Book Reviews

Review: Stamps of the Siamese Kings

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Stamps of the Siamese Kings 1876-1948: A Journey Through Three Reigns

Michael A. Jones
Silkworm Books: Chiang Mai, Thailand (2003)
184 pages

 

I’ve been buying a few stamp-related books lately, mostly through eBay and other online vendors.  It is indeed a rare occurrence when I find such a book in my local bookshop.  Even when I do, they are usually priced far above my budget as any book written in English – even when published in Thailand – is deemed a “foreign import” and stickered accordingly.  But I couldn’t resist this tiny volume despite its price of 710 Thai baht (approximately USD $21).

Stamps of the Siamese Kings is a survey of those stamps issued in the Kingdom that became Thailand starting with the early local post stamps used in the Royal Palace and continuing through to the last stamps bearing the name “Siam”, overprints issued in January 1955.  Each stamp is presented in color along with issue dates and other details, presented with anecdotes of what was happening in the country when the particular sets were initially released.

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While not at a level a true specialist might require, the book goes a long way towards clarifying the different issues, particularly the complex provisional overprints of 1889-1899.  Back of the book stamps – airmails and revenues – are included as are the Thai occupation of Malaya issues.  There is even a brief section showing cancellations used on early Siamese stamps; the Malayan states’ offices (Straits Settlements) are to be expected but I was surprised by usages in both Singapore and Hong Kong.

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No catalogue numbers or values are listed but those are easy enough to pencil in if one feels the need.  All in all, it’s a perfect companion to the Scott catalogue as well as those specializing in Thailand such as the catalogue published by International House of Stamps in Bangkok.  Those simply interested in Thai history will find it just as interesting as collectors of the Kingdom’s stamps.

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Happy Reading!

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