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50 chhertum / chetrums
Bhutan 50 chhertum 1979
1979 coin
General information

Flag of Bhutan Bhutan


0.50 ngultrum



Measurements and composition

6.9 g


25.85 mm










Vase, government title, year


Ashtamangala, value

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The 50 chhertum or 50 chetrum coin is a current circulation piece of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Introduced during the reign of Druk Gyalpo (King) Jigme Singye Wangchuck (1955–; r. 1972–2006), the piece was issued in a single type in 1979 by the Royal Government of Bhutan. Due to the lack of coining facilities in the Himalayan country, the piece was struck under commission at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales, United Kingdom. An additional coin was also produced in 1991 at the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation in Daejeon, South Korea, but never entered circulation.

The issued 50 chhertum piece currently holds legal tender status in its country of origin, carrying a face value equivalent to 0.50 ngultrum. Despite its status though, it does not circulate frequently due to its low purchasing power and the general unpopularity of coins in Bhutan.


Circulation coin (1979)[]

In 1979, the Royal Government of Bhutan commissioned the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales, to strike the second series of Bhutanese ngultrum coins. Consisting of denominations of 5, 10, 25, and 50 chhertum, and 1 ngultrum, the series was released later during the same year. However, the pieces have remained largely unpopular due to the Bhutanese public's disinterest in using coins as a medium of exchange. As a result, examples are available to collectors in higher grades, even though circulation quality specimens also exist..

The 50 chhertum piece is composed of a cupronickel alloy of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel and measures 6.9 grams in mass and 25.85 millimeters in diameter. It has medallic alignment; raised, undecorated rims; and a plain edge, and like most coins is round in shape.

Featured in the center of the obverse is a vase (bumpa), a symbol sometimes used in Vajrayana Buddhism, the state religion of Bhutan, to represent health, prosperity, and wisdom. The depiction is surrounded on the coin by a symmetrical ribbon and enclosed in a solid circular boundary. Printed outside the boundary, extending in a clockwise direction from the lower left to lower right rims, is the legend "ROYAL GOVERNMENT OF BHUTAN". The Gregorian date of minting, "1979" is arched in a counterclockwise direction at the bottom of the coin, and is separated from the government title by four circular points, two stacked on each side of the year.

The middle of the reverse consists of a three-by-three grid containing the Ashtamangala (Eight Auspicious Signs) and the local name of Bhutan. In order from the upper left, the items depicted are the dharmachakra, the parasol (chhatra), the two golden fish (gaurmatsya), the banner (dhvaja), the Dzongkha word "འབྲུག" (Wylie: 'brug), the conch (shankha), the endless knot (shrivatsa), the treasure vase (bumpa), and the sacred lotus (padma). Translating from Dzongkha and Tibetan as "dragon", the word "འབྲུག" (Wylie: 'brug) makes up the first part of the local name of Bhutan, "འབྲུག་ཡུལ" (Wylie: 'brug yul), which means "Land of the Dragon". The grid is enclosed within a solid circular boundary, outside of which the Dzongkha rendering of the face value, "ཕྱེད་ཀྲམ་ལྔ་བཅུ།" (Wylie: phyed kram lnga bcu), is curved in a clockwise direction at the coin's upper rim. Its English equivalent, "FIFTY CHHERTUM", is written counterclockwise at the coin's lower boundary, separated from the Dzongkha value by four circular points, two at each side of the reverse.

The total mintage of the 50 chhertum piece is currently unknown. Both business strikes and proofs were reportedly struck during a single year of production. Of the proofs, an estimated 20,000 were sold in sets by the Royal Government of Bhutan. Because coins are unpopular in Bhutan and rarely circulate, business strikes are often available to collectors in higher grades, although examples in lower grades also exist in smaller quantities.

Unissued pattern (1991)[]

According to Günter and Gerhard Schön's Weltmünzkatalog, in 1991 the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation in Daejeon, South Korea, struck a series of Bhutanese coins in denominations of 5, 10, 25, and 50 chhertum, and 1 and 5 ngultrum. These pieces were never released for circulation in Bhutan, and very few examples are reported to have been produced.

The cupronickel 50 chhertum piece features the dharmachakra, a Buddhist symbol representing dharma, in the middle of its obverse. Traveling clockwise along the upper left rim is the English name "BHUTAN", and printed in the same direction at the coin's upper right periphery is its Dzongkha equivalent, "འབྲུག" (Wylie: 'brug). The Gregorian date of minting, "1991", appears at the bottom of the piece, curved counterclockwise along the lower periphery.

A large numeral "50" is engraved in the center of the reverse, the English word "CHHETRUM" printed counterclockwise at the rim below. An additional rendering of the coin's face value, the Dzongkha inscription "ཕྱེད་ཀྲམ་ལྔ་བཅུ" (Wylie: phyed kram lnga bcu), appears at the top of the piece, extending clockwise along the reverse's upper boundary.

A total of 12 examples of the 1991 piece were produced. The Weltmünzkatalog contains information about the coin, but as of its 2016 does not contain any pricing information. The Standard Catalog of World Coins does not even mention the piece as of its 2017 publication.


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