Thailand Philately

Updates to 2017 Thailand Post Stamp Issues

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.

Thailand Philately

New Thai Stamps for Late King


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 The designs had never been announced and the issue was quietly withdrawn following His Majesty’s death on October 13, 2016.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.


Today's Mail

Today’s Mail — 24th October 2015

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.

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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!

 

Postcards, Today's Mail

Today’s Mail – 11th July 2015

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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!

Thailand Philately

A Philatelic Tangent: Muang Phuket Local Post

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.

MPLP2013-Christmas sheet

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. 

MPLP-handstamps

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.