also are 20, 50, 100 baht base metal commemorative coins and higher denomination precious metal coins as well.
In February 2010 the Treasury Department of Thailand has stated that they have been planning a new circulation 20 baht coin.8
In 1851, the government issued notes for ⅛, ¼, ⅜, ½ and 1 tical, followed by 3, 4, 6 and 10 tamlueng in 1853. After 1857, notes for 20 and 40 ticals were issued, also bearing their values in Straits dollars and Indian rupees. Undated notes were also issued before 1868 for 5, 7, 8, 12 and 15 tamlueng, and 1 chang. One att notes were issued in 1874.
In 1892, the Treasury issued notes for 1, 5, 10, 40, 80, 100, 400 and 800 ticals, called baht in the Thai text. The year 1902 marked an important landmark in the inauguration of paper money in Thailand.9 On September 19, 1902, the government introduced notes which were printed by Thomas De La Rue & Company Limited, England during the reigns of King Rama V and Rama VI, denominated 5, 10, 20, 100 and 1000 ticals, still called baht in the Thai text—each denomination having many types,10 with 1 and 50 tical notes following in 1918. In 1925, notes were issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 100 and 1000 baht with the denomination in both Arabic and Thai numerals without English text;11 English speakers continued to refer to these as "ticals".12
In 1942, the Bank of Thailand was founded and took over responsibility for the issuance of paper money. 50 baht notes were briefly reintroduced in 1945, with 50 satang notes issued in 1946. The one baht note was replaced by a coin in 1957 and the five baht was replaced in 1972. 50 baht notes were again reintroduced in 1985, with the 10 baht note replaced by a coin in 1988. The EURion constellation has been used on the reverse of 100 and 1000 baht note since 2003. Older notes are occasionally still found in circulation, for example 10 baht notes, and these can usually be spent without problem. In any case, they can be exchanged for free in banks.
On July 27, 2010, the Bank of Thailand announced that the 16th series banknotes will enter circulation in December 2010.1314 On August 9, 2012, the Bank of Thailand issued a new denomination banknote, 80 baht, to commemorate Queen Sirikit's 80th birthday.15 It was the first Thai banknote that featured Crane's Motion security thread.
- Images of banknotes have been removed lest they infringe copyright,16 but may be viewed at the Thai-language article linked in the margin.
|15th series Banknotes |
|Value||Dimensions||Main Colour||Description||Date of issue|
|20 baht||138 × 72 mm||Green||King Bhumibol Adulyadej in the uniform of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces||King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII)||3 March 2003|
|50 baht||144 × 72 mm||Blue||King Mongkut (Rama IV)||19 March 2004|
|100 baht||150 × 72 mm||Red||King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and King Vajiravudh (Rama VI)||21 October 2005|
|500 baht||156 × 72 mm||Purple||King Nangklao (Rama III)||1 August 2001|
|1000 baht||162 × 72 mm||Brown||King Bhumibol Adulyadej; Pa Sak Jolasid Dam||25 November 2005|
|These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.|
|16th series Banknotes **17|
|Value||Dimensions||Main Colour||Description||Date of issue|
|20 baht||138 × 72 mm||Green||King Bhumibol Adulyadej in the Royal House of Chakri gown||King Ram Khamhaeng the Great on the Manangkhasila Asana Throne; invention of the Thai script; Ramkhamhaeng stele||1 April 2013 18|
|50 baht||144 × 72 mm||Blue||King Bhumibol Adulyadej in the Royal House of Chakri gown||King Naresuan the Great pouring water on the ground (symbolizing the declaration of independence); Statue of Naresuan the Great on elephant (1593); Phra Chedi Chai Mongkol temple (Phara Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province)||18 January 2012 19|
|These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.|
In addition to the banknotes currently in circulation (above), numerous commemorative notes have been issued:
- 5 baht (1969): Date of the inauguration of the Note Printing Works, Bank of Thailand (commemorative text added to regular 5 baht notes)
- 10 baht (1969): Date of the inauguration of the Note Printing Works, Bank of Thailand (commemorative text added to regular 10 baht notes)
- 60 baht (1987): King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 60th birthday
- 50 baht (1990): Princess Mother Srinagarindra's 90th birthday (commemorative text added to regular 50 baht notes)
- 500 baht (1990): Princess Mother Srinagarindra's 90th birthday (commemorative text added to regular 500 baht notes)
- 1000 baht (1992): Queen Sirikit's 60th birthday (commemorative text added to regular 1000 baht notes)
- 10 baht (1996): 120th anniversary of the ministry of finance (commemorative text added to regular 10 baht notes)
- 50 baht (1996): King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 50th Anniversary of Accession to the Throne (polymer note)
- 500 baht (1996): King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 50th Anniversary of Accession to the Throne (polymer note)
- 500 baht (1996): King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 50th Anniversary of Accession to the Throne (a different emblem)
- 1000 baht (1999): King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 72nd birthday (a different emblem)
- 50 baht (2000): 50th Anniversary of Royal Wedding of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit
- 500,000 baht (2000): 50th Anniversary of Royal Wedding of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit
- 100 baht (2002): The Centenary of the issuance of Thai Banknotes
- 100 baht (2004): Queen Sirikit's 72nd Birthday
- 60 baht (2006): 60th Anniversary Celebrations of Bhumibol Adulyadej's Accession to the throne
- 16 baht (2007): King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 80th birthday (1, 5, 10 baht)
- 100 baht (2010): King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 60th Anniversary of Coronation Day and the 60th Anniversary of the wedding of the King and Queen Sirikit
- 100 baht (2011): King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 84th birthday
- 80 baht (2012): Queen Sirikit's 80th birthday15
- 100 baht (2012): Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s 5th Cycle (60th) Birthday Anniversary15
Ngoen (เงิน) is Thai for silver as well as the general term for money, reflecting the fact that the baht (or tical) is foremost a unit of weight for precious metals and gemstones. One baht = 15.244 grams.20 Since the standard purity of Thai gold is 96.5%, the actual gold content of one baht by weight is 15.244 × 0.965 = 14.71046 grams; equivalent to about 0.473 troy ounces. 15.244 grams is used for bullion; in the case of jewellery, 1 baht should be more than 15.16 grams.
The Bank of Thailand adopted a series of exchange controls on December 19, 2006, which resulted in a significant divergence between offshore and onshore exchange rates, with spreads of up to 10% between the two markets. Controls were broadly lifted on March 3, 2008 and there is now no significant difference between offshore and onshore exchange rates.21
Current THB exchange rates
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- "The History of Siamese Money". Welcome to Chiangmai & Chiangrai. June 16, 2010. Archived from the original on March 28, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
- "เหรียญกษาปณ์ของไทย (Coins of Thailand)". Thai Heritage Treasury (in Thai). Ministry of Defense. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
- de Campos, J.J. (1941). "The Origin of the Tical" (free PDF). Journal of the Siam Society (Siam Heritage Trust). JSS Vol. 33.2c (digital). Retrieved June 23, 2013. "From the earliest times in Southern Burma, the weight adopted were not the Chinese liang or tael or its variants, but the Indian bahur and the viss, the latter being divided into 100 ticals. It is this Burmese tical, which was and continues to be in Burma the designation of a definite weight of uncoined silver or its compound, that throws light on the problem of the Thai tical."
- "Banknotes, Series 1". Banknotes > History and Series of Banknotes >. Bank of Thailand. February 23, 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012. "... Each denomination had many types which were printed by Thomas De La Rue & Company Limited, England....."
- ."The History of Siamese Money". Welcome to Chiangmai & Chiangrai. June 16, 2010. Archived from the original on March 28, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2011. "Cowry shells from the Mekong River had been used as currency for small amounts since the Sukhothai period. Rama III (1824-1851) was the first king to consider the use of a flat coin"
- Eliot, Joshua. Thailand Handbook. 2003 Footprint Travel Guides page 32
- Gibbs, William T. (February 11, 2002). "Thai bahts causing euro problems - 10-baht coins work in place of 2-euro coins in machines". Coin World. Amos Press. Archived from the original on March 2, 2009.
- Wararat; Sumit (February 26, 2012). "Thai Banknote Evolution". Bank of Thailand. "By Royal Command, the Siamese Currency Notes Act, R.E. 121 was promulgated on June 24, 1902."
- "Banknotes, Series 1". Bank of Thailand. February 26, 2012. "The design was printed only on one side; so the note was called 'Uniface Banknote'. There were 7 denominations...."
- "Banknotes, Series 2". Bank of Thailand. February 26, 2012. "on the back side was the picture of the Royal Ploughing Ceremony. This type of banknote was called 'Ploughing Ceremony Note'."
- Duncan Stearn (27 June – 3 July 2003). "Rise of state-sponsored militarism and socialism". Pattaya Mail (Pattaya: Pattaya Mail Publishing Co) XI (26). Retrieved February 18, 2012. "'Does Japan dominate Siam?' I asked a leading Englishman in Bangkok. He laughed quietly: 'Have you any Siamese money?' he asked. I drew out a five-ticul note (about 2 dollars 50c). 'Read what is printed at the foot of the note,' he commanded. I read, 'Thomas de la Rue and Co., London'. With calm confidence he said: 'As long as the word ‘London’ stands on that Siamese bill, it is not Japan but another little island which will have the larger say in the Kingdom of Siam.'"
- "New banknotes coming in December". The Nation. 2010-07-28. Retrieved 2010-07-28. "new Thai banknote will circulate in December 2010"
- Thailand to issue new note family in December 2010
- "The Introduction of Two Commemorative Banknotes on the Auspicious Occasions of Her Majesty the Queen’s 80th Birthday Anniversary 12 August 2012 and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s 5th Cycle Birthday Anniversary" (PDF). Press release No. 36/2012. Bank of Thailand. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- Wararat, Service Manager. "Reproduction of Thai banknotes". Bank of Thailand. Retrieved November 27, 2011. "In Thailand, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) has the sole right to design, produce, issue, circulate and manage Thai banknotes. The reproduction of Thai banknotes is protected by the Copyright Act B.E. 2537 Ch.1 Pt.5 §27 (2) communication to public."
- "ธปท.เปิดตัวแบงก์ 50 ใหม่ เริ่มใช้ 18 ม.ค.-ปลอมยาก!". ASTV Manager Daily. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
- "ธปท.ออกใช้ธนบัตรชนิดราคา 20บาท แบบใหม่". Than Setthakij. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
- "A sure bet or fool's gold?", Bangkok Post 2010-01-10
- "UPDATE 1-Onshore and offshore Thai baht converge, c.bank seen". Reuters. 3 March 2008.
- Cecil Carter eds., The Kingdom of Siam 1904, reprint by The Siam Society 1988, ISBN 974-8298-13-2, Chapter X Currency and Banking
- Krause, Chester L., and Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0873411501.
- Pick, Albert (1994). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: General Issues. Colin R. Bruce II and Neil Shafer (editors) (7th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-207-9.