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Booming sales of commemoratives 

          Frenzied buying yesterday broke out for banknotes, yellow shirts embroidered with His Majesty the King's emblem and limited-edition stamps-three collector's item launch to commemorate his accession to the throne.

          All 300,000 of the Bt60 banknotes sold out, even though each purchase was limited to 100 bills. At post offices in Bangkok, the first batch of 2,000 stamp set was also bought up, while 5,000 polo shirts were gone in a flash at the Commerce Ministry building in Nonthaburi.

          At the Bank of Thailand's Bang Khunphrom headquarters in Bangkok, more than 2,000 people were queuing from early morning. According, Thana Somprakai, 61, who lives in Bang Khae, said he was the first to arrive, at 4 am.

          "My friend invited me yo join him to show our gratitude to the King,who has been caring for the public. I plan to buy 20 notes and give them to my children", he told the news agency.

          People who had bought the maximum quota of banknotes were seen returning to the line up for more. Som bought the bills as mementoes of the auspicious occasion but others planned to trade them.

          Each note was marked with a seven serial number procede by the letter. Regular bills were sold for Bt100 each, which those with serial numbers starting and ending in "9" went for Bt120, those with a pair of "9s" at both the beginning and end claimed Bt400, while those with a "9" at the beginning, middle and end demamed Bt700.

          The central bank said anyone who would like to buy the bills could still reserve and pay for them. Its printing house will do another run and the banknotes can be picked up at the end of the month.

          The public relations officers at Thailand Post said post offices nationwide were putting the commemorative stamps on sale today.

          "We have produced a total of 200,000 sheets", she said, adding that the 2,000 sheets in Bangkok were sold out yesterday. Since a sheet contain six stamps priced at Bt100 each, the whole sheet cost Bt600.

          The commerce Ministry premise in Nonthaburi was besieged by last-minute shoppers. A supply of 5,000 yellow shirts with His Majesty's emblem was made available at Bt130 and Bt200, following complaints that some traders were profiteering from the recent run on the items.

          Caretaker Deputy Commerce Minister, Preecha Laohapongchana admitted that the ministy had underestimated demand. "This could cause bad feelings among those who can't buy the shirts. But we will talk with manufacturers about providing additional shirts", he said.

The Nation, June 10th, 2006


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