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Thailand/Siamese Bullet Money

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In the past, bullet money is used in villages in Thailand. As these coins are small, they would be worn on strings in different amounts (e.g. strings of 5) around the wrist by village people so that they would make it easier to count as money for purpose of commerce.

A bullet coin is shaped something like a signet ring. It was made from a short bar of silver, widest at the middle, with its ends bent around to form a complete circle. It was then stamped with various circular decorations which could indicate certain reigns or places of manufacture. The coins were solid silver, but since their weight varied, their value had to be assessed by weighing before a transaction could take place.

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It was believed that during the Kingdom of Ayudthaya (1569-1767) many high-quality bullet coins were produced, but the records were destroyed during the Burmese attack in 1767 hence making it difficult to attribute the marks on the bullet coins to the correct reign. The coins purportedly made in Ayudthaya are well made and, aside from their markings, can be distinguished by their shape. Ayudthaya bullets have one hammer mark.


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