On August 29th and 30th Eur-seree Collectibles conducted an auction of valuable Thai philatelic material including Thai stamps, envelopes, postcards, and revenues at the Narai Hotel in Bangkok. Although COVID requirements were observed with masks and spaced seating, attendance was high as Thai stamps are following the international trend of increasing in value.
The auction had an auspicious beginning with a letter from King Mongkut of 1859 written at the Grand Palace. The letter was a request to Mr. Gifellon to buy embroidered caps and featured the King’s signature and is stamped with the H.M. Royal Seal. These letters are, obviously, exceedingly rare and this one was in excellent condition. Lot 155 brought a final bid of 250,000 Baht – $8,048.08 USD – 6016.50 Pounds Sterling.
The next Lot, which premiered on the front cover of the catalog, was a stamped envelope that wasn’t issued at all! The prepaid postal envelope sported a bright red 1 Att (an old Thai monetary term) stamp of King Rama V. Since it was never printed beyond a few samples that were evaluated within the printing firm, these are very difficult to find.
This Lot, #194, had a brother, Lot 193, with the only difference being Lot 193 featured a blue 1 Att. There was spirited bidding with bids coming not only from the floor, but from bidders calling in to bid “live” in the auction. The two Lots ended up with a total Price Realized of 650,000 Baht – $20,924.47 USD – 15644.29 Pounds Sterling.
A truly Classic Thai stamp is the 1908 “Horsemen” issued to celebrate the 41st anniversary of the ascension of King Rama V, the longest reign for any Thai monarch at that time. The statue of the King on his horse is on display at the center of the Royal Plaza in Bangkok.
The 7 values of the set are a colorful addition to any collection and necessary to anyone serious about completing a representative selection of the Kingdom’s stamp history. Lot 256 was in mint, Very Fine condition. The lucky winning bidder was able to take home the King Rama V’s Equestrian stamps for 45,000 Baht – $1,449.75 USD – 1083.00 Pounds Sterling.
And finally, a favorite of mine. The Thai God Garuda (Grut) soaring over Bangkok. Now that’s airmail!
It was the first Thai airmail stamp and the first Thai stamp to be issued without the King’s image. Thai mythology and time-honored stories of the Gods, such as the Ramakien, have become immensely popular images for Thai stamps. The engraving on these stamps is superb with minute detail and delicate artistry.
Lot 328 has an additional attraction. The stamp set has printed over the image what is called the “museum” overprint. These were intended to be released coinciding with a Trade and Technology Fair sponsored by King Rama VI scheduled for October 23rd, 1925, the anniversary of His Majesty’s 15th year on the throne.
The King allocated his own personal land for the fair with the intent that after the fair it would become a public park. The fair was cancelled when King Rama VI became fatally ill. A double loss as the Kingdom was deprived of its king and lost an opportunity to show the world the entrance of the Thai economy into the modern age.
Today when you go to Bangkok and walk through Lumpini Park, you are walking through the land the King had set aside for the Trade Fair. The overprinted stamps to celebrate the Fair were not publicly available and were only used for internal government purposes and are, therefore, rare in mint condition. The top bid was 15,000 Baht – $483.88 USD – 360.63 Pounds Sterling.
The next Eur-seree stamp auction is December 5th-6th at the Narai Hotel on Silom Road in Bangkok. I hope to see you there!