The baht (Thai: บาท, sign: ฿; code: THB) is the currency of Thailand. It is subdivided into 100 satang (สตางค์). The issuance of currency is the responsibility of the Bank of Thailand.
The decimal system devised by Prince Mahisorn, in which one baht = 100 satang, was introduced by king Chulalongkorn in 1897. However, coins denominated in the old units were issued until 1910. One hangover from the pre-decimalization system: the 25 satang (¼ baht) is still colloquially called a salueng or salung (สลึง). It is occasionally used for amounts not exceeding 10 salueng or 2.50 baht. A 25-satang coin is also sometimes called salueng coin (เหรียญสลึง, pronounced 'rian salueng').
Until November 27, 1902, the tical 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 the Second World War, 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.
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. 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.
1. The 1, 5 and 10 satang are very rarely seen in circulation . Even though the satang-denominated coins are legal tender, small shops usually don't accept them anymore.
2. Older coins, some of which are still in circulation, only had Thai numerals, but newer designs also have Arabic numerals.
3. 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.
4. 10-baht coins are very similar to 2–euro coins in size, shape and weight, and are likewise bi-metallic. Vending machines not equipped with up-to-date coin detectors might therefore accept them as €2 coins.
5. Many commemorative 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht coins have been made for special events. There also are 20, 50, 100 baht commemorative coins as well.
In February 2010 the Treasury Department of Thailand has stated that it is planning a new 20-Baht coin.
In 1851, the government issued notes for ⅛, ¼, ⅜, ½ and 1 tical, followed by 3, 4, 6 and 10 tamlung 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 tamlung, 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. On September 19, 1902, the government introduced notes for 5, 10, 20, 100 and 1000 ticals, with 1 and 50 tical notes following in 1918. In 1925, notes were issued with the denomination baht used in the English text, in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 100 and 1000 baht.
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 issue. 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, Bank of Thailand announced that the 16th series banknotes will enter circulation in December 2010.
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