King Mongkut Medal :
60th Birthday Counterfeit Medal ID
A coin of the last Rama King of Thailand. Made during a tumultuous time when Great Britain was conquering the world, King Mongkut wanted to adopt “Western” ideas without being taken over by England. As a result, Thailand allowed the Chinese to invade, preventing England from overtaking them. One of those “Western” ideas was the “flat” coin, which broke Thailand away from the “shaped” coins.
This coin is considered both a medal and a coin. It was made to honor the 60th birthday of King Mongkut, also known as Rama IV. Since the Chinese were now a part of Thailand’s government, the coin bears Mandarin text indicating that this coin is “Negotiable Currency of Cheng Meng.” (Meng was the Chinese name for Rama IV, who is better known in American circles from the movie “The King and I.”)
Today, this coin is considered to be the first commemorative coin of Thailand. The coin was made in either silver or gold and is found to have either one, or two, curved diamonds surrounding the Thai inscription of the obverse.
Like many of the Eastern coins of the time, they have been massively imitated. If authentic, this coin could easily pull in $20,000 in a mere Very Fine condition. So, having come across this coin, it was important to determine if it was the real thing.
I could find no date on the coin using the Thai number system:
But, Thailand did not introduce “flat” coins until 1862. So, the coin can be no older than this.
Neither could I find a monetary unit on the coin. The typical Thai monetary unit is the บาท “baht”. But, in this case, any of the following could have appeared on this coin:
The coin was made before monetary units were put on the coins. Instead, the coin is actually a bullion coin, meaning that the value is determined by size of the coin, not by any denominational or value markings on the coin.
This coin was valued at 4 Baht, or 1 Tamlung, which is the second from the bottom on the monetary unit list above.
Comparing to an authentic coin, many small discrepancies are found:
- Look at the bottom right Chinese character on the authentic coin and the fake coin. The horizontal bars and the shape of the right leg’s “checkmark” are significantly different.
- The other Chinese characters are formed incorrectly, as well.
- The angle of the points in the curved diamonds are different, and the gap between the inner and outer diamond is larger.
So, without going any further, I know it is a fake. Darn, another treasure lost.