Thailand announced Oct. 18 that it will follow a time-honored tradition by issuing commemorative coins to mark the cremation ceremony for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died earlier in October. The king, also known as Rama IX, had been the longest reigning monarch alive anywhere and was well loved within his country.
Treasury Department information indicated there will be an additional 200,000 copper-nickel composition coins issued marking the recent 70th year of Rama IX’s reign. About 2.8 million of these coins have already been released.
Chakkrit Parapuntakul is the director-general of the Treasury Department of Thailand. According to Parapuntakul, the proposed coins will require royal approval prior to being minted and may take several months to issue. There will be an official mourning period of perhaps as long as one year for the deceased monarch. The coins are to depict the royal crematorium on the reverse, presumably with a depiction of the late king on the obverse.
The mourning coins are to be issued in 0.999 fine gold, in silver and in two sizes of bronze. Prices for the coins had not yet been set at the time this article was being written but were said to begin at 100 baht.
Mourning coins and medals have been issued throughout many centuries. Medals marking each of the two funeral processions for George Washington were issued following his 1799 death. Both were issued by Newburyport die sinker Jacob Perkins. A funeral urn appears on the reverse of one, while a skull and crossbones appears on the other. The latter was possibly issued for the Masonic Lodge funeral procession.
“Divi” coins were issued to mark the passing of some of the emperors at the time of the Roman Empire. In more recent history, various European states have issued coins at the time of the death of a ruler. Some examples are the 1827 Saxony talers marking the death of King Friedrich August I, followed by the 1854 double talers marking the death of King Friedrich August II. Baden issued commemorative coins in 1907 upon the death of Friedrich I.
Sede Vacante coins have been issued by the Vatican due to the vacancy of the Episcopal see following the death of popes. Sede Vacante coins were also issued by Liege in 1784 following the death of Francois Charles.
Medallions have been issued to honor deceased dignitaries. Occasionally these are issued in gold for family and high ranking dignitaries, silver for lesser dignitaries attending the funeral, and in bronze or copper for the masses mourning the deceased.
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