In a musty shop with the smell of old banknotes in the air, Thai banknote enthusiast Bunyarit Sriwiset examines the latest currency designs ahead of King Maha Vajiralongkorn's coronation this weekend.
The new banknotes feature the face of King Rama X, as the king is also known, and represent a break from the designs that features his late father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who appeared on banknotes for 70 years. "For the new Rama X banknotes, the designs are elaborate, they've also got previous kings printed on the back. Collectors have now started collecting them," said Bunyarit, 33.
An ardent banknote collector since his youth, Bunyarit, who is aptly nicknamed "Bank" , said he spends hours scanning banknotes, especially rare, old ones, looking for marks and details that tell him about his country's history. He once spent 5 million baht ($156,600) on an old banknote because it represented a tangible past that he wanted to record.
Now, the Southeast Asian nation is about to witness another historic event: the elaborate coronation ceremonies for King Maha Vajiralongkorn, which will take place from May 4 to 6 in Bangkok. It will be the first coronation since 1950 when King Bhumibol was crowned. For most Thais, including Bunyarit, it will be the first in their lifetime.
"I am very excited because this is going to be the first ceremony (in my life) and it will be the grandest event in King Rama X's reign," said Bunyarit.
(With inputs from agencies.)