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Bhutan / 2 Products

Bhutan is a South Asian country, perched on the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas. This mountainous country is landlocked between the Indian states of Sikkim, Assam, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, the Autonomous Region of China, and Tibet. With 98.8% of its area covered by mountains, Bhutan is considered to be the world’s most mountainous nation. 

The Bhutanese ngultrum is the country’s currency, subdivided into 100 chhertum and is pegged to the Indian rupee. The inception of Bhutanese coins can be traced back to the late 18th century, primarily driven by the need for trade with the plains. Initially, silver coins were minted, followed by alloyed silver, copper, or brass coins known as "Ma-trum" or "Chhe-trum," produced by local chieftains rather than the central government. These coins were utilized for minor purchases locally.

In the 20th century, the first King, Druk Gyalpo Ugyen Wangchuck, enhanced the quality of coin striking. Modern coinage dawned in 1928-29, during the reign of the second King, Druk Gyalpo Jigme Wangchuck, with the introduction of machine-struck silver and copper coins. Despite this advancement, coins were not widely used, and barter remained prevalent. Even government officials received payments in kind rather than cash.

It was in the mid-1950s, during the reign of the third King, Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, that Bhutan's economy began to shift towards broader monetization. "Silver" coins, though now made of a nickel alloy, continued to be issued using the dies of the previous king. The establishment of the Bank of Bhutan in 1968 marked another significant step towards full monetization. Salaries were now predominantly paid in cash, marking a departure from the earlier barter system.

In 1974, during the reign of the fourth King, Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck, Bhutan issued a square 5-chhertum and a scallop-shaped 10-chhertum aluminium coins, an aluminium-bronze 20-chhertum, and a copper-nickel 25-chhertum, and a 1-ngultrum coins. Most of these coins feature Jigme Singye Wangchuck. 

In 1979, new bronze 5-chhertum and 10-chhertum coins were introduced along with a 25 and 50 chhertum, and a 1-ngultrum coin. At present, Bhutan coins are in denominations of 20, 25, and 50 chhertum, and 1-ngultrum.

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