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Vol. 24 No.3
July - September 2007

ISSN 0125-0159

Editor’s Note
Foreign Relations
Her Majesty the Queen’s Historic Visit to Russia
Top Collectibles at the 20th Asian International Stamp Exhibition in Bangkok
In Focus
Nam Nao: The Source of Life and Survival That Needs a Helping Hand
Special Feature
The Promotion of Public Unity and Participation at the Democracy Festival
Thai Technology to Increase the Productivity of Giant Freshwater Prawns
Thailand Serves Halal Foods to the World
A Quest for Northern Flowers in a Southern Village
Thai Touch
Sangkhla Buri: The Land of Buddhism, Culture, and Unity

Photo Gallery    Text Print
Top Collectibles at the 20th Asian International Stamp Exhibition in Bangkok

The year 2007 is a very special year in Thailand, not only for being the auspicious 80th birthday anniversary of His Majesty the King but also for marking an important event for Thai philatelists, as Thailand has the honor of hosting the 20th Asian International Stamp Exhibition. Thailand Post Co. and the Philatelists Association of Thailand, with support from the Federation of Inter-Asian Philately (FIAP), organized the exhibition in the Royal Paragon Hall on the fifth floor of the Siam Paragon shopping complex, in Bangkok. The exhibition promoted international philately and related activities, fostered relationships among all parties concerned, and let collectors exchange their valuable experience and knowledge. It was also an event that allowed philatelists to take part in an international philatelic contest. Thailand had successfully hosted two Asian stamp exhibitions in 1989 and 2000, so it appears that Thailand organizes such a big event about once a decade. This years exhibition took place on August 3-12.

Participants and visitors had a very special opportunity to appreciate the precious personal collection of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The collection includes the worlds first postage stamp, rare stamps of Thailand from the reign of King Chulalongkorn to the present reign of King Bhumibol, and the first stamp set of Thailand. The exhibition also showcased world-class collectibles, such as an envelope with a one-penny stamp issued in Britain during 1880-1881. The envelope bears a postmark dating 28 February 1884, of the British consulate in Bangkok, and the arrival postmark dating 29 March 1884, of the St. Martin Post Office in London.

There is also an R stamp in a circular-crown frame of an inspector, meaning that the mail was relayed directly to its recipient. Another world-class collectible exhibited was an envelope with the two-cent and eight-cent Straits Settlements stamps. The envelope also bears a B stamp and a one-siao (an ancient unit of Thai money) stamp in a lower corner, marking the charge for local delivery. It was stamped with a postmark dating 20 May 1885, of the British consulate in Bangkok. The arrival postmark on the back of the envelope identified its arrival in London in July 1885. Having both of these historical rare envelopes and their stamps makes this exhibition unique.

In addition, there were sets of the worlds rare stamps lent by Geneva-based auction house David Feldman SA. The rare sets included the first postage stamp set of Greece, issued in 1861. The stamp set depicts Hermes, the Greek messenger god. It was printed in France and is now valued at nearly 300,000 baht. Another rare set is the first post-paid stamp issuance of Mauritius, a former British colony. The set was introduced in 1848 and is now priced at millions of baht. Among other highlights at the exhibition were the first Afghan stamp, depicting a tigers head, an inverted Indochinese stamp issued by a French post office in Guangdong, and historical stamp sets of Asian and European countries dating back to over a century ago.

Of course, Thailands first stamp set, the Solot Series, which depicts King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V) and was issued in 1883, was among the great exhibits. Because it was the first time for all these rare stamps to be gathered in Thailand, the event drew special attention from amateur and professional philatelists, as well as anyone interested in viewing these small remnants of history.

Apart from rare stamps, the exhibition presented handmade postcards produced by people from all regions in Thailand. Each postcard was one of a kind, as it was genuinely handmade and so did not have a copy. The handmade postcard production was aimed at celebrating the 75th birthday anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen in August and honoring the Queen for her great contribution to arts and crafts training for villagers.

Over 2,000 members of housewives organizations in the regions made the unique postcards from a wide range of local materials and their natural craftsmanship. The postcards made by housewives from the South featured leather carving; those by northern housewives were made from both fresh and dried flowers; and those by northeastern housewives showed off their skillful wickerwork. The postcards were exhibited in as many as 14 unique categories of craftsmanship, bearing different patterns and designs. They effectively introduced the varied Thai identity to foreign visitors at the event.

Touring the stamp exhibition, a visitor must appreciate the dedication of stamp collectors, because their collections have interesting stories the younger generations can learn. You can take part in such an activity by sending yourself postcards and brief descriptions from the places you visit and collecting them in a photo album or a journal. They will bring back the sights and sounds of your travels when you read them again. They will also bear postmarks and mottos and can tell you about the postal services of the places you visited. This is what her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn does during her trips, never failing to mail postcards back to Chitralada Palace in Bangkok. So a simple action like writing a few lines and sticking on a stamp can be the beginning of a voyage around the world and back in time.

Story: Suvalux Khenkum
Photos: Thailand Post

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