A fairly active week for me in my hobby of philately capped off by purchasing the year’s second Thailand stamp issue and some successful bids on eBay (where I’ve been looking at some classic U.S. stamps trying to fill gaps in my 1893 Columbians and 1869 pictorials sets as well as much more recent first day covers).  I received a few purchases made in December and am continuing to seek out news of upcoming releases for 2019. Canada recently revealed its first designs of the year, the first of which were issued on January 14, and Great Britain releases its Stamp Classics sheet today. I’ve also begun creating what I am calling my “Virtual Album”, placing scanned images upon digital pages. All of this amidst daily additions to the A Stamp A Day blog (and my day-job of teaching) has made for a very busy week indeed.

It wasn’t until last night that I had a chance to read a few philatelic news sites, learning that the National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. is yet another victim (as are all of the other Smithsonian Institution facilities) of the current U.S. government shutdown that began on December 22. The postal museum closed on January 2 and suspended all on-site programming and events. The Smithsonian Institution is about two-thirds federally funded, with the rest of the funding coming from other areas; including donations, endowments and revenues from product development and sales, concessions and other sources. The Smithsonian Institution reports that its federal appropriation for the 2018 fiscal year was $1 billion.

Continue reading “Weekly Phila-Bytes #2019-02”

Tscan_20170217he first 2017 installment of Thailand Post’s quarterly new issues bulletin finally arrived in mid-February, listing details for the first several stamps for the New Year.

January 1, 2017: Zodiac 2017 (Year of the Rooster)

As usual, the first stamp of the year was released on New Year’s Day — the annual Zodiac issue. This is the third year of the new series featuring hand-drawn animals by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn who happens to be a stamp collector herself. The stamp design was executed by Mr. Udorn Niyomthum of Thailand Post.

The issue number for this stamp is TH-1120. Bearing a denomination of 3 baht, it measures 30×40.5 mm in a vertical format. Thai-British Security Printing Company Ltd. has printed 1,000,000 of the stamp using lithography with 10 stamps per sheet.

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January 14, 2017: National Children’s Day 2017

A single commemorative, issue number TH-1021, was released on January 14 to mark the 2017 celebration of National Children’s Day and to call attention to “Social Ignorance in Thai Youth”. The design of the stamp is meant to stress the importance of parents as role models to encourage their children to stop excessive focus on their digital devices. The 3-baht stamp was designed by Mr. Thaneth Ponchaiwong of Thailand Post and printed using lithography by Thai-British Security Printing Company Ltd. Measuring 48 x 30mm in a horizontal format, 700,000 copies were printed.

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February 7, 2017: Symbol of Love 2017

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Thailand as the Day of Love and stamps are issued annually to mark the occasion. Most often, these feature roses and 2017 is no exception. This year’s “Symbol of Love” issue was released on February 7 and features the “polygon rose” which is “formed by many two-dimensional facet graphics of which different-shaped facets and gradient colors superbly represent multidimensional love,” according to Thailand Post. They go on to call this the “queen of all flowers.”

The stamp is denominated at 5 baht (higher rate for envelopes bearing wedding invitations, presumably) and was designed by Miss Euamporn Supharoekchai of Thailand Post. Cantor Security Printing Company Ltd. of France printed 800,000 of these stamps by lithography in sheets of 10. They measure 30 x 48mm in a vertical format.

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For more about Valentine’s Day in Thailand, please read my post on A Stamp A Day.

March 26, 2017: 120th Anniversary of the State Railway of Thailand

Issue number TH-1024 is scheduled for release on March 26 — four circular stamps commemorating the 120th anniversary of Siam’s first railway line which linked Bangkok with Nakhon Ratchasima. This will be Thailand’s third circular stamp series and will feature a different locomotive on each of the 3-baht stamps: the GEK locomotive with 1,320 horsepower first operated in 1964, the GEA locomotive with 2,500 horsepower first operated in 1995, the CSR diesel-electric locomotive which first operated in 2015 with 3,800 horsepower and the Airport Rail Link which started in 2010.

The stamps were designed by Mr. Udorn Niyomthum of Thailand Post and 500,000 of each design has been printed by Thai-British Security Printing Company Limited using the lithography process. There are 10 stamps per sheet, measuring 38mm in diameter. There will also be a souvenir sheet of four (one of each design) which will be sold by Thailand Post for 28 baht.

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April 1, 2017: The 70th Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty King Bhumibol Assession to the Throne

TH-1115 was originally scheduled for release on what would have been His Majesty’s 89th birthday, December 5, 2016, but was quietly withdrawn following the King’s death on October 13. The surprise announcement of it’s impending issuance came on March 29th and received wide press coverage here in Thailand due to it’s measurements: at 170 x 30 mm, it is the widest stamp yet released. The 9-baht stamp portrays the late King Bhumibol Aduyladej at work in six different settings, It was issued in sheets of five stamps printed by Thai British Security Printing Public Company Limited, Thailand. (Additional details coming soon…)

April 2, 2017: Thai Heritage Conservation Day 2017

This set of four three-baht stamps, issue number TH-1125, seem to portray murals from one of the Buddhist wats. More information should be forthcoming from Thailand Post in the near future…

April 7, 2017: Thai Traditions

Thailand Post issue #TH-1126 features “Thai Traditional Festivals” following the Songkran (Thai New Year) stamp sets of 2015 and 2016. Long boat racing is depicted on the four 3-baht stamps. Again, further information will be added once I receive it!

The schedule for the remainder of the year, as it stands now (no details or images yet) is as follows:

May 3, 2017: Vesak Buja Day (4 designs, 3 baht each)

May 7, 2017: 80th Anniversary of Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University (3 baht)

June 5, 2017: Chao Phraya River (4 designs, 3 baht each)

July 3, 2017: 120th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations with Russia (3 baht)

July 4, 2017: 60th Birthday of HRH Princess Chulabhorn (5 baht)

August 8, 2017: 50th Anniversary of ASEAN Community (3 baht)

September 26, 2017: 130th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations with Japan (4 designs, 3 baht each)

September 28, 2017: 100th Anniversary of Thai Tri-Colour Flag (3 baht)

October 9, 2017: World Post Day (3 baht)

November 15, 2017: New Year’s 2018 (1st Series) (4 designs, 3 baht each)

November 15, 2017: New Year’s 2018 (2nd Series) (2 designs, 15 baht each)

December 1, 2017: Thai Venerated Monk Amulet (9 baht)

The Thailand Post issues bulletin also mentions that 2017 will see the release of the first definitives of His Royal Highness King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (Rama X) and an issue marking the cremation of His Royal Highness the Late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej the Great (Rama IX). I suspect the former may be issued around the time of King Vajiralongkorn’s birthday (July 28). The cremation of King Bhumibhol should be around mid-October, ending the year-long mourning period following his death on October 13, 2016.

There is no mention of the usual annual stamp releases for Thailand Post Day or Her Royal Highness Queen Sirikit’s birthday, both in August.

As a teacher of English As A Foreign Language (EFL), I would like to start collecting stamps and postmarks portraying different aspects of education be they schools, students, classroom elements, or the teachers themselves.  Thus, I’m thrilled by the recent stamps issued by the tiny nation of San Marino.  Perhaps they will be the first I will add to an education-themed topical collection (I have yet to find them listed on eBay).

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The pair of stamps released on 16 June honor World Teachers’ Day, held annually every 5 October since 1994 in order to mobilize support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers.  According to UNESCO,  World Teachers’ Day represents “a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development.”  Over one hundred countries currently observe this special day.

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The 2015 San Marino set of stamps were designed by graphic artist Guido Scarabottolo.  The 80 euro value features stylized students listening to a teacher holding a book in his hand while they are standing on piles of books, meaning that the roots of knowledge come from the same fertile soil.  The 95 euro stamp portrays a teacher showing the light of knowledge to her students.  This same image appears on the issue’s first day of issue cancellation.

There have been many stamps issued since the late 1950’s honoring education in all of its forms.  I’ve identified a few on eBay that I’d like to purchase in the near future.  This pair below was issued in 1997 for Thailand’s Children’s Day, held annually on the first Saturday of January.  The stamp on the left illustrates a typical schoolyard scene with the students in the ubiquitous uniform of Thai government-run school – white tops with brown shorts for boys and blue skirts for the girls.

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Teachers are generally greatly revered in Thailand and there are two days designated in the schools here in which to honor them.  Wai Kru Day is on a Thursday in mid- to late June on which is held a ceremony where all of the students of the school will bow to the point that their knees and head are on the floor before presenting an elaborate flower arrangement to the teacher who happens to be sitting across from them.  If it is a large school (as most here tend to be), the teacher may end up with fifty or more flower arrangements each which often end up in a large trash bin.

In January (the week following Children’s Day, on a Thursday once again), is Wan Kru which translates as “Teachers’ Day” and is simply an extra day off.  The students seem to enjoy this more than the teachers do as it falls right at mid-terms and there are already way too many government, Buddhist and other holidays (days off without pay) during the November to February stretch.  At any rate, I have yet to come across any stamps honoring these two special days for teachers.  However, the stamp below was issued in mid-June 1998 honoring education in general so it may have been intended to mark Wai Kru as well.

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My birth-country of the United States has issued numerous stamps on an education theme since the 1950s.  A selection appears below:

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USA Helping Children Learn 1997

As has the United Nations:

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I quite like these from Vietnam, Mongolia, China, and Israel:

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Beautiful maximum card from Greece:

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I’m not usually a big fan of Disney stamps, but perhaps I’ll make an exception for this mini-sheet from St. Vincent and the Grenadines:

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And, finally, here are two more marking various World Teachers’ Days – from The Philippines and Algeria:

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What other education-related stamps do you recommend?  Please leave images in the Comments…

Please note that this article contains stamp images from press releases or eBay. I don’t (yet) own any of these. All other images on this blog are scans of items that I own, unless otherwise noted.