British Museum collections, £12.99
Length: 49.000 mm
Width: 81.000 mm
Coins and Medals
1/8th tical note
Siam (Thailand), AD 1853
Words of value
Today we can tell the value of a banknote by looking at clearly printed numerals, and different colours and designs. Even foreign notes in unfamiliar languages are easy to use. In the past, however, paper money had fewer pictures and more printed text, so it was important that people should be able to read the notes.
In some countries the value of the note might be given in more than one language. This tiny note is one of the early issues of the Royal Treasury in Siam (now Thailand), in 1853. Its denomination - just one eighth of a tical - is given in eleven different languages, including Chinese, Latin and English.
Countries with more than one national language may still reflect this on their currency. For instance, many Swiss notes have been printed in French, German and Italian.
A. Pick, N. Shafer and C.K. Bruce (eds.), Standard catalog of world pape (Iola, Wisconsin, annual publication)