Thailand – Coronation 2019 (May 4, 2019)

Late this afternoon, March 14, Thailand Post revealed the design for the single 10-baht stamp commemorating the Coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (มหาวชิราลงกรณ บดินทรเทพยวรางกูร), the Tenth of the Chakri Dynasty. This followed the unveiling earlier this week (March 11) of the Royal Coronation Emblem which is portrayed on the stamp along with a portrait of the King wearing his Royal Thai Army uniform. An image of the Royal Grand Palace in Bangkok can be seen in the background. The stamp design is meant to echo that of the set of eight stamps issued to mark the coronation of Rama X’s father, the late King Bhumiphol Adulaydej, on May 5, 1950 (Scott #275-282). His Majesty the King personally gave the final approval to the stamp design.

Three million copies of the stamps have been printed and are claimed to be the first in the world to utilize a special four-color glass foil printing technique. This has been used on the lettering for the country’s name, denomination, and Royal Coronation Emblem which produces an embossed effect. Preorder reservations for first day covers began today and will continue until March 29 at a price of 20 baht per cover at www.thailandpostmart.com. More information can be found on the Thailand Post website or by phoning THP Contact Center 1545.

Thai Channel 3 reporter Meow Petcharat posted following images to an an album on her Facebook page this afternoon. I presume the second one is of an actual sheet of printed stamps rather than a Thailand Post mockup:


The Royal Coronation will be held from May 4 to 6 with the actual coronation taking place on the first day. Monday the 6th is a holiday. According to an announcement by the Bureau of the Royal Household, issued on January 1, stated that Vajiralongkorn “had ascended the Throne as the King of Thailand, following the invitation of the President of the National Legislative Assembly, acting as the President of the National Assembly, on behalf of the Thai people” and that “His Majesty the King deems it appropriate that it is time for the Royal Coronation Ceremony to be conducted in accordance with royal traditions and for the joy of the people and the Kingdom on this auspicious occasion of the country.”

The lead-up to the Coronation will begin with a water-drawing rite conducted by the governors of each of Thailand’s 77 provinces on April 6. This water will be consecrated the following Monday and Tuesday and then transported to Wat Suthat Thepphawararam in Bangkok for further purification on April 18 and then taken by procession the following day to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. A number of other pre-coronation rites follow and the three days from May 4 to 6 are full of additional ceremonies. A royal barge procession is expected during the Royal Krathin ceremonies later in the year (October or November, probably). A detailed explanation behind many of these, as well as a schedule, can be found in the article “The Crowing of A King” published by The Nation on March 2, 2019, That article mentions that the Ministry of Culture website includes free downloadable guides to the Coronation ceremonies but I have yet to find them.

Royal Coronation Emblem for HM King Maha Vachiralongkhorn

Thai people have been officially “encouraged” to display the Royal Coronation Emblem up until the actual ceremonies. Recommended places include coronation-related publications, decorative flags/arches and worship tables. I have already seen polo shirts for sale in Phuket bearing this new cipher. The following is a translated description from the Bureau of the Royal Household:

The Royal Emblem marked the upcoming Coronation of His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) which will be held on 4-6 May 2019, contains the King’s monogram in the white trimmed with gold in the centre. The Royal Cypher is decorated with diamonds which denote the origin from which his name is derived, whilst the gold trimming of the cypher represents the colour of Monday when he was born, according to the Thai traditional colours of the day.

The cypher lies on a dark blue background which is the colour of righteous kingship, contained within a lotus bud frame marked out in gold and green. The mixture of which two colours signifies the power and might of the King’s day of birth. The lotus bud frame begets inspiration from the shape of its foremost predecessor – which enclosed the Great Unalome insignis of the Royal Seal of State which belonged to King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I the Great). Surrounding the outer parts of the frame are the Five Royal Regalia, deemed to embody the symbol of Kingship itself, which contains:

  • The Great Crown of Victory, represents the great burden bearing down on the King for the sake of his people’s happiness.
  • The Sword of Victory, symbolises the King’s responsibility to protect the Kingdom from all harms threatening.
  • The Royal Sceptre, signifies the King’s virtues to bring forth peace and stability to the Kingdom.
  • The Royal Whisk and Royal Fan, symbolise the King’s righteousness as a ruler in relieving the suffering and hardship of his duties.
  • The Royal Slippers, represent the King’s care in fostering the sustenance and welfare throughout the Kingdom.

The Great Crown of Victory with the Unalome insignia includes within the sequence of number of this reign. The sword and whisk lie on the right, while the scepter and fan on the left. And below the cypher rest the royal slippers.

Standing behind the Crown is the Great Umbrella of State trimmed with bands of gold. The nine-tiered umbrella has the lotus bud finial showing Brahma Faces on top, while the lowest tier is decorated with golden Champa bouquets representing the extension in all directions yonder of his writ and authority. On the lowest part stretches of green-gold ribbon, trimmed in gold, bearing the Thai language phrase which is translated as: “The Coronation, 2562 B.E. (2019 A.D.)”.

On the tip of the ribbon stands the purple Kojasi lion, holding up the seven-tiered umbrella representing the Armed Forces, while the white Ratchasi lion holds the same but represents the Civil Service. Altogether represent the two pillars of public service. Inside the shafts of both umbrellas have golden Naga snake traceries denoting the year of the dragon, which defines the King’s birthyear according to the traditional belief. The golden colour of Naga traceries signifies the prosperity of the nation and her people.

I was about ready to call this a “slow philatelic news week” and publish a very short update article when the United States Postal Service chose today to announce three new stamp issues due later this year. Unfortunately, the anticipated issue for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 is not among them. The information about each issue comes directly from the USPS press release:

Sesame Street

United States – Sesame Street (2019) sheet of 16

The Postal Service honors Sesame Street as one of the most influential and beloved children’s television shows. For the last 50 years, it has provided educational programming and entertainment for generations of children throughout the country and around the world. The stamp art features photographs of 16 Muppets from Sesame Street — Big Bird, Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, Rosita, The Count, Oscar the Grouch, Abby Cadabby, Herry Monster, Julia, Guy Smiley, Snuffleupagus, Elmo, Telly, Grover and Zoe. Art Director Derry Noyes designed the stamps.”

T. Rex

United States – T. Rex (2019) block of 4

With this pane of 16 stamps, the Postal Service brings Tyrannosaurus rex to life — some 66 million years after its demise. One design illustrates a face-to-face encounter with a T. rex approaching through a forest clearing; another shows the same young adult T. rex with a young Triceratops — both dinosaurs shown in fossil form. The third and fourth stamps depict a newly hatched T. rex covered with downy feathers and a bare-skinned juvenile T. rex chasing a primitive mammal. The “Nation’s T. rex,” the young adult depicted on two of the stamps, was discovered on federal land in Montana and is one of the most studied and important specimens ever found. Its remains will soon be on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps with original artwork by Julius T. Csotonyi, a scientist and paleoartist.

Spooky Silhouettes

United States – Spooky Silhouettes (October 2019)

Halloween has long been a holiday that lets us delight in the things that scare us. With the approach of autumn, Spooky Silhouettes stamps will offer fun, frightful scenes that symbolize this annual celebration. Four stamps feature digital illustrations in which traditional Halloween motifs are rendered as black silhouettes in eerily backlit windows. Artist Tyler Lang created the artwork. Art Director Greg Breeding designed the stamps.

As a teacher, I should be thrilled with the Sesame Street stamps but I feel 16 different stamps is just too many. The T. rex stamps do nothing at all for me and we’ve had way too many dinosaur stamps already. I do like the design of the “Spooky Silhouettes” set, however. Any one of these could be the designated issue for National Stamp Collecting Month, or perhaps that will be the previously-announced (but no design yet revealed) Frogs issue.

With the announcement of these new Halloween stamps, I am reminded of one of the celebrations I miss from the years I lived in the American Southwest. This is Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which pretty much replaces Halloween in portions of the Southwest as well as throughout México. México has released stamps for the holiday since 2009; I only have one of these (the 2012 release, on a first day cover), which I featured on ASAD in October 2016. A week or two following the Dia de Muertos stamp release each year, México issues one or more stamps marking Dia del Cartero, Postman’s Day. While seeking to add a few of these to my collection on eBay recently, I came across a stamp from 2017 which seems to combine the two special days:

Mexico – Dia de Muertos with Postman (2017)

I love this stamp and hope that someday México will release one picturing a skeletal teacher (perhaps in front of a class of skeletal students); the annual Día del Maestro (Teacher’s Day) in mid-May is also annually commemorated with attractively-designed stamps. I am beginning to obtain a few of these in preparation for an “education on stamps” Topical Pursuits. This will probably appear a couple of months down the road.

Last week saw very little time, once again, for any philatelic pursuits as it was the final week of the school year filled with testing and paperwork as well as an afternoon of activities for about 180 Kindergarten students. During the latter, I became quite dehydrated and nearly collapsed from heat exhaustion, having to cancel a business class later that evening. This week is perhaps busier (I am supposed to be on summer holiday) as I was asked to do a 10-day English camp in a temple school in the western portion of the island. I was told that the students would be high school level and spent several all-nighters preparing material for the camp (normally, we have weeks to put together these types of events). When I arrived, I found that the children were all between the ages of four and six and most had never even heard English spoken before! It has been a real struggle (none of the prepared material is appropriate and they won’t stay in one spot long enough for me to explain a game to them — nor would they understand if they did); I’ve been exhausted each evening and have been trying to pick “short subjects” for the A Stamp A Day articles. They have still taken about the same amount of time to put together each night as I have to constantly get up and walk around as my muscles tighten from the days spent chasing after tiny-tots. I will take a holiday once this camp finishes on March 23, which is two days before ASAD’s post #1000 and my planned hiatus from that.

Thailand – National Children’s Day, Scott #1170a (January 10, 1987)

Thailand Post has been very sporadic and random with their new issue and design announcements during recent years and this year is no exception. Details have yet to be revealed for the Royal Coronation issue (the ceremonies set to begin early next month with the actual Coronation occurring the first weekend in May), yet a rather blurry image of a stamp due the following week has just been revealed along with a few of the details but only in Thai. A single 3-baht stamp marking the 80th anniversary of the Foundation for the Blind in Thailand will be released on May 10:

วันแรกจำหน่าย : 10 พฤษภาคม 2562
ชนิดราคา : 3.00 บาท
จำนวนพิมพ์ : 500,000 ดวง
ขนาด : 48 x 30 มม. (แนวนอน)
ผู้ออกแบบ : ว่าที่ ร.ท.ปฏิพล ซอกิ่ง (บริษัท ไปรษณีย์ไทย จำกัด)
บริษัทผู้พิมพ์ :ไทยบริติชซีเคียวริตี้ พริ้นติ้ง จำกัด (มหาชน) ประเทศไทย
วิธีการพิมพ์และสี : ลิโธกราฟี่ – หลายสี
จำนวนดวงในแผ่น : 10 ดวง
ซองวันแรกจำหน่าย : 11.00 บาท

Thailand – 80 Years Foundation for the Blind in Thailand (May 10, 2019)

The next stamps to be released by Thailand Post will be the annual Thai Heritage Conservation Day issue on April 2.

I noticed this piece of information on a dealer’s site last week:

Confirmed from the North Korea Post Office that they no longer sell any Anti-US stamps (including those already issued and to be issued) due to political reasons. This causes the price hike and shortage of these types of stamps in the market.

I have mentioned on this blog and elsewhere that I have long “enjoyed” collecting the propaganda poster stamps from North Korea, especially those issued around the time of the annual “Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism Month” which runs from June 25 until July 27.  North Koreans flock to war museums such as the Sinchon Museum of American War Atrocities and attend rallies against the “evils” of the United States. Over 100,000 gather in Pyongyang’s Kim II Sung Stadium to speak out against “the fatty monster U.S. imperialists” as part of the ‘Mass Rally on the Day of the Struggle Against the U.S.”, An stamp issue has been a part of the anti-American celebrations off-and-on since 1952, with most featuring images taken from fairly graphic propaganda posters. Despite the June 12, 2018, summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and 3rd Supreme Leader of the DPRK Kim Jong-un (김정은) in Singapore last year, North Korea released their anti-U.S. stamp set right on schedule on June 25.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – Joint Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism (issued April 2018) – imperforate variety

One of my primary reasons for wanting to travel to North Korea was to easily purchase these stamps (and the associated post cards, propaganda poster books, etc.) directly from the source. I planned to use these to mail postcards to my home in Thailand and to various friends (although I don’t think I would have tried to send any to the United States). I do have other reasons for wanting to travel to this very strange place before it changes and had been close to booking a trip when President Trump basically made it illegal to travel there  (since August 2017, Americans who have their passports scanned at a border checkpoint that points to a crossing into North Korea will generate a “revoke” code with the U.S. Department of State). I hope that the current round of talks will lead to a reversal of this policy very soon (the recent summit in Vietnam didn’t seem to end that well). The stamps on a postcard from there do not have to be anti-American to still be “cool”. For much more, please see my ASAD article from last year.

France – Caves of Lascaux (April 26, 2019) first day of issue postmark

On April 26, La Poste of France will release a single stamp depicting the cave paintings of Lascaux Cave (Grotte de Lascaux) in a complex of caves near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne in southwestern France. Over 600 parietal wall paintings cover the interior walls and ceilings of the cave. The paintings represent primarily large animals, typical local and contemporary fauna that correspond with the fossil record of the Upper Paleolithic time. The drawings are the combined effort of many generations, and with continued debate, the age of the paintings is estimated at around 17,000 years (early Magdalenian). Lascaux was inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1979, as element of the Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley. Apparently, this is the first stamp France has issued honoring the site since 1968.

France – Cave of Lascaux (April 26, 2019)

Last week began with an extremely lengthy ASAD articles with the Monday blog about Hernán Cortés approaching 11,000 words (largely put together Sunday night into Monday morning) despite ONLY dealing with his conquest of the Aztec empire, a subject I have long been interested in. Wednesday’s article was big as well, topping out at more than 6700 words about Michelangelo. The others were much more reasonable with several maritime themes popping up. As I count down to a much-needed break from the blog, I am trying to include stamps from the lesser-featured stamp issuing entities. I am doing my best to avoid using stamps from the United States, Thailand, Great Britain, and Germany. The articles published since my last update:

  1.  March 4, 2019:  “Hernán Cortés & His Conquest of the Aztec Empire” (Spain — Scott #754, 1948) 10,929 words
  2.  March 5, 2019:  “Learn From Lei Feng Day” (People’s Republic of China — Scott #4071a, 2013) 2,025 words
  3.  March 6, 2019:  “Michelangelo:  Sculptor, Painter, Architect”  (Afars & Issas — Scott #C93, 1975) 6,744 words
  4.  March 7, 2019:  “Ross Dependency, Scott Base, and HMNZS Endeavour” (Ross Dependency — Scott #L12, 1972) 3,195 words
  5.  March 8, 2019:  “The Spanish “Find” Copán” (Honduras — (Honduras — Scott #C619, 1978) 1,608 words
  6.  March 9, 2019:  “Jukong Boat of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands” (Cocos (Keeling) Islands — Scott #292a-c, 1994) 972 words
  7.  March 10, 2019:  “The Mining Disaster at Courrières” (France — Scott #3190, 2006) 1,216 words
  8.  March 11, 2019:  “Bon Om Touk: The Cambodian Water Festival” (Kingdom of Cambodia — Scott #1997, 2000) 1,075 words
  9.  March 12, 2019:  “The Dory” (British Honduras — Scott #122, 1938) 2,430 words

That’s all I have for this week. Cheers!

This past Friday, Thailand Post announced — complete with design images — its first stamp for 2019 marking the Year of the Pig, due for release on January 1. This served as a reminder to me that it had been a while since I’d written about Thailand’s stamps released over the past few months. In fact, the last time I posted an article about Thai new issues was way back at the beginning of April!

Unfortunately, due to my work schedule, I haven’t been able to buy any stamps at the post office since mid-May (shortly after the issuance of the Thai-Turkish joint issue and they’d already sold out of the first day cover by that time!). Thus, most of the images in this article were sourced from eBay, Thailand Post, Siam Stamp Catalog, and the Facebook page of the Thailand Stamp Museum. My next day off that also is not a post office holiday won’t be until late December so I may just have to wait until the annual yearbook is released in February to obtain all of the stamps I’ve missed this year!

I won’t provide much commentary on the stamps in this article other than date of issue and a few other details. I have included the Thailand Post issue numbers for reference; it usually takes a few years (!) before I can track down Scott or Michel catalogue numbers….

Continue reading “Thailand’s Stamp Issues, May 2018 to January 2019”

[url=https://flic.kr/p/24w2P7f][img]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/974/40377611310_6292bdafb3_o.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/24w2P7f]ef54ba8a-b2c7-11e6-b17d-d6b2ebc6f34a_image_hires[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/am-jochim/]Mark Jochim[/url], on Flickr
U.S. President Barack Obama meeting with the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej during a visit to Bangkok, Thailand, on November 18, 2012.

Sometimes I wonder what Thailand Post is thinking of when the stamp selection committee meets to choose topics for future issues. Tue, most subjects on Thai stamps are quite worthy and beautifully executed; we aren’t bombarded with the tons of frivolous wallpaper that some postal administrations churn out with regularity. There have been relatively few poor designs in the years since I moved to southern Thailand and began to avidly collect the Kingdom’s issues, past and present.

However, I feel that there have been missed opportunities along the way and that Thailand Post has repeated itself far too often in recent years. There are certain issues that are guaranteed each year: (Western) New Year’s Day, Children’s Day, Chinese New Year (which they actually passed over in 2018!), a Thai traditional festivals set coinciding with Thai New Year, at least one of the Buddhist holidays (Vesak Bucha being this year’s honoree), Thai Heritage Conservation Day, the King’s Birthday, Mother’s Day, World Post Day, and the multi-stamp flowers issue for the following New Year (annually released in November, they take the place of the Christmas stamps released by Christian nations).

There are also various joint-issues mixed in throughout most years. I quite like these but it is in this area that Thailand Post tends to make mistakes. For example, last week a nice pair of stamps was released to mark the 60th anniversary of Thailand’s diplomatic relations with Turkey with a stamp each portraying the nations’ national sports. A beautiful set and a worthwhile commemoration until you realize that the 50th anniversary of Thai-Turkish diplomatic relations was marked by a joint-issue a mere ten years ago. Is the nation going to mark the 70th anniversary as well? It’s not as if we are being overrun with Turkish tourists (I’ve only met one Turk in the 14 years I’ve lived here).

Thailand -Thailand Post #TH-1147, released on May 12, 2018.
Thailand -Thailand Post #TH-1147, released on May 12, 2018.
Thailand - Thailand Post #TH-1068 First Day Cover, released May 8, 2015.
Thailand – Thailand Post #TH-1068 First Day Cover, released May 8, 2015.

Thailand does seem to like oddly-numbered anniversaries as well. While many nations such as the United States or Great Britain will deem 50th, 100th, and 200th anniversaries of events as stamp-worthy, Thailand Post has issued stamps in the past few years marking the diplomatic relations between the Kingdom and Russia (120 years), China (40 years), Sri Lanka (60 years), Israel (60 years), and even the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — that’s North Korea to you and me — (40 years). Of course, the granddaddy of all of these was the joint issue with Portugal which marked 500 years of friendship (which predates both the Chakri Dynasty and the Ayutthaya Kingdom).

Yet, Thailand has never philatelically honored the United States of America — it’s longest-held diplomatic trading partner if you measure the birth of the nation as the beginning of the ongoing Rattanakosin Kingdom (อาณาจักรรัตนโกสินทร์,) which was founded in 1782. Perhaps the bosses at Thailand Post have forgotten that nearly every paved road and airport in the vast northeast region known as Isaan was not only designed but also constructed by U.S. Army manpower. The two countries have fought shoulder-to-shoulder in every major conflict since World War II, and even redefined their partnership to meet modern global challenges like terrorism and transnational crime.

I was reminded the other day that 2018 is the 200th year of friendship between Thailand and the U.S. This reminded didn’t arrive via a U.S. Embassy Resident Alert or mention on the media, or, as I would hope, by the announcement of a pending stamp issue. No, I made a rare visit to the local McDonald’s (sometimes you just NEED a Big Mac) and, as I finished my fries and moved the carton in order to attack the burger the message loomed large as life on the tray-liner!

Come on, Thailand Post! If a fast-food establishment — albeit such a sheer symbol of Westerness throughout the world — feels it is worthwhile to remind its customers that Thailand and the United States has been friends for 200 years, why can’t we have a nice stamp to commemorate that fact? Even North Korea has regularly portrayed its relations with the U.S. on stamps, although they aren’t exactly promoting anything remotely friendly or diplomatic..

North Korean anti-U.S.A. stamps issued June 25, 2017.

The first recorded contact between Thailand (then known as Siam) and the United States came in 1818, when an American ship captain visited the country, bearing a letter from U.S. President James Monroe. Chang and Eng Bunker immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1830s. In 1832, President Andrew Jackson sent his envoy Edmund Roberts in the U.S. sloop-of-war Peacock, to the courts of Cochin-China, Siam and Muscat. Roberts concluded a Treaty of Amity and Commerce on March 20, 1833, with the Chao-Phraya Phra Klang representing King Phra Nang Klao; ratifications were exchanged April 14, 1836, and the Treaty was proclaimed on June 24, 1837. The Treaty of 1833 was the United States’ first treaty with a country in Asia, making Thailand truly America’s oldest friend in the region.

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Treaty, it was revealed that President Andrew Jackson had given the king (later known as Rama III) a gold sword with a design of an elephant and an eagle chased on a gold handle. The king had also been presented a proof set of United States coins, which included the “King of Siam” 1804 dollar struck in 1834. The set, minus a Jackson gold medal, was purchased for a record price of U.S. $8.5 million by Steven L. Contursi, President of Rare Coin Wholesalers of Irvine, California on November 1, 2005. The set had been sold by Goldberg Coins & Collectibles of Beverly Hills, California, on behalf of an anonymous owner described as “a West Coast business executive,” who purchased it for over U.S. $4 million four years before.

Mural from a school in Koh Samui, Thailand, on the occasion of the 180th anniversary of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 2013.
Mural from a school in Koh Samui, Thailand, on the occasion of the 180th anniversary of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 2013.

Perhaps Thailand Post had ignored the United States considerable contribution to the Kingdom as an indicator of current U.S.-Thai relations.  Since the 2014 military coup, the United States has withheld military aid and high-level engagement, unwilling to resume them until a democratically-elected government is restored. That could be quite a bit in the future as elections have been postponed each year and were indefinitely put on hold by the death of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the ensuing year-long mourning period. As in the Philippines, China has been more than happy to fill this void with their own aid, steadily prying Thailand away from the U.S.-led alliance system.

While 2018 does mark the bicentennial of Thai-American contact, perhaps Thailand Post would like to mark the anniversary that the Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed, formalizing diplomatic relations. Still, 2018 is the 185th anniversary of that event. Please don’t make us wait another 15 years for a stamp marking our long friendship.

In the absence of a stamp issue, at least those Americans who live here or are just passing through can feel proud that McDonald’s has remembered us. If only they would give us a free Big Mac if we show them our passport….

The U.S. Consulate produced a nice logo in 2013 on the occasion of the 180th anniversary of the Treaty of 1833. The slideshow below includes a few additional anniversary logos and Thailand Post stamps…

 

 

Here we are in the middle of April and I still have not managed a trip to buy new Thai stamps this year! I am just coming off my first lengthy holiday of 2017, that of Thai New Year, but the philatelic museum and post offices were all closed for the holiday as well.

Although I also haven’t received a copy of the Thailand Post new issues bulletin for the second quarter of the year (it should be arriving shortly), the Siam Stamp Catalogue website recently added images for those stamps issued at the end of March and in early April.

I will add these images to my original post on the Stamp Issuing Programme for 2017 (the diagonal watermark of Siam Stamp Shop doesn’t appear on the actual stamps), to be replaced when I obtain stamps for my collection.

The next scheduled release is due on May 3, marking this year’s Vesak Buja Day.


A set of stamps had been scheduled by Thailand Post last year to mark the 70th anniversary of the reign of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). These were due for release on what would have been the King’s 89th birthday; I believe this had the issue number of TH-1115. The designs had never been announced and the issue was quietly withdrawn following His Majesty’s death on October 13, 2016.

Yesterday (March 29, 2017), Thailand Post announced the release of a sheet of five stamps. A photograph appeared on page 2 of today’s Bangkok Post, the largest English-language newspaper in the country:

The caption reads:

Labours of love: Thailand Post Co. unveils a set of stamps featuring the late King Bhumibol Aduyladej at work in six different settings to commemorate the 70th anniversary of his accession to the throne. A 45-baht set consists of five stamps, each 17cm long, the longest in the world. The stamps will be sold across the country from Saturday.”

According to an even briefer article on the website for The Nation — Thailand’s second largest English-language daily newspaper — nine million copies of the stamp have been printed and will be released on April 1. Nine is considered a very lucky number in Thai culture, and most Thai people have been wearing black shirts during the one-year-long mourning period that include a stylized Thai number “9”, often with an inscription in English or Thai mentioning that the wearer is proud to have been born in the ninth reign.

The sale of black clothing over the last six months has been the sole “bright spot” in the economy; several times, black was in such short supply that the government offered to dye other colors to black at no cost.


Scan20151024-001As expected, local mail delivery was halted during the almost-two-week’s long Phuket Vegetarian Festival as the street processions with their accompanying unregulated fireworks (thrown by the spectators) would have put the motorbike-driving postmen at great risk.  Yesterday’s national holiday marking the birthday of Thailand’s revered fifth king, Chulalongkorn, provided yet another no-mail day but I finally received a few items this morning.

I was pleased to receive the latest edition of Thailand Post’s new issues bulletin with MOST of the upcoming releases for the fourth quarter illustrated.  At this point, there are just twenty-one individual stamps in seven different sets remaining in the 2015 stamp program.  Of course, Thailand Post always issues a few more in December with little or no warning.  The next upcoming issue is a pair to be released on 2 November marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka.  As usual, I love the English headlines accompanying each description.  One commemorating the Department of Corrections has the headline “A Pride of Corrections the Protects the Society” while the World Post Day issue is described as “National Economic Support and the Global Connectivity.”  The catalogue reminds me that I missed out on a few recent issues over the past couple of months so it’s time for a trip to the Phuket Philatelic Museum in the near future.

Scan20151024-003-obscured

I received a pair of postcards one via Postcrossing which, I can honestly say, is the first I have ever received that didn’t bear a single stamp.  Instead, there is a very ugly Deutsche Post meter with a QR code upon it.  I was surprised as many Postcrossing members seem to be stamp collectors or at least aware that their recipients are collectors (indeed, I mention it in my profile).  The second postcard was MUCH more interesting as the first thing I noticed was that it had been posted from Mauritius – a island nation in which I have become quite interested lately.  This is due in large part to my recent reading of the wonderful book Blue Mauritius: The Hunt for the World’s Rarest Stamps.  Imagine my surprise when I turned the postcard over and found it had been sent by that book’s author, Helen Morgan.  She’s enjoying her first visit on Mauritius in almost ten years and had discovered my blogs via a Google Alert.  How cool is that?

Scan20151024-008Next up, I received a “starter set” of Hawid stamp mounts ordered from a dealer in the UK.  I’m starting to find a few sources of supplies that don’t charge an arm and a leg to ship them to Thailand.  I’ve had bad luck recently in that packets of hinges I’d ordered happened to arrive in the midst of some of the words storms to hit Phuket since I moved here a decade ago, rendering them into a solid mass of stuck-together goo.  I felt that I would have better success with mounts, particularly since I have an increasing backlog of Mint Never Hinged stamps that I would like to take out of the stock books and onto my self-printed album pages.  I did take a few minutes from other pursuits to mount the first page of Abu Dhabi.  Very nice…

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Finally!  A stamp!  This one confused me as it arrived in an envelope mailed from Poland and I hadn’t ordered anything from there.  At any rate, it was a used copy of United States Scott #69, the 12c George Washington black from the 1861-62 series.  I’d won it from a dealer in Bissinghem, Germany.  No idea why it was mailed from Krakow…

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One final, semi-philatelic note on the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.  The post office left a stack of postal cards on a table in the new shopping center behind my home along with two baskets full of themed handstamps (most were made of metal) and three different colors of inkpads.  I’m lucky that I found this on the first day of the festival as the cards quickly disappeared and the ink dried up as very few people closed the lids when they were finished.  I spent an enjoyable few minutes applying the handstamps to both sides of perhaps a half-dozen cards.  With the post office inaccessible for the duration of the festival (it’s almost at “Ground Zero”), I haven’t yet had the chance to mail any of the cards.  I will have to think of some appropriate stamps as none have ever been issued commemorating this festival (this was it’s 190th year in Phuket!).  Perhaps next year, I will think to design a few for the Muang Phuket Local Post…

Happy Collecting!

 

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Only one piece of mail arrived today – a Postcrossing card from Taiwan.  I’ve been a member of the international postcard exchange project since July 2006 and this is only the 30th card I’ve received which now matches my number of sent cards exactly.  You can tell I haven’t exactly been a heavy user! 

Part of the reason I’m not a heavier mailer is that I rarely have time to get to the post office to send items; if I use a postal kiosk in the shopping center where I work, they try to charge double the face value (15 baht for international postcards) for the stamps.  Unusually, many post offices don’t carry the small 15-baht stamps as these are usually sold (again, at a premium) in tourist-oriented shops or the privately-operated postal kiosks.  Under new regulations imposed by the current military regime of Thailand (the junta took power following a relatively peaceful coup a little over a year ago), foreigners must now present their passports when mailing anything, including postcards!

At any rate, every year I make the resolution to send more postcards and never seem to do that.  I’ll write-up this particular card in a bit more detail on my postcard-only blog

Happy Collecting!

Postmark2014iAround the time I began collecting stamps again in earnest, I stumbled across several local post stamps.  Somewhat inspired by these, I set off on a tangent to my main philatelic pursuits and launched my own local post.  I had two purposes in mind when I created Muang Phuket Local Post:  1)  to learn how to use photo-editing software to design stamp-like labels and postcards and 2) to commemorate subjects that I felt were interesting but weren’t being honored by official postal administrations.  Mostly, it was just for fun. 

phuket_mapMuang refers to an administrative district for a community in Thailand, applied to the capital district (amphoe muang) of a province but is also generally the municipal equivalent of a town.  Originally, the term was used for a town having a defensive wall and a ruler with at least the noble rank of khun.  Other district subdivisions include tambon (township or subdistrict) and muban (village or hamlet).  I happen to live in Tambon Talat Yai (“big market subdistrict”) in Amphoe Muang Phuket which most local people just call Muang Phuket or “Phuket Town”.  Thus, the name for the local post.

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The first issues in late 2013 were designed using a couple of different Android apps while the postmarks were done in Adobe Photoshop (a program in which I’m still struggling with the basics).  Various other markings were pieced together using Microsoft Paint and sheet layouts were often done using MS Office Word.  The 2014 releases were created using a Windows 8 app called Fotr while the January 2015 Penny Black issue and the yet-to-be-released ASEAN flag stamps were made using Paint.  An issue I’m planning to mark my 50th birthday in December may be the most complex yet as with portions made using Paint, Photoscape, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.  I hope it comes together as I intend…

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I “released” the first two Muang Phuket Local Post stamps in October 2013 – a definitive featuring an iconic building that serves as one of the symbols for Phuket Town plus a commemorative for World Post Day.  Four additional issues appeared before the end of the year marking the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, 180 years of Thai-American friendship, and a 6-stamp Christmas in Thailand set.  MPLP has participated in the last two World Local Post Days (the last Monday in January) with a single commemorating the centenary of the start of World War I in 2014 and the 175th anniversary of the Penny Black this year.  A pair of stamps at the end of 2014 marked the tenth anniversary of the Boxing Day Tsunami.

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Future releases include an eleven-stamp set portraying flags of the ASEAN member nations (plus the ASEAN flag itself) to be issued in early August, at least five marking my 50th birthday in December (which happens to fall on the same day as His Majesty King Bhumiphol Adulyadej), and a single designed for use at the English camps held by my teaching agency at various village schools on Phuket and neighboring islands.

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To date, all MPLP issues have been imperforate, the 2013 issues printed on plain paper and affixed to covers using a glue stick.  The 2014 and 2015 stamps have been printed on self-adhesive paper.  All have been extremely limited releases, usually numbering less than fifty of each design printed with less than ten first day covers prepared for each issue.  These are dual-canceled by the Phuket Town post office and sent through the mail. 

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Denominations are in either 25 or 50 satang, a very small unit of the Thai baht (100 satang = 1 baht = US $0.029).  The tiny brass coins are occasionally given as change (rounded down) but never accepted for payment, at least here in Phuket Town. 

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First day of issue postmarks have also been made for each issue, the majority printed directly on the envelopes after stamps had been affixed.  For the 2014 tsunami anniversary issue, I had a generic undated rubber handstamp made with a stylized wave which I’ve been using on all Muang Phuket Local Post correspondence (primarily Postcrossing postcards).  I’ve also designed a few transport markings including “Carried by Elephant” and “Tuk Tuk Express” but thus far these have been printed by computer rather than actual handstamps.

The sole manner of conveyance is by my own footpower, transporting covers and postcards from my home to the closest mailbox or post office (usually the main one in Phuket Town, adjacent to the Phuket Philatelic Museum).  Rather than doing hand-back service at the counter, I prefer to have these go through the Thai mailstream (i.e., FDC’s are always mailed to myself or another collector).  I have sent envelopes bearing MPLP stamps (affixed to the lower left) internationally and all have arrived…so far.  The local postings do illustrate the inefficiency of Thailand Post as they take at least a week and usually closer to two weeks to travel the two kilometers between the main post office and my home.

I’m currently at work creating a catalogue listing the stamps, covers, and postmarks of Muang Phuket Local Post.  And I just realized that I should make stamp album pages as well…

Once again, I find it interesting the tangents that this hobby can lead you to pursue.

Happy Collecting.