A Royal Gift From Finland

Collectible medals from Helsinki commemorate His Majesty’s 60 years on the throneFinland’s state mint – which has long collaborated with the Thai Treasury Department – has created a series of medals to commemorate the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s coronation.

The Initiative Memorial Medals Collection can now be ordered at local banks and online (see box).

The 150-year-old Finnish Mint is internationally acclaimed for the quality of its casting, producing coins for neighbouring Sweden and Norway and dozens of other countries.

“We’ve produced coins for Thailand for many years,” its vice president, Matti Rastas, said as the medals were unveiled last Tuesday at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

“The Thai Treasury Department went looking for someone with the level of advanced technology and qualifications that we have.”

It does so when demand for coins outstrips its own ability to keep up, Rastas said. Finland only helps it meet the demand – fresh batches of coins are always minted in both countries.

“There’s a bidding process for the contract, and we win the bidding most of the time.”

The Finns produce both collectors’ coins and currency for general circulation, Rastas said.

Now the Mint wants to join in the royal celebrations, while at the same time bolstering its 20-year relationship with the local Treasury.

“Over the years we’ve seen how the Thai people show their tremendous respect for their king, and we wondered why. Then we realised that, although there are many kings in the world, this one has done so much for the country, and that’s why he is so well respected.”

The collection from Finland comprises six coins made of Nordic gold, 25 to 28 millimetres in diameter and weighing 9.6 grams each.

The coins bear different patterns, each with its own meaning, and different inscriptions: “Long Live The King”, “The Rainmaker”, “The Forest Protector”, “The Philanthropic Philosopher”, “The Land Reclaimer” and “The Eminent Inventor”.

On the obverse side His Majesty is depicted at work, and the reverse shows various royal projects aimed at improving people’s living conditions.

“This is the first time we’ve done something like this,” Rastas pointed out. “The idea wasn’t to produce coins of particular value but of significant meaning, to join together all Thais – who share the same King and country.

“I believe every coin should have a story on it, not just simple patterns engraved. As a foreigner, it’s so marvellous to see someone who is so much loved. He is truly the father of the country.”

Designer Erkkt Vainio faced quite a task, Rastas said.

“The challenge was how to make the coins meaningful so that they would touch Thai hearts. The technicians are also Finnish, not Thai, so they don’t fully understand the Thais’ feeling toward the King.”

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