February 13, 2009

Two-baht coin changes color, artwork

Have you seen this yet? The new two-baht coins now have a golden hue, with subtle changes to the artwork.

According to the coin's entry on Wikipedia (geez, they have articles on everything), they were released on February 3rd.

The new metal is aluminum bronze, replacing nickel-coated low-carbon steel. Its info page on the Thai Treasury website provides further details: the aluminum bronze alloy consists of 92% copper, 6% aluminum, and 2% nickel.

The overall look of the coin is the same, with His Majesty the King on the obverse, and Wat Saket on the reverse. However, the artwork has changed subtly, having been redesigned for the new version of the coin. His Majesty's likeness is larger, and there are also subtle changes on the reverse.

The new coins were minted, as the Thai numerals show, in 2551, aka 2008. The Treasury website says the date the coins were announced (วันที่ประกาศใช้) is February 5, 2008. That's a full year ago--did they mean 2009, or there is a large gap between announcement and release into circulation?

When I first held the new coin, I thought it felt lighter than its predecessor. Turns out I'm not crazy -- it's 0.4 grams slimmer. I can't believe my fingers could detect that!

The two-baht coin is becoming more and more common. Introduced in 2005, the number minted has increased each year. In 2007, more than a quarter-billion were produced, bringing the total number of two-baht coins in circulation to more than 400 million.

I received these coins today as change at two stores located several kilometers apart, so I guess they've already been widely distributed. This is the first I've seen of them.


  1. Talking about coins - I wonder why they still mint the 1, 5 and 10 satang coins. I have never seen them in reality, and even the 25 and 50 satang only show up in Tops supermarkets or the donation bowls of Wat Pho.

    But a set of Thai coins I would love to know more about (or even get a set of) are commemorative coins for the provinces. So far I have seen them on ThaiLex, the only place I can think of to find them would be Chatuchak market.

  2. The Treasury site doesn't list a 5 satang coin as being in circulation, but it last minted the 1 satang and 10 satang coins in 2007. I also wonder why. Ceremonial purposes? To keep the Chatuchak coin sellers in business?

    Of course, they only produced 10,000 of each in that year, so they aren't really in circulation. That's only one for every thousand people in Bangkok. It looks like 1995 was the last year they were minted en masse.

    As for the province coins ... your wish is my command:

    เหรียญที่ระลึกประจำจังหวัด ("province keepsake coins").

    There are 77 in all -- one for each province (including Bangkok), plus one for เมืองพัทยา (Pattaya City). Each comes in three sizes: 2.5cm, 4cm and 7cm.

    The site is a bit sparse on details besides that -- it only has thumbnails plus a brief explanation of the artwork.

  3. Thank goodness they changed the color. The old "silver" color made the 2 baht coin hard to spot among the shrapnel of 1 baht coins in my pocket. I'd often see the 2 baht coins with the 2 written in blue marker to help distinguish them from the 1 baht and 5 baht pieces. I got my first "bronze" one earlier this week as change for 10 baht on a bus. It remains a cherished possession, until it is spent.

  4. As for the 1, 5 and 10 satang coins - their production cost must surely exceed their face value, which then explains why they only mint 10,000 or so of each. Interesting news that these coins exist at all.......
    And the reason why they still issue them, albeit in very small quantities? Hmmm, to keep up the impression that even the smallest denominations of Thai currency do have a value? ;-)

  5. I can't remember who told me this, but since writing this post I've heard that the very small satang coins are used for transactions that require exact change to the satang, but that aren't done electronically. Like in the government, I guess. Shrug.

    That would be why there aren't that many of them minted, because it's rare that you can't just round up to the nearest 25 satang.

    Or so I've heard.