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Gary's December Coin of the Month



Greetings everyone, in celebration of my daughter's birthday, I present to you the December "Coin of the Month."

About three and a half years ago, I purchased a 300 Baht gold coin from Thailand as a memento to my daughter teaching English in Thailand. I still remember showing her the coin and saying," I bet you never spent one of these." To no one's surprise, she replied that she had not. Also issued in denominations of 150 and 600 Baht, this coin commemorates the 36th birthday of Queen Sirikit whose philanthropic activities make it a fine addition to my "Inspirational Ladies" custom set.

The coin, a BE2511(1968) 300 Baht gold coin grading MS-66 by NGC is 20mm in diameter, has a reeded edge, and weighs 7.5 grams. The Krause "Standard Catalog of World Coins" number for this coin is Y#89 and the mintage is 101,000. The metallic composition of the coin is .900 fine gold at .2170 oz. AGW.

For help in translating the inscriptions on the obverse and reverse of this attractive coin, I enlisted the help of "nephilim". Nephilim introduced himself a few years ago in a post as a Collectors-Society member from Thailand.

The obverse of this coin features a right facing bust of Queen Sirikit of Thailand. Two inscriptions around the rim of the obverse give the queen's full name and the birthday she is celebrating. Queen Sirikit's full name is "Somdet Phra Nang Chao Sirikit Phra Borommarachininat" and the other inscription is "36th Birthday." According to the Chinese Zodiac, Queen Sirikit was born in the year of the "Monkey" on August 12, 1932. There are 12 animal signs associated with the Chinese Zodiac to represent a 12-year life cycle. Significant birthdays occur every 12 years when you cycle back to your birth animal. Thus, Sirikit's 36th birthday occurs on her third life cycle.

The central device on the reverse features a crown over the queen's personal monogram inside a wreath. The inscriptions on the reverse are "Government 12 August 2511(1968)" and "300 Baht." Since the primary religion in Thailand is Buddhism, the official calendar of Thailand is the "Buddhist Era" calendar. Therefore, just as our calendar is based on the birth of Jesus Christ, the Thai calendar is based on the death of Gautama Buddha, believed to have died on March 11, 545 B.C. Since the Buddhist Era calendar was established in 1912, there have been a few minor changes in the reckoning of dates to bring it more in line with the Gregorian calendar. Thus to convert an Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord) year (1968) to a Buddhist Era year you add 543 years (BE2511).

The people of Thailand adore Queen Sirikit and just as with her husband, King Rama IX her birthday is a national holiday. Queen Sirikit is also widely acknowledged as the "Mother of the Thai People" and her birthday was adopted as Mother's Day in Thailand. On April 28, 1950, Queen Sirikit and King Rama IX were married just prior to the king's official coronation making them among the longest reigning monarchs in the world today. Queen Sirikit is also the head of the Thai Red Cross, a post she has held since 1956. As the president of the Red Cross, Queen Sirikit was instrumental in the relief efforts following the December 2004 tsunami. In relation to issues concerning human suffering, Queen Sirikit has worked to aid refugees seeking refuge in Thailand and established programs to aid farmers who comprise 80% of Thailand's population. As an advocate for women, Queen Sirikit was instrumental in the opening of the "Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer." In her words the center is, "A sanctuary for women in need." Queen Sirikit is also a conservationist, working hard to reforest her country and clean up pollution. In all, Queen Sirikit has received many honors and awards for her work. She has also received over 30 honorary degrees and numerous public facilities throughout Thailand are named after her.

Finally, I wish my daughter a very happy birthday that coincidently comes on the 27th anniversary of my becoming a parent. We will see you soon in New York Sweetie! Until next time Merry Christmas and happy collecting!





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