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‘Spurious’ coins of the realm, Bhutan

Monday 17 May 2010, by Buddhachannel Asia

Langues :

Numismatic (coin) experts believe that the 200 ngultrum denomination silver coins (see picture) are spurious pieces purely struck for ‘Western collectors.’

The coins were minted in 1982 and each weigh 28.8 g. As shown, the obverse side has the bust of Druk Gyalpo Ugyen Wangchuck (1861–1926) wearing the Raven Crown. Except for the date ‘1982’, the rest of the lettering is in Dzongkha.

The eight-spoke Buddhist wheel is printed in the center of the reverse side and has two dragons surrounding the emblem with the words ‘Royal Government of Bhutan’ written in the outer ring of the coin, and a legend in Dzongkha above.

A German world coin catalogue provides further information on it in German. “Tongsa Penlop ab 1883, König (Druk Gyalpo) von Bhutan ab 1907, Porträt mit Rabenkrone. Rs. Staats- wappen. 925er Silber, 28.28 g [RM] (ST: max. 10 000 Ex., PP: max. 5000 Ex.).”

Numismatists believe that a total of up to 15,000 specimens may have been struck, of which 10,000 were normal coins and the remaining 5,000 were proof coins with a special polished surface.

A recent photograph taken in Kheng, Mongar, shows a necklace of these coins. The coins could have been part of the 10,000 normal coins that were struck. “Such coins were normally sold overseas, so it’s nice to see so many used in Bhutan,” numismatist Nicholas Rhodes commented.

It is most likely that some entrepreneur took the initiative to arrange and also financed the striking of these collector coins. It is also most probable that the royal monetary authority of Bhutan would have received a royalty for these spurious coins.

Author : Tshering Tashi

Source : http://www.kuenselonline.com

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